Presidential Code Names Given by the Secret Service

The United States Secret Service is a federal law enforcement agency with the mission to ensure the safety of the president, the vice president and their families. To better protect the commander in chief, presidential code names are given and used by the Secret Service.  Code names are also given to the president’s family. The use of these code names date back to a time when secure electronic communications weren’t always encrypted; however, today, the names are mainly used for the sake of tradition, brevity and clarity. Here are five of the code names given to presidents of the United States.

1. Jimmy Carter

James Earl Carter Jr. served as the thirty-ninth United States president from 1977 to 1981. Given his strong religious convictions and involvement in the Baptist Church, the Secret Service code name “Deacon” was the perfect choice for Jimmy Carter. In fact, after his retirement, he spent much of his time teaching Sunday school at his church. During his one term as president he devoted his life to assisting those in need, living up to his nickname and doing much good in the process.

2. Gerald Ford

Gerald Ford was sworn in as the thirty-eighth president of the United States following the resignation of Richard Nixon. Like his predecessor, there was controversy regarding Ford who spent only a short time as president. The public wanted certain actions taken against Nixon for the Watergate scandal, however, Nixon was granted a “full, free and absolute pardon” by Ford. This did not sit well with the citizenry. It is ironic or some may say symbolic that Ford was given the code name “Passkey.” Indeed, he had given his friend, Richard Nixon, a free card. The voters surely sent Ford a strong message at the following elections.

3. Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton was the forty-second president of the United States and he served from 1993 to 2001. The Secret Service gave him and everyone in his family a code name that started with the letter E, as he prepared to take office. Clinton was given the coding “Eagle” because of his prior involvement with the Boy Scouts of America. Though while a Boy Scout, he never reached the rank of eagle which is the highest achievement attainable in the Scouts BSA program of the Boy Scouts of America, we can agree that this code name was patriotic and fitting for someone who held office.

4. Barack Obama

Barack Hussein Obama II served as the forty-fourth president from 2009 to 2017. When given a list of names beginning with R by the Secret Service, Obama decided on the codename “Renegade.” All the members of his family had names which started with R. Many people speculated that his choice of name meant that he would live up to that name. While he didn’t, he served with distinction and made some bold changes.

5. George W. Bush

George Walker Bush was the forty-third president of the United States from 2001 to 2009. As the son of former president George H.W Bush, George W. Bush was given the code name “Tumble” because he loved to party. When he became president, he wanted a more appropriate code name and he was called “Trailblazer.” This name was certainly more impressive. By that time, the Secret Service was more receptive to presidents requesting a name change.

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