The John F. Kennedy Assassination Homepage


  » Introduction
  » The Report
  » The Hearings


  » Table of Contents
  » Page Index
  » Letter of Transmittal
  » Foreword
  » Chapter 1
  » Chapter 2
  » Chapter 3
  » Chapter 4
  » Chapter 5
  » Chapter 6
  » Chapter 7
  » Chapter 8
  » Appendix I
  » Appendix II
  » Appendix III
  » Appendix IV
  » Appendix V
  » Appendix VI
  » Appendix VII
  » Appendix VIII
  » Appendix IX
  » Appendix X
  » Appendix XI
  » Appendix XII
  » Appendix XIII
  » Appendix XIV
  » Appendix XV
  » Appendix XVI
  » Appendix XVII
  » Appendix XVIII
Warren Commission Report: Page 511« Previous | Next »

(APPENDIX VII - A Brief History of Presidential Protection)

The Secret Service men are a very small but very necessary thorn in the flesh. Of course, they would not be the least use preventing any assault upon my life. I do not believe there is any danger of such an assault, and if there were, as Lincoln said, "though it would be safer for a President to live in a cage, it would interfere with his business." But it is only the Secret Service men who render life endurable, as you would realize if you saw the procession of carriages that pass through the place, the procession of people on foot who try to get into the place, not to speak of the multitude of cranks and others who are stopped in the village.34

Roosevelt, who had succeeded to the Presidency because of an assassin's bullet, himself became the object of an assassination attempt a few years after he left office and when he was no longer under Secret Service protection. During the Presidential campaign of 1912, just as he was about to make a political speech in Milwaukee on October 14, he was shot and wounded in the breast by John N. Schrank, a 36-year-old German-born ex-tavern keeper. A folded manuscript of his long speech and the metal case for his eyeglasses in the breast pocket of Roosevelt's coat were all that prevented the assassination.35

Schrank had had a vision in 1901, induced possibly by McKinley's assassination, which took on meaning for him after Roosevelt, 11 years later, started to campaign for the Presidency. In this vision the ghost of McKinley appeared to him and told him not to let a murderer (i.e., Roosevelt, who according to the vision had murdered McKinley) become President. It was then that he determined upon the assassination. At the bidding of McKinley's ghost, he felt he had no choice but to kill Theodore Roosevelt. After his attempt on Roosevelt, Schrank was found to be insane and was committed to mental hospitals in Wisconsin for the rest of his life.36

The establishment and extension of the Secret Service authority for protection was a prolonged process. Although the Secret Service undertook to provide full-time protection for the President beginning in 1902, it received neither funds for the purpose nor sanction from the Congress until 1906 when the Sundry Civil Expenses Act for 1907 included funds for protection of the President by the Secret Service.37 Following the election of William Howard Taft in 1908, the Secret Service began providing protection for the President-elect. This practice received statutory authorization in 1913, and in the same year, Congress authorized permanent protection of the President.38 It remained necessary to renew the authority annually in the Appropriations Acts until 1951.

As in the Civil and Spanish-American Wars, the coming of war in 1917 caused increased concern for the safety of the President. Congress enacted a law, since referred to as the threat statute, making it a crime to threaten the President by mail or in any other manner.39 In 1917 Congress also authorized protection for the President's immediate family by the Secret Service.40

« Previous | Next »

Found a Typo?

Click here
Copyright by www.jfk-assassination.comLast Update: Wed, 3 Aug 2016 21:56:36 CET