THE UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE GRANTS NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC UNPRECEDENTED ACCESS FOR NEW SPECIAL “UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE: ON THE FRONT LINE”
Special Will Reveal How One of America’s Most Secretive Government Agencies Works to Protect the President at Home and Abroad
Wed Sep 19 2018 20:00:00 GMT+0000 (UTC)
Premiering Sunday, October 14 at 9/8c, Two-Hour Special Reinforces the Network’s Storied Legacy of Unparalled Access
“Everyday, we have to be 100% correct; everyday we have to win,”
Anthony Ornato, Special Agent in Charge of the
Presidential Protective Division tells National Geographic
(WASHINGTON, DC – September 19, 2018) National Geographic announced today the premiere of United States Secret Service: On the Front Line, an in-depth, exclusive look inside the high-stakes world of protecting the President. The two-hour special echoes one of National Geographic’s core missions, to take viewers places few others have been. The special reveals unexpected stories of trepidation and triumph along with a broader understanding of the significant and serious matters the agency must contend with everyday. United States Secret Service: On the Front Line premieres Sunday, October 14 at 9/8c on National Geographic.
“The Secret Service impacts the life of the president greatly,” Anthony Ornato, Special Agent in Charge of the Presidential Protective Division tells National Geographic. “Coming into the presidency, everything is new. We probably restrict President Trump more than he wants to be restricted. And it's difficult for the President to live in a bubble.”
Over the course of one year, National Geographic was given extensive access to four Secret Service special missions. This access provides viewers with an exceptionally immersive picture of the demanding work Secret Service agents and officers face as they protect the President on multiple evolving fronts.
United States Secret Service: On the Front Line incorporates interviews with key agency officers and the notable journalists who covered some of the most significant events involving the Secret Service.
Featured in the special are Anthony Ornato, Special Agent in Charge of the Presidential Protective Division; Chad Ragan, Special Agent, Presidential Protective Division; Agent Wesley Schwark, Assistant to the Special Agent in Charge, Dignitary Protective Division, Special Events Section; Audrey Gibson, Special Agent, Protective Intelligence & Assessment Division; Mickey Nelson, former Assistant Director of the U.S. Secret Service; Chip Smith, Former Special Agent In Charge, NYC Field Office; Bret Baier, Anchor Special Report, Fox News; Ann Compton, Former White House Correspondent, ABC News; and Don Gonyea, National Political Correspondent, NPR News.
United States Secret Service: On the Front Line illustrates how the agency works domestically and abroad and features the following vital divisions:
• Most Americans are familiar with Protective Operations, which includes the Presidential Protective Division the Dignitary Protection Division and Special Ops. These are the agents responsible for the daily around-the-clock security of the President of the United States (POTUS). They protect and safeguard the President’s “bubble”— a term used to describe the protective arm of the Secret Service.
o National Geographic cameras follow lead agents as they prepare for and embark on President Donald J. Trump’s (Secret Service codename: “Mogul”) 2017 trip to Manila. Agents run through game plans and protection strategies and track, in real time, any possible threats around. “Twitter or Facebook threats. Lone wolf threat. Terrorist team attacker. People who want to cause chaos and disruption. Threats that we haven’t even comprehended that people can dream up. Our role is to be command and control wherever the President goes around the world,” says Special Agent Ornato.
o The Dignitary Protection Division secures large-scale events like the State of the Union, state dinners and the Presidential Inauguration. State of the Union addresses, for example, feature the President, at a highly publicized event, with all three branches of the federal government in attendance. Next to the Inauguration, the State of the Union is the largest undertaking for the Secret Service in Washington D.C. It also requires preparation for the worst-case scenario, including the selection of a designated survivor. “Your line of succession is basically sitting in one room,” says Agent Wesley Schwark, Assistant to the Special Agent in Charge, Dignitary Protective Division, Special Events Section. “In an event like the State of the Union, you’ve got to have an alternate plan in the event that something catastrophic were to happen.”
o Special Ops directs the counter-sniper, counter-assault and K-9 teams. An overseas trip to the Philippines, where ISIS is a real and credible threat, requires multiple planes filled with protective equipment, the entire presidential SUV and limousine motorcade, K-9 teams and hundreds of agents. Cameras capture the intricate preperation and execution over the entire trip, including the installation of ballistic glass in the President’s hotel suite, placing agents on Philippine Naval ships just off shore, positioning counter snipers 24/7 at key locations and conducting frequent sweeps of the President’s hotel with explosive detection teams.
o The Protective Intelligence Division scours open source information to identify, locate and investigate threats to the President and other key dignitaries before they become a reality. The evolving landscape of social media and other communications platforms has given rise to an equally challenging and vital mission. Cameras roll as agents working in Manila, during the President’s visit, and chase down a suspected member of ISIS and an individual who has made threats to the President over social media. Overall, agents in this division seek to contain individuals whose risky behavior has been identified as potentially harmful. “When I first started with the Secret Service, threats would come in via the U.S. mail. They would give us...handwriting samples, DNA [via the licked envelope], and if they were real nice, sometimes, they would put their return address on there. So, it made it a lot easier to find them,” says Mickey Nelson, former Assistant Director of the U.S. Secret Service. “Today, most everything comes in via social media and the relative anonymity that goes along with that.”
In addition to the insider access to real time strategy, United States Secret Service: On the Front Line takes a broader look back at the agency’s efforts to divert disaster—whether successful or the difficult, but invaluable, lessons learned the hard way. Through interviews with current and former agents as well as the journalists who were there, viewers will hear first-person accounts of close calls and matters of national security that forever changed the protective strategy of the agency.
United States Secret Service: On the Front Line is produced by National Geographic Studios for National Geographic. Executive producers for National Geographic Studios are Jeff Hasler, Brian Lovett and Melissa Wood. Matt Renner is executive producer and vice president, original programming and production at National Geographic.
For more information, visit www.natgeotvpressroom.com or follow us on Twitter using @NGC_PR.
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Adrienne D'Amato, 212-656-0707, Adrienne.email@example.com