President Bush Rescues Secret Service Agent

Bush aids Secret Service agent (CNN)

It was a rare moment of role reversal — U.S. President George W. Bush coming to the aid of a man paid to protect him. Upon arriving for an official dinner with world leaders gathered for the annual APEC summit on Saturday night, the president stopped after hearing commotion at the door of the Estacion Mapocho Cultural Center. According to a videotape of the incident, Bush turned around and saw that one of his Secret Service agents was being forcefully restrained from entering by Chilean Chilean security guards. The president dove into the crowd, where people were arguing and pushing one another, and pulled the agent through the door of center. After the successful rescue, Bush turned around, cocked his head proudly at his maneuver and began to greet his hosts.

The White House is downplaying the incident as an unfortunate misunderstanding with Chilean security services. “There was some confusion over whether the president’s Secret Service agent could accompany him to the dinner, but the issue was resolved,” White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan told CNN.

The president is in the Chilean capital for the weekend Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, making his first international trip since winning a second term on November 2.

Bush Pulls Top Security Agent From Fracas (AP)

President Bush stepped into the middle of a confrontation and pulled his lead Secret Service agent away from Chilean security officials who barred his bodyguards from entering an elegant dinner for 21 world leaders Saturday night.

Several Chilean and American agents got into a pushing and shoving match outside the cultural center where the dinner was held. The incident happened after Bush and his wife, Laura, had just posed for pictures on a red carpet with the host of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, Chilean President Ricardo Lagos and his wife, Luisa Duran.

As Bush stepped inside, Chilean agents closed ranks at the door, blocking the president’s agents from following. Stopping for more pictures, Bush noticed the fracas and turned back. He reached through the dispute and pulled his agent from the scrum and into the building. The president, looking irritated, straightened his shirt cuffs as he went into the dinner. The incident was shown on APEC television. “Chilean security tried to stop the president’s Secret Service from accompanying him,” said White House deputy press secretary Claire Buchan. “He told them they were with him and the issue was resolved.”

Two rather different takes on the same incident. Pretty amusing either way.

Daily Recycler has the video.

Jeff Goldstein, John Hinderacker, Charles Johnson, Betsy Newmark, and the Corner’s KJL all think Bush is a badass.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Zach says:

    Proof that the press is always objective.

  2. Attila Girl says:

    The biggest conflicts I’ve seen in competing accounts of the incident are the different takes on the President’s demeaner after he fished his agent out of there.

    Keep in mind that 1) the President is supposed to have two Secret Service agents near him at all times, and this rule is normally respected by other countries; 2) the other agent who should have entered with Pres. Bush was actually roughed up a little, and 3) discussions had already been ongoing between our security and theirs, and they knew the rules. The conflict was, apparently, not unexpected.

    These people may be role models for privatizing Social Security, but they are not when it comes to politeness towared foreign leaders.

  3. Ralph says:

    Actually, Attila, Bush was treated w/courtesy. His agents weren’t due to protocol. And speaking of manners, since when does the guest impose on the host? ( ) Once again, this administration has embarresed the United States

  4. McGehee says:

    Ralph, every other country on earth has respected the role of the U.S. Secret Service in protecting our president, for decades.

    Chile’s security services have embarrassed Chile, and you’re embarrassing yourself.

  5. Attila Girl says:

    Clearly there’s something wrong in my perceptions, since I feel that the most powerful man in the world should not place himself at risk simply because his security detail and the host country do not see eye-to-eye on security procedures.

    For crying out loud–there is *nothing* wrong with having people pass through metal detectors for an event of the magnitude that was planned.

    It’s too bad that you are “embarassed” by having thoughtful people making these decisions.

  6. Scott says:

    I think that all the President’s security arrangements should be handled by the Secret Service. South American nations to the best of my knowledge don’t have such a great track record of keeping their leaders alive. Like it or not he is not just another national leader. He is the leader of the free world and the most powerfull man in the world. If Chile doesn’t want to play nice than I’d rather not see the Prez go there any more. As far as President Bush getting “hands on” over the disagreement, I think he’s cool as hell. God bless Texas.

  7. sortapundit says:

    The President should be accompanied wherever he goes by the Secret Service. Whatever your personal feelings about this particular President, his death would not be good news. Anyone who disagrees should ask Messrs. Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley and Kennedy.

    Sure, the Chilean security services probably had the building secured, but since when did the US outsource Presidential security?

  8. Anjin-San says:

    Sounds like the White House advance team might have dropped the ball. I don’t like Bush, but the President must have adequate security at all times…

  9. Ralph says:

    “By Saturday night – though it had not been announced – Chile had already begun calling the guests to the dinner planned for Sunday at La Moneda, the presidential palace that was the site of the coup that overthrew Salvador Allende on Sept. 11, 1973. The dinner dispute over the dinner on Sunday centered on the question of whether the Chilean guests would be required to go through metal detectors before dining with Mr. Bush, a standard practice for the Secret Service. The Chileans told Mr. Bush’s delegation that the practice was humiliating. “Can you imagine someone like the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court having to submit to an inspection by gringo security agents in order to get into our own seat of government?” asked one of the disinvited Chileans, who spoke on condition that he not be named. “That’s an affront no Chilean was going to tolerate, and Lagos had no choice but to act the way he did” ( NY Times )

    …can’t blame them. It is nice to know that at least some will not put up with the American security propaganda. Unfortunately, many Americans degrade themselves by buying into it.

  10. LJD says:

    It may be “their own seat of government” but I don’t believe they frequently have the President of the United States there.

    This was only an issue because of the big stink they raised over it. I can’t see that a public official, well accustomed to diplomacy and security, would have a problem with metal detectors.

    “Security propaganda?” I suppose the war on terror is all propaganda too… Ralph, why do you hate so much?

  11. LJD says:

    The Chileans thought the guy was Rob Corddry of Comedy Central’s Daily Show…

  12. K TeStruth says:

    With Chiles unstable history would you go to Chile without a bodyguard? if you say “yes” your a fool. Why does Kofi have private secruity when anywhere with full auto weapons even New York City where our civilians can’t even get a permit to carry! I love George W. Bush more now then ever! If you are embarrassed by this what are you embarrassed for? Perasonal safety is a God given human right not dictated by governments! If you don’t like it don’t invite us and don’t take our money. The President needs protection by us not them. Would you take a bullet for Kofi knowing he supports terrorist and Genocide please! Give me a Break! P.S. Bush is my new favorite “Cowboy”

  13. Karen says:

    What a hero – the great thing [one of them] about W is that he doesn’t have to make a production of his courage and character, he just IS… it just shows in what he does, even spontaneous reactions, like looking back and going to intervene on behalf of his guy. After all, it is in those day-to-day spontaneous reactions, and in the way you respond under stress, that we can discern true character

    The other side likes to use the term “cowboy” as a perjorative – to which I would respond – after all, isn’t that how the west was won – I LIKE cowboys, myself