Lifetime Secret Service Protection Restored for Presidents Bush and Obama

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images; Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

As a cost savings, Congress had ended lifetime security details for former presidents, cutting off Secret Service protection 10 years after a president leaves office. But in the post-9/11 world Congress decided that former chief executives may still be vulnerable and need protection.

President Obama has now signed the repeal. HR. 6620, the "Former Presidents Protection Act of 2012," also gives Secret Service protection to former First Ladies and guarantees agents will continue to shadow children of former Presidents until they become 16 years of age.

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Of course, families can decline protection. When President George Herbert Walker Bush walked away from the inaugural ceremonies of his successor Bill Clinton, his wife Barbara Bush said farewell to her agents on the Capitol steps, and moved back to Texas without them.