Tags: shoe | attack | review

Secret Service Reviews Shoe Attack on Bush

Tuesday, 16 Dec 2008 08:15 PM

By Rick Pedraza

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Secret Service officials say they will review the agency's performance during Sunday's shoe attack on President Bush in Iraq to determine whether any changes in procedure are warranted.

The review comes one day after videotape was released showing agents reacting slowly to the assault. Several former Secret Service agents are already weighing in on the incident.

"They will probably make a decision to have more close-in agents, right around the president," former agent Ronald T. Williams tells the Los Angeles Times. "They will make some adjustments, so if a shoe is thrown again, they can intercept it, or at least give the president cover."

Journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi, who is being held by Iraqi security for interrogation, removed and hurled both of his shoes at the president during a press conference in Baghdad with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

"This is a farewell kiss, you dog," al-Zeidi yelled in Arabic as he violently threw his shoes at the president, a grave insult in the Arab world.

"This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq," he said before being wrestled to the ground by Iraqi security guards.

Al-Zeida will face a judge Wednesday and reportedly has been tested for alcohol and drugs, the Associated Press reports. His shoes are being held as evidence.

Videos of the incident show it took more than six seconds for agents to react to the assault, which was shown widely throughout the world. Thousands of Iraqis took to the streets Monday to protest of al-Zeidi’s arrest.

The security lapse is raising eyebrows and concern over protection of the president, who narrowly avoided the attack by ducking quickly.

Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan, however, says the videos show agents quickly moving in to protect the president just out of frame of the video.

"We think the response was appropriate," he tells The Times. "You can see agents reacting after the first shoe was thrown."

Donovan says members of the media pass through several layers of security, but added, "We are our own harshest critics. This will be reviewed to see if there is anything we can do differently. We always strive to make ourselves better as an agency."

Donovan did, however, tell ABC News Monday that "there doesn't appear to be any over-reaction" on the part of Secret Service, confirming that the agents who did react to the assault did not draw their weapons.

"I thought they would have responded after the first shoe," Patrick J. Lennon, another former agent, tells The Times. "Thank God, Bush apparently played a little dodge ball when he was younger. His reflexes are quick. I was proud of him."

White House spokesman Dana Perino, however, was not as quick to react. Appearing Tuesday at a news conference at the White House, Perino sported a black eye from the incident. She joked to reporters that she received “a shoe-venir” after being struck by a microphone when security guards jumped al-Zeidi.

“Hi, everybody,” Perino said during Tuesday’s news conference. “The shoe check-in policy/check-out policy will begin tomorrow.”

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