Secret Service sources informed Weaponsman.com on Black Friday that selectees for the post-presidential detail have been told that they can expect to be stabilized in the Washington, DC area for at least two years, as the outgoing President has no intention of leaving the Imperial City. They can only speculate about the reasons why. It may be as simple as the First Daughters’ schooling, or as complicated as President Obama’s position as a figurehead of a “resistance” to the Trump Administration, mixed with his desire to defend his legacy to his many friends and followers in the mass media.
Some agents bid for the detail in hopes of catching a relocation to Hawaii; others expected the retiring President to return to his former home of Chicago. (it’s not really a safe place for a black man, though, with over 4,000 shootings and 720 homicides, mostly of black men, so far this record-setting year). For some of them, it’s a first shot at a top-level protection detail, and so it has career appeal.
A Washington, DC detail has blessings and curses for the individual agent, of which, a couple examples may get you thinking. There’s plenty of spare manpower available in the heavily overstaffed and underworked headquarters, so you’re less likely to lose out on vacations or other time off. But it’s also much more convenient for bosses to come out to you and exercise their micromanagerial talents.
The Obama detail is not a favorite, but it’s not one agents are desperate to avoid, either. (The Hillary Clinton detail, for example, has not become more desirable with her defeat, and wouldn’t have become more desirable with her victory. It’s been at or near the bottom of most protective agents’ preferences for decades). A cynic would note that the Obamas have a long way to go to build a Clinton-sized bankroll, and there’s no place quite as effective for selling, if your product is influence, than Washington, DC.
The decision has been telegraphed for some time, for example, in this article at the Washington Post. But as far as we know, this is the first absolute confirmation. If the President were to change his plans at this point (which he can still do), the Secret Service would have to create personnel chaos (something that doesn’t really bother the managers) and spend truckloads of money (something that does) to stand up a detail in the new location, be it Kailua or the Loop.
It is, of course, President Obama’s right to live anywhere he and his family please to, and the Secret Service’s duty to protect them, wherever they are, from the nutballs and enemies they have attracted during the President’s years of elected service.