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Saturday April 26, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Sunday April 27, 2014 MYT 7:05:23 AM
by nicholas cheng
Stars, stripe and moon:The Malaysian and American flag hanging from poles in Putrajaya.
KUALA LUMPUR: It will be a scene right out of the movie In The Line of Fire as far as protecting the US President here is concerned.
The security spectacle will be on parade the moment President Barack Obama gets off Air Force One at the RMAF base in Subang this afternoon.
Burly men in sunglasses, usually dressed in dark suits, will be at the foot of the airstairs as Obama makes his way down.
In the movie, Clint Eastwood plays a dedicated Secret Service Agent who protects the US president.
Despite their trademark cool demeanour, these men are ready to jump in front of a bullet for the President or activate an elaborate escape plan at a moment’s notice.
Outlining a foreign trip for the US leader, Dan Emmett, who worked in the US Secret Service for 21 years and was the security detail for three US Presidents, said weeks would be spent “advancing” or planning out a President’s stay abroad.
Emmett said every place the President was expected to visit would be scrutinised and plans would be drawn up on how to get him in and out of each venue safely.
When Obama visited Mumbai in 2010, the Secret Service built a bomb-proof tunnel for him to simply walk into the Mani Bhavan Gandhi Museum because agents were concerned that a skyscraper near the building could pose a threat.
However, Emmett said no security plan could go forward without the approval and help of local authorities, saying the “Secret Service can’t come rolling in like in Dallas, LA or Atlanta and start asking for things from the state and the local authorities”.
“There are a lot of details that go into planning an overseas trip. “You generally get about two weeks to do a foreign advance. Emmett told US news portal The Daily Beast.
Secret Service agents are trained in a Beltsville, Maryland compound which National Geographic calls a “Hollywood back lot”.
There are mainstreets and roads, with building facades built to scale and even a portion of Air Force One.
All are used in through the grinder training to expose agents to any possible attack that may befall the President – from car bombs to chemical attacks and snipers.
Agents are taught how to treat shock and bullet wounds, how to fall out of a car and how to react under heavy fire until their contingency plans are engraved in memory.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the government would ensure complete security during the three-day official visit of the US President.
“God willing, all will be safe. I will ensure everything goes smoothly,” he said.
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