“I have stood here before inside the pouring rain, with the world turning circles running round my brain.” -Words from King of Pain by the Police

It is said that part of Sting’s inspiration for the song King of Pain was James Bond, as he wrote the song while he was staying at Ian Fleming’s house in Jamaica. This song became my unofficial theme during my 12 years in the United States Secret Service. I have stood in stairwells, loading docks, hallways, fields, kitchens and other lonely places for hours because the President was going to walk nearby in a few hours. There were times I thought I was losing my mind counting the tiles on the floor.

I also have stood backstage with other members of the Counter Assault Team (CAT) while the President spoke to roaring crowds. CAT is a highly selective Secret Service tactical unit with rigorous physical, marksmanship and tactical standards, and I felt fortunate to be there. While on CAT, I was able to train and work with world’s most elite military special operations and law enforcement units. I have also participated in and been directly responsible for the planning of several National Special Security Events (NSSEs), including Inaugurations, major party conventions, and world leader summits.

So when crazy Inauguration Security stories began to go viral on the internet, I could only laugh and shake my head. The story about the Agent’s fake arms was especially amusing and I hit up Jack on that highly overrated social networking website called LinkedIn and asked if I could offer a few thoughts. He graciously accepted.

So if you have ever wondered about what goes on behind the scenes with Presidential security, here are three things about Presidential Security from a “Guy That’s Been There”:

1. For every agent you see on TV, there are 10 you don’t

Everyone always focuses on the Agents around the President. These Agents are members of the Presidential Protection Division, or PPD. In Europe it is called “Close Protection,” but in the Secret Service it’s called “The Shift.” I won’t reveal how many Agents are on “The Shift” on SOFREP, but “The Shift’s” job is to cover and evacuate the President. The basic tactic of the shift is “Maximum To The Protectee, Minimum to the Problem.”

If the mission of “The Shift” is to put “Maximum to the Protectee, Minimum to the Problem,” CAT does the opposite. CAT’s basic mission is to divert, suppress and neutralize any threats to allow the shift enough time to cover and evacuate.