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  » Appendix X
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  » Appendix XIV
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  » Appendix XVII
  » Appendix XVIII
Warren Commission Report: Page 452« Previous | Next »

(CHAPTER VIII - The Protection of the President)

response to the assassination of some of the agents concerned was in the finest tradition of Government service.

The motorcade in Dallas.--Rigorous security precautions had been arranged at Love Field with the local law enforcement authorities by Agents Sorrels and Lawson. These precautions included reserving a ceremonial area for the Presidential party, stationing police on the rooftops of all buildings overlooking the reception area, and detailing police in civilian clothes to be scattered throughout the sizable crowd.201 When President and Mrs. Kennedy shook hands with members of the public along the fences surrounding the reception area, they were closely guarded by Secret Service agents who responded to the unplanned event with dispatch.202

As described in chapter II, the President directed that his car stop on two occasions during the motorcade so that he could greet members of the public.203 At these stops, agents from the Presidential follow-up car stood between the President and the public, and on one occasion Agent Kellerman left the front seat of the President's car to take a similar position. The Commission regards such impromptu stops as presenting an unnecessary danger, but finds that the Secret Service agents did all that could have been done to take protective measures.

The Presidential limousine.--The limousine used by President Kennedy in Dallas was a convertible with a detachable, rigid plastic "bubble" top which was neither bulletproof nor bullet resistant.204 The last Presidential vehicle with any protection against small-arms fire left the White House in 1953. It was not theft replaced because the state of the art did not permit the development of a bulletproof top of sufficiently light weight to permit its removal on those occasions when the President wished to ride in an open car. The Secret Service believed that it was very doubtful that any President would ride regularly in a vehicle with a fixed top, even though transparent.205 Since the assassination, the Secret Service, with the assistance of other Federal agencies and of private industry, has developed a vehicle for the better protection of the President.206

Access to passenger compartment of Presidential car.--On occasion the Secret Service has been permitted to have an agent riding in the passenger compartment with the President. Presidents have made it clear, however, that they did not favor this or any other arrangement which interferes with the privacy of the President and his guests. The Secret Service has therefore suggested this practice only on extraordinary occasions.207 Without attempting to prescribe or recommend specific measures which should be employed for the future protection of Presidents, the Commission does believe that there are aspects of the protective measures employed in the motorcade at Dallas which deserve special comment.

The Presidential vehicle in use in Dallas, described in chapter II, had no special design or equipment which would have permitted the Secret Service agent riding in the driver's compartment to move into the passenger section without hindrance or delay. Had the vehicle been so designed it is possible that an agent riding in the front seat

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