Secret Service bodyguards for ex-presidents--was Reagen guarded?

I’ve heard that ex-presidents continue to receive Secret Service bodyguards for the rest of their lives. (it makes sense-after all they know a lot of secret information, even after being voted out of office) Is this really true?
And if so, did bodyguards continue to protect R.Reagen even when he was so far gone with Alzheimers disease that he couldn’t speak coherently? And if so, why?

Yes, he did have Secret Service guards until he died. One of Reagan’s pasttimes was to take walks, and the Secret Service escorted him.


In fact, I think Nancy will continue to have protection until she dies, also.

Well, the Clintons are the last first family to be guarded until they die. If I remember correctly, the law was changed starting with W. No idea how longs he gets or anything.


Does anybody know about how many secret service agents there are?

Wow, that seems like a silly change to the law. I can’t imagine a time when Dubya won’t need bodyguards. And if he’s not re-elected then he’ll be fairly young when he “retires”.

I wonder how politics played into that change. IIRC, a whole slew of SS agents refused to answer questions about the comings and goig of Bill Clinton, especially the comings. :smiley:

My feeling is that GWB will be able to pay for his own security detail after his Secret Service protection expires in 2015.

I think limiting the protection of an ex-President for ten years is an extraordinarily bad idea. From the date of the law, I’m guessing it was part of the Republican ‘get back at Clinton’ program.

For one thing, it could affect the person’s behaviour in office. Presidents can make a lot of enemies. If the man knows he’s not going to be protected for the rest of his life, will he refuse to take controversial steps that will earn him enemies? George W. Bush is going to be looking over his shoulder for terrorist nutbars for the rest of his life.

Also, ex-presidents are national treasures. Can you imagine the hue-and-cry if Jimmy Carter were kidnapped and held for ransom? Or executed on TV?

Someone provided a good answer for your question.
I’d like to add that the SS does a decent number of things besides executive protection. Among them are included investigating certain financial fraud (Nigerian scams included) and forgery of US currency.

I’ll just add that in this week’s Reagan tribute in Time magazine, they mentioned that Ron spent many hours raking the leaves out of his swimming pool… unaware that his Secret Service detail would replace them after he was done.

I suspect Rush Limbaugh would wave it off as “harmless college frat hijinx.” :smiley:

Okay, I don’t get it… why were they putting the leaves back?

To give him something to do?

That is eerily like what my boss said my boss when I told her anout a CBS story that Reagan had written a 138 page instruction manual for is funeral. She said, “He probably wrote the same page 138 times”.

Yeah, well Nixon made a lot of enemies.

Yet he somehow got along just fine when he dismissed his Secret Servicxe detail and made do with a private security firm. So far he’s the only former President to do so.

He said it liberated him greatly. He no longer had agents warning him about how everything he wanted to do was “too dangerous.”

There’s a very funny (in MY humble opinion, the critics hated it) movie about this very subject. ‘Guarding Tess’ (1994) features Shirley McLaine in the Nancy Reagan role and Nick Cage as the unwilling Secret Service agent.

Read for yourself. I thought it was funny:

I really enjoyed this one too - two ex-Presidents have to ELUDE the Secret Service to get the plot ahead (with Jim Garner and Jack Lemmon as the battling Ex-Prezes):

My Fellow Americans (1996):

Urbanus E. Baughman was Chief of the Secret Service from the end of FDR’s term to the beginning of Kennedy’s. In his memoirs (Secret Service Chief), he described the end of Truman’s term, with the Truman family headed back to Missouri without fanfare or a Service guard. The advent of post-term protection is a recent thing. I think it started with Jackie Kennedy, whose cult of celebrity was so extreme that she needed protection from nutcases long after JFK was killed.