You are driving your protectee and his wife to an event, who are seated in the back. There is a whispered conversation. You cock your ear in their direction. The protectee leans forward and says, “What do you think, Tom?” How do you respond?
In my early days as a protector, one of the first warnings I was told was on the topic of eavesdropping. “As a new guy on the detail, they won’t know if they can trust you. They’ll test you the first time you drive them alone.” Sure enough, with about a week on the detail I was driving my protectees to a dinner at a private residence one evening when my “test” unfolded. In response, I looked at them in the rearview and said, “Sorry, Governor, I wasn’t paying attention.” The boss sat back with a smile. They now felt I was trustworthy.
I once talked to another detail leader on the topic. “I listen to everything, although I don’t let them know. Is the protectee feeling ill? Thinking about canceling the second event? I want to know what’s going on as soon as possible. If what I hear has nothing to do with protection, it goes in one ear and out the other.”
In his 1998 declaration to the Supreme Court on confidentiality, Secret Service Director Lew Merletti stated, “…protectees must know that their actions and words are private and confidential despite the close proximity of their protection.”
Are you a trustworthy agent?
Tom is the coauthor of the best-selling and must read book – Just 2 Seconds