United Nations' Week // Secret Services at work
Trip Start Oct 30, 2010
130Trip End Ongoing
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This being MY idea of NYC's "fleet week" -- a week in the spring all the girls in the city get excited to see uniformed men docking from the Coast Guard, Navy and Marine branches of the U.S. military into Manhattan -- I grew excited seeing the swarms of special agents within the US government's Secret Services, guarding the most posh hotels in Manhattan which were accommodating the international guests expected at the week's meetings, discussions and votes (like the possible Palestinian vote into statehood).
Having always wanted to meet a special agent (at least since seeing a James Bond film), and already knowing the dozens of questions I'd ask, I had the sheer luck of being asked to greet and accommodate the Peruvian president as a news guest, and therefore, there came at his side, Special Agent Dave.
Waiting in the front lobby for both the president of Peru and Bulgaria (to take to make up and put on set for interviews), I had the privilege of meeting and hanging out with Special Agent Dave who I gradually transitioned into a friend -- smoothly increasing the rate of questions asked and how personal I could get them, the longer spent together.
Dave, coming over after speaking into his jacket, told me he just got word from agents at the Bulgarian president's hotel, that he would be arriving shortly. The two other news assistants, Dominique (training) and Christina jumped to their toes, ready for his arrival. My president, of Peru, however, would end up running 40 minutes late, giving me lots of down time in the lobby with Dave.
Q: How did you get your start? -- nearly 10 years in the army and encouragement to apply
Q: Do you really have a microphone in your cuff? -- he snickered saying most of the younger agents would put theirs there. He kept his inside his coat, taking it out (a small stick) when he needed to speak into it
Q: Were you given a portfolio with photos and personal information to study before coming here tonight? -- no, though you do study these things for the U.S. government (learning all the code names, etc.)
Q: What do you do when you're not doing events like this? -- investigative work, mostly in monetary fraud (yes... very disappointing <-- my quiet commentary here)
And then he asked if I had ever worked a political campaign...
No, I told him, though I did work with MSNBC during President Obama's Inauguration that January and occasionally went to the White House for press briefings with Secretary Gibbs.
"I thought you looked familiar," he told me -- though flattered, I knew that's highly unlikely ;) (despite his impressive memory for everything else that night, I gradually learned.)
When the president was 40 minutes late, Dave stood beside myself and the huddle of Peruvian diplomats chatting eagerly in Spanish. Dave, speaking more than one language, whispered to me what they were all saying and then compared that to what he knew from his agents at the president's hotel (nothing significant or serious, but still fun). Occasionally he'd leave to speak with others outside and then return to check on the situation with the diplomats.
Well the president cancelled. Realizing he wouldn't make his interview, he asked for the opportunity to return at a later time. At this word, the group slowly dispersed and I walked Dave upstairs to grab his bag and took a few extra moments to tour him around the news bureau -- something he could tell his wife about (more than seeing Danny Devito in the lobby earlier, mind you -- can't believe he could one up me on that).
Was the COOLEST time for both of us -- him, excited to see the bureau briefly and myself to just hang out with an agent from the Secret Services (eee)
CHECK MARK on meeting a special agent. DOUBLE CHECK on actually becoming friends with one (him giving me his card before he left, I sent him an email wishing him off well ...though wonder (since he's from Florida) if he'd do parties ;)