Double the Titles … Double the Guns

Feb 18, 2009 5:46am

ABC News’ Martha Raddatz reports from Jakarta, Indonesia: More than once while on this first overseas trip with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, I have mistakenly referred to her as "senator," or even going further back, "first lady." It’s hard to remember anyone who has had more titles than Hillary Clinton. But it’s also hard to forget. Case in point, her security detail. Normally, secretaries of state have protection from the Bureau of Diplomatic Security. DS is the State Department equivalent of the U.S. Secret Service. In addition to the secretary of state, DS usually protects visiting dignitaries like foreign ministers, while Secret Service handles security for visiting heads of state. Secret Service is under the umbrella of homeland security and does presidential protection (as well as families of presidents) and all sorts of other law enforcement duties. Because Clinton is a former first lady, she is entitled to Secret Service protection for life. Lady Bird Johnson, for example, had a Secret Service detail from the time her husband took office in 1963 until the time of her death in 2007. That is 44 years of personal protection (and transportation). When I took my seat on Clinton’s plane today, I noticed the agent in front of me was not the usual diplomatic security agent who would provide protection for Clinton, but a U.S. Secret Service agent who has apparently been with her since she was first lady. Across the aisle were the diplomatic security agents. They all carry lots of weapons and give you a polite brush-off if you ask too many questions about their work. Clinton’s protective detail doesn’t appear larger than those of her predecessors, but rather it’s a mix of agents. Nevertheless, the hybrid protection seems to work flawlessly together. So, Clinton has another of her countless "firsts." She is the first secretary of state who has double protection, diplomatic and Secret Service. One more note: The first … er … secretary of state comes to the back of the plane frequently. Today, when she boarded the plane from Tokyo for the flight to Jakarta, she joked with the reporters who drew the short straw and got middle seats. "I’m here to look out for the oppressed everywhere," she said, smiling, and adding that she understood how hard it must be traveling around the world in a cramped coach seat. And, with that bit of friendly empathy, Clinton headed back to the front of the plane where the seat bed is much nicer.

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