Attacks on public figures are growing

Attacks on public figures are growing
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Recently, Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpHouse Intel to probe whether lawyers for Trump family interfered in investigation Trump Jr. subpoenaed after backing out of interviews: report Graham encourages Donald Trump Jr. to plead the Fifth MORE and Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerWhite House encouraging investment in Middle East as part of peace plan Bank staff highlighted 'suspicious activity' in Trump-, Kushner-controlled accounts: report Trump: 'Good chance' Dems give immigration 'win' after Pelosi called White House plan 'dead on arrival' MORE boarded a flight from D.C. to New York. This type of flight is termed a shuttle flight due to its quick and direct link between D.C. and New York. Business people, power brokers and decision makers who need to fly the fastest way between these two centers of national power usually occupy the flight.

On any given day, the “shuttle flight” is filled with famous people, politicians, decision makers and sometimes heavily armed federal law enforcement officers. Often times these federal agents use the shuttle to commute. Other times these federal agents are working — often doing the delicate and dangerous job of protecting some individuals on that flight.


When Ivanka and Jared got on the flight, they weren’t alone. Due to their individual positions as a senior advisor to the president, they had Secret Service protection — protection that is well known or at least many would expect.

While on the 40-minute flight no one bothered Jared or Ivanka. When they landed Jared, Ivanka and their Secret Service detail politely waited for the rest of the passengers to de-plane, but one passenger decided to wait. As the Secret Service or anyone who performs protection knows, when someone is waiting, they usually have a reason and in some cases it can be nefarious.

As the Secret Service detail with Jared and Ivanka started to move to de-plane the waiting individual stood, reached into their pocket, pulled out something and started to spin towards Jared and Ivanka. The Secret Service was already focused on this individual’s suspicious activity and reacted as they were trained.

They intercepted the individual, re-directed their movement and shielded Ivanka and Jared from the path of the individual. It turns out that the perceived “threat” was a member of the media. Later, the individual was identified as a CBS reporter who stated they were trying to ask the couple questions about the death of Saudi missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Needless to say, her actions caused the Secret Service to be alarmed, especially with our tumultuous times.

During the 2016 campaign, Jared and Ivanka often suffered the wrath of anti-Trump beratement on flights, including with their childrenProtesters and the media have also targeted them since President Trump was elected to office.

People say that those that put themselves in the public purview make a “deal with the devil.” When in public they are to expected to receive a certain amount of public attention, but for those such as: Jared and Ivanka, the DHS Secretaryattorney general, members of Congress or White House press secretary, the deal has gotten more devilish as time has gone on.

Threats can range from verbal to physical. And as history has taught us, anything can be a threat if not identified or deterred. Former Israeli Prime Minister Rabin was shot and killed by an unsuspecting individual who was hanging out by his car. President Reagan’s attempted assassin stood with the media and actually waived at Reagan at one point, prior to taking his attempted kill shots. In today’s terrorist playbook anything is possible and according to the 9/11 commission the 9/11 attacks happened in large part due to a “failure of imagination,” an imagination that these professionals are dealing with.

Places like restaurants; flights and other usually more private settings have become open season for protests and verbal abuse. This conduct is a stark departure from what normally would have been off-limits locations by the public or media. What makes this more concerning is that, despite the presence of armed federal agents with these individuals, these occurrences still happen.

Maybe some don’t understand or don’t care, but protection is threat based and these individuals who have protection seemingly all have threats against them. The law enforcement officers that are tasked to protect them are keenly aware of this and have taken an oath not to let anything happen to these individuals on their watch.

The bottom line is this, if someone shows an aggressive or forceful position against an individual under protection they are “rolling the dice” with how those highly trained federal law enforcement officers may decide, in a split second, what type of threat you pose.

In those seconds, they don’t care who or what you are, they just need to determine if you are a threat or not. The other gamble is with their lives due to what the response may be.

In the world of protection, there is no room for error and in today’s threat matrix. There is little lack of imagination concerning what a threat could be. To prevent any unintended consequences, the better course of action is to keep protests to public areas and if you are the media and if you want to ask a question: make an appointment.

Donald J. Mihalek is the executive vice president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) Foundation and the Secret Service Agency President for FLEOA.