The date most closely associated with the Secret Service probably isn’t its founding in 1865. It’s not 1902, when it took over full-time protection of the president following William McKinley’s assassination. It’s probably Nov. 22, 1963 — when John F. Kennedy was killed, shot dead as he rode in a convertible with the top down, his government bodyguards powerless to help.
“It isn’t something that we’re marking. It wasn’t a good day for us or for the country,” Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary told Yahoo News. “It was a dark day.”
But 50 years later, there’s no mistaking that JFK’s death — and the June 1968 killing of Robert Kennedy, and the March 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan — utterly transformed the small agency with one of the government’s biggest jobs.
If the White House is, in the tongue-in-cheek words of several presidents, “the crown jewel of the federal penal system,” that would make the Secret Service the country’s most elite prison guards.
But in 1963,Read More »from After JFK, a Secret Service transformed