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Old 26-12-14, 16:25   #1
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United States of America PhOtOs-Obama Driver 24, Admits No Security Training +Never Driven a Van

'Here's Me with the President's Plane!': The Carefree Facebook Pictures of an Obama Motorcade Driver, 24, Who Admits She has No Security Training, Had Never Driven a Van Before and was Stunned that Anyone Would 'Trust' her to Drive
  • Graduate student Natalie Tyson, 24, was a volunteer driver for the President's motorcade during a visit to San Francisco on October 10
  • She has spoken about her lack of any training and posted numerous photos to Facebook throughout the day
  • Experts say using young volunteers poses a 'national security risk'
  • The motorcade contains 20 to 30 cars made up of Secret Service, police, an ambulance, White House staff and reporters
  • Two police officers - both on motorcycles - have died participating in motorcades since 2008
Daily Mail UK, 26 December 2014

Graduate student Natalie Tyson, 24 (main), was a volunteer driver for Obama's official motorcade during a visit to San Francisco in October 2014.

Despite being behind the wheel of a van full of 15 political reporters following the President, she admitted to having never driven such a vehicle before, not receiving any serious Secret Service briefing and not knowing what to do in the event of an emergency. Tyson posted several pictures of the October 10 experience to Facebook, with one (left) captioned: 'Me, wondering why anyone would trust me with a 15-passenger van full of reporters.' The Presidential motorcade is made up of between 20 to 30 cars. It has been common practice since the 1980s to use volunteer drivers, but experts say it poses a national security risk.

Snap happy: Tyson, a graduate student, volunteered for the job after being offered it by a friend, and documented the experience with a series of photos on Facebook, such as this one

'You know how sometimes you are starting a new job or starting a new course, and you have to come up with three truths and a lie about yourself? Tyson said

'This will be my truth that sounds like a lie.'

The motorcade is centrally comprised of a Secret Service detail guarding the President, local police as assistance and an ambulance - which remains at the rear with a doctor permanently on board.
However, there are also 'filler' cars in the middle carrying White House personnel, communications staff and reporters, all of whom travel with the president.

Tyson said that one week before President Obama arrived in San Francisco on October 10, a friend who works at the White House texted her asking if she would be willing to drive a van full of reporters as part of the procession.

She told him she had never driven a van, but had driven a pick-up truck. She also said she had a clean driving record, no criminal history and would be willing to take on the job.

A week later she was on the tarmac at San Francisco International Airport waiting for Air Force One to touch down.

When pressed by The Times on how she would handle an incident such as an attack, Tyson admitted she received little-to-no briefing from the Secret Service before getting behind the wheel of the official van.
She said the main warning was not to hit any police motorcycles, usually driven by local officers.

Tyson also said that, in the event of an emergency, she would just follow the car in front of her.
'Whatever I am is good enough for them,' Tyson told the newspaper.

In practice, the President travels in a line of vehicles that is referred to as the 'secure package'.
Secret Service agents are trained to pull the secure package out of the motorcade during an emergency.
They would separate from the group and get the President to safety, leaving the other cars behind.

However, having a novice involved in any part of the motorcade poses serious security issues, according to former Secret Service agent Dan Emmett.

Tyson said she remained committed to her driving and the motorcade throughout the entire day.
But between official visits and press conferences, there was plenty of time to take photos and read her textbook.

One of her photos, showing Tyson standing in front of Obama's official car, was captioned: 'The president's limo! But he wasn't in there yet, that's why they let me take the picture.'
Another, taken of the van's side mirror, was captioned: 'Zoomed through the empty streets. People waved and took my picture but I don't think they realized that I'm just me.'

A shot of some parked police motorcycles said:

'Number one thing they told us was not to hit any motorcycle cops. I mean, among other things.'

A final photo with some Secret Service agents said:

'The secret service was surprisingly nice. One guy had to direct me on backing the van into a parking spot - I don't think he realized his job was going to be so hard when he signed up.'

Afterwards, Tyson had the opportunity to meet Obama and take a quick photo.
She said his hands were 'so soft' and that he told her and some other volunteers they were 'the best drivers in San Francisco'.
'But I think the reporters in my van might say otherwise,' Tyson wrote on Facebook.

Obama was in San Francisco at the time raising campaign money for fellow democrats.

The White House would not comment on the practice of enlisting volunteers for the official motorcade, according to The Times.

A week before Tyson's involvement, a car accompanying the motorcade for Vice President Joe collided with a police motorcycle in San Francisco, causing damage to the bike but not the officer
It is not known whether the car was being driven by a volunteer.
That was not the first incident for a Presidential motorcade.

Killed: Jupiter police officer Bruce St. Laurent, a 20-year veteran of the force, was killed in September 2012 when his motorcycle was struck during President Barack Obama's motorcade

Most recently - in September 2012 - a police officer riding with Obama's convoy in Jupiter, Florida, was killed when his motorcycle was struck while riding with the motorcade.
A look at the history of accidents in the motorcades shows it is predominantly officers on motorcycles that have died.

In this case, the officer - Bruce St. Laurent, a 20-year veteran - was reportedly hit by Ford F-150 pickup.
No further information about the car or driver was released.

Earlier, in February 2008, Dallas police officer Victor Lozada was killed while participating in the motorcade of Hillary Clinton, who at the time was seeking the Democratic nomination for the presidency and was not yet U.S. Secretary of State.

Scene: Dallas officer Victor Lozada was killed when participating in the motorcade of Hillary Clinton in February 2008, when she was seeking Democratic nomination for presidency

Dead: The family of Victor Lozada argued in a 2010 that he should not have taken part in the motorcade because he had not properly finished his motorcycle training

Lozada tried to overtake part of the motorcade, in what officials called a 'leapfrog' maneuver, when he ran into a sidewalk and slammed head-on into a concrete outcropping.
In 2010 Lozada's family sued Clinton and the city of Dallas, saying he was not properly trained to take part in the job.
Lozada's motorcycle trainer, Senior Cpl. Dale Erves, wrote that he did not think Lozada was ready to ride on duty, less than one month before the officer's death.

A January 25, 2008, daily observation report, signed by Lozada and Erves, states that Lozada had made 'so many mistakes' that Erves was scared of how he would perform on-duty.
Lozada had failed that phase of training and needed at least two more weeks of training, the report said.
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