Source: Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “Sad Breakdown of Best Precautions”
Author(s): Potter, Chester D.
City of publication: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Date of publication: 7 September 1901
Volume number: 116
Issue number: 36
|Potter, Chester D. “Sad Breakdown of Best Precautions.” Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette 7 Sept. 1901 v116n36: p. 3.|
|McKinley assassination (public response: Philadelphia, PA); Secret Service (protecting McKinley); William McKinley; William McKinley (protection); presidents (protection); McKinley assassination (connection with Haymarket bombing); McKinley assassination (opinions, theories, etc.: Secret Service).|
|Grover Cleveland; George B. Cortelyou; Leon Czolgosz [identified as Nieman below]; George F. Foster; Albert Gallaher [misspelled below]; James A. Garfield; Charles J. Guiteau; Samuel R. Ireland; William McKinley; John E. Wilkie.|
|“By Chester D. Potter, Staff Correspondent” (p. 3).|
Sad Breakdown of Best Precautions
Three Secret Service Men Guarded the President. Others on the Way.
PHILADELPHIA, PA., Sept. 6.—Not
since Garfield fell at the hand of Guiteau has the Quaker city felt such horror
as it did this afternoon when the wires flashed the intelligence of the attempted
assassination of President McKinley. Excitement was intense. The principal streets,
especially in the vicinity of the newspaper offices, were dense with people,
men, women and children, passing the messages bulletined.
If the president ever had a premonition of such a fate as has befallen him, it is certain that it was unknown to those who stood closest to him. On all official occasions, and whenever it was possible at other times, Chief Wilkie of the secret service kept the president under the eye of his men. Speaking from personal knowledge, I know that the president was always irritated, if not displeased, at the official espionage.
The president showed his absolute fearlessness on all occasions. He disposed of a story—sensationally exploited a few days before election—that he was to be the victim of an anarchist plot, by driving alone, and with Secretary Cortelyou, not only about the public streets, but across country through woodland and byways.
President McKinley, both before and since his elevation to the presidency, invariably objected to the employment of secret service men during public demonstrations, frequently saying to his intimate friends:
“I have never done any man a wrong, and believe no man will ever do me one.”
Owing to rumors of violence and the activity of anarchists in recent years, unusual precautions have been taken on all occasions of public festivity to guard the president. It has always been customary for members of the secret service of the treasury department to travel with presidents, and Mr. McKinley was under the protection of three en route to and while at Canton. There were with him at Buffalo Agents Foster, Ireland and Gallagher, and another was on his way to Cleveland.
President Cleveland, owing to threats, had sentry boxes placed in the White House grounds, and a force of policemen were detailed for duty there day and night. Several policemen have been constantly on service at the Executive mansion since the first inauguration of President McKinley, but the sentry boxes have been removed and the force reduced.
It is the opinion of the secret service officials that the shooting of the president is an outcropping in some obscure way of the Haymarket riots, and that it will be found eventually that Nieman, the would-be assassin, has some connection with the group of persons associated in the Chicago anarchists riot. The secret service officials are of this opinion because of the name of the man, and the fact that he is probably from the same general section of the country as some of the Haymarket participants.
The secret service bureau had the Paterson (N. J.) group of anarchists very thoroughly under surveillance and are confident that Nieman has no association with these people. Three secret service operatives were in Buffalo about the president at the time of the shooting, and another was on the way to Cleveland.