The Assasination Attempts Against George W. Bush and Bill Clinton

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Marc Ambinder has written an amazing piece about the operations of the U.S. Secret Service. You should take the time to read it all, and not just because he highlights two under-documented moments from recent presidential history: Apparent attempted assassinations of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush on foreign soil.

During a speech Bush gave at Tbilisi’s Freedom Square in Georgia on May 10, 2005, an assailant threw a live grenade at the president. The would-be assassin, who was later caught, had been among the throng of Georgians who had burst through the perimeter fencing when it was compromised an hour before the event. (Luckily, the grenade fell more than 30 yards away from Bush, outside of its effective range, and it did not explode.) . . . [I]n 1996, President Clinton was in Manila for an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, and had on his agenda a visit with a local official. He was running late, in a surly mood, and eager to get going. According to Gormley, just moments before the motorcade was about to move, agents using a special intelligence-gathering capacity—one that remains classified—picked up radio chatter mentioning the words wedding and bridge. Knowing well that wedding was often a code word for a terrorist hit, Merletti changed the route, which happened to include a bridge. Clinton was angry at the decision, which would cause further delay, but he did not override it. When agents arrived at the bridge, they indeed found explosives: had Clinton taken the prescribed route, he very likely would have been killed.

Read the entire piece here.

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