Secret Service codename

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President John F. Kennedy, codename "Lancer" with First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, codename "Lace"

The United States Secret Service uses code names for U.S. presidents, first ladies, and other prominent persons and locations.[1] The use of such names was originally for security purposes and dates to a time when sensitive electronic communications were not routinely encrypted; today, the names simply serve for purposes of brevity, clarity, and tradition.[2][3] The Secret Service does not choose these names, however. The White House Communications Agency assigns them.[4] WHCA was originally created as the White House Signal Detachment under Franklin Roosevelt.

The WHCA, an agency of the White House Military Office, is headquartered at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling and consists of six staff elements and seven organizational units. WHCA also has supporting detachments in Washington, D.C. and various locations throughout the United States of America.

According to established protocol, good codewords are unambiguous words that can be easily pronounced and readily understood by those who transmit and receive voice messages by radio or telephone regardless of their native language. Traditionally, all family members' code names start with the same letter.[5]

The codenames change over time for security purposes, but are often publicly known. For security, codenames are generally picked from a list of such 'good' words, but avoiding the use of common words which could likely be intended to mean their normal definitions.

Presidents of the United States and their families

Vice Presidents of the United States and their families

From left to right: President Bill Clinton, codename "Eagle"; Chelsea Clinton, codename "Energy"; Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, codename "Evergreen"; Vice President Al Gore, codename "Sundance".

Political candidates and their spouses

U.S. Secret Service codenames are often given to high-profile political candidates (such as Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates), and their respective families and spouses who are assigned U.S. Secret Service protection. These codenames often differ from those held if they are elected or those from prior periods if they held positions needing codenames.

1968

1976

1980

1984

1988

2004

2008

2012

2016

Government officials

Congressional officials

Other individuals

Queen Elizabeth II, codename "Kittyhawk".

Locations, objects, and places

U.S. Secret Service codenames are not only given to people, they are often given to places, locations and even objects, such as aircraft like Air Force One, and vehicles such as the Presidential State Car.

In fiction

In popular culture, the practice of assigning codenames is often used to provide additional verisimilitude in fictional works about the executive branch, or high-ranking governmental figures.

See also

References

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