911 question

If a terror attack was almost certainly taking place and the President was at a public function (which would have been publicized in advance) wouldn’t it be stand operating procedure for the Secret Service to immediately get him out of there in case terrorists, knowing he was there, might attack that place also?

So why DID the Secret Service allow Bush to stay at that school so long after the second plane hit the WTC?

Shouldn’t the SS have strict guidelines in place for any occurrence like this?

From memory, they didn’t do that for several reasons. One, the situation was confused and they weren’t sure exactly what was going on. Looking back, we know it was a coordinated attack, but remember that THEY didn’t know that. At first they thought it was an accident. Fog of war and all that. Also, they didn’t know if by moving him they would be playing right into the attackers hands, so they (rightfully as it turned out) held in place to see what was going on before getting him out of there and to safety.

It’s easy to look back on events and to second guess or Monday Morning Quarterback or Armchair General things, but you have to look at things from the perspective of folks who DIDN’T have all the information we do now, and try and put yourself in their shoes, knowing what they knew at the time (and more importantly what they DIDN’T know).


Not that many terrorist attacks have occurred on US soil. No, I bet they don’t lock up the president every time something happens.

When the president is out in public he is well protected. It’s not just 6 secret service guys standing near him. It is hundreds of officers from Secret Service, FBI, state and local police all coordinated around him.

Yes, but did they move Dick Cheney to an underground location?

Taking a look at the timelines here and here, it seems Bush was notified at 9:06 of the second plane hitting the WTC and continued talking with the children about 7 more minutes.

The second timeline also shows that Cheney says he saw the second plane hit the WTC (about 9:03) on TV but didn’t head for the bunker until the Secret Service somewhat forcefully asked him to – somewhere between 9:10 and 9:20. In fact, the White House wasn’t evacuated until 9:45 – after the Pentagon was hit.

Meanwhile, between about 9:13 and 9:30 Bush was in a different room at the school, talking to aides and on the phone. He then made a brief statement and left.

As Zebra says, it wasn’t just 6 Secret Service agents at the school. The place had already been completely cordoned off.

So it appears that for both Bush and Cheney, their first instinct was to stay where they were. And while security experts continue to argue about it, the case can certainly be made that Bush was at least as safe staying put as he was in the motorcade heading back to the airport.

Just like to say its nice to see a post pointing out what to me was always obvious, i.e. that this was always a total non-issue…

The short answer is that school had already been secured and was the safest place for Bush to be while his staff planned the next actions. Where should he have gone in those 20 or 25 minutes that would have been safer?