In November 1996, the Secret Service allegedly determined that Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda had positioned a bomb along the route that president Clinton was traveling with his motorcade, in Manila. He was attending one Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum. American flags were being burned at the scene, and local police closed down several roads.
“There was intelligence that came in, and we at the last minute decided to change the motorcade route,” a former Secret Service agent said. “It was determined that al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden had placed a bomb along the route in anticipation of the motorcade coming that way.”
If the story happened as they say it did, Clinton narrowly avoided getting blasted by bin Laden in Manila 21 years ago.
Last year, Trump experienced something similar in the same city. According to the Daily Beast:
“Twenty-one years later, there was a plot against President Trump’s life in Manila—a shocking fact revealed in United States Secret Service: On the Front Line, a two-hour special airing on the National Geographic Channel Sunday night that—for the first time—provides viewers with a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the workings of the Secret Service, and the complex measures they take to protect the president of the United States.”
Trump was about to appear in the city of Manila in order to meet with the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, and other governmental leaders at the November 2017 ASEAN 50 summit.
This was all described like some kind of spy story meant to pull on people’s desire to be entertained, and the not so secret agents listed in the operation to protect the president on that trip included Chad Ragan, a special agent in the Presidential Protective Division of the agency, and someone named Audrey Gibson.
The SS teams were described by the Daily Beast:
“The Secret Service comprises four main teams: Protective Intelligence; Uniformed Division; Protective Operations; and Investigations. The Protective Operations team includes those in the “inner circle,” standing steps from POTUS, and special ops, such as countersnipers and the K-9 explosive detection unit. Protective Intelligence analyzes threats against the president, both on and offline. The Uniformed Division guards the White House or anywhere POTUS goes. And Investigations monitors the motives of people who make threats against the president.”
“There is credible information that an incident could occur during ASEAN,” said Special Agent Gibson. She pointed to a map of ISIS and what are referred to as “ISIS-affiliated threat actors.” “As of this week, the Philippines has escalated to a critical threat level.”
For some reason, giving away their position on purpose apparently, ISIS issued a series of threats just days before the president’s visit, according to official sources.
Through video, ISIS figures allegedly issued threats featuring a photo of Trump riddled with bullets, with a message that urges others to “lie in wait” and “ambush” him in the Philippines.
Before President Trump arrived on Air Force One, one of the agents was informed that he found a credible threat against Trump in a tweet that reads “Gonna be in Manila the same time as Trump… I’ll take one for the team lads,” with an ominous mugshot of Lee Harvey Oswald, the man who allegedly killed John F. Kennedy.
On the person’s Instagram, the authorities found the man holding a copy of a book titled “How to Kill: the Definitive History of the Assassin.”
Tracing his IP address, they found out he really was in Manila, just kilometers away from the president’s hotel.
Showing everyone just how easy it is for the government to track people through social media, he was found to be traveling in the direction of the president’s hotel. They continued to follow him.
“With social media, there’s software that can scroll through all of [the threats] at a much faster rate than any human can do it, so in some regards it makes it easier. But the bread and butter of what we do is the human element—and the people that work the mission—and that’s never going to change,” Special Agent Gibson said. He just point blank told everyone social media helps them monitor everyone.
Yet another threat was allegedly identified by the agents: an “ISIS operative” at some location in downtown Manila, targeting Trump.
They claimed the Secret Service agents weren’t sure where the ISIS operative was at all. “What is going on proactively to track this guy down?” Special Agent Ragan is seen yelling into a phone. “I need an update. Now.”
Keep in mind all of this was included on a National Geographic television segment, it’s meant to be entertainment, but why people should be entertained by the activities of government agencies is yet to be understood.
About one mile north of the president’s hotel, the ISIS operative was identified as being at Luneta Park, supposedly convening with an “associate.”
The Philippine National Police were informed, and they swarmed the park and arrested the people.
“With technology, that was one of the things that was a blessing for us, because we were able to know that he was moving close to us, where he was, and track him. That was a huge piece of stopping the threat,” Special Agent Ragan said. Unfortunately only people in positions of authority get the benefit of being protected by surveillance.