David Carpenter on Secret Service Deputy Director William J. Callahan and recent change in command at Secret Service ~
“It is a good sign. He was actually. . . just been appointed. He was Deputy Director prior to . . . the election. When the former, Joe Clancy, the former Director, retired, or left, he was a natural to keep continue running the agency. That continuity is critical. It’s critical to everything.”
A Ockershausen: This is Our Town. I’m so pleased with our next guest, a man I’ve known for over 30 years. He’s the type of guy that makes you feel real safe. He’s the epitome of security. We invited him to Our Town because he can give us some personal insight on what it takes to have the kind of confidence to be a special agent in charge of the Presidential Protective Division of the US Secret Service.
Dave Carpenter went on to serve as former ambassador and assistant secretary of state and then was hired as vice president of Global Security of PepsiCo. Dave Carpenter, you’re part of Our Town. I’m so glad you decided to come back.
David Carpenter: Andy, I can’t tell you what an honor and a privilege it is to be here. One, it’s great to see you. Two, just to be a part of this is special to me, thank you.
A Ockershausen: Our Town is something that Janice created because we lost track of so many people, like Dave Carpenter. We didn’t know you were back here until Jim Wells, who shall remain anonymous-
David Carpenter: Yes, please.
A Ockershausen: … If we can do that. I don’t know how we do that.
David Carpenter: I beg you.
A Ockershausen: Dave, I found out so much about you. You’re from the Midwest. What happened in your background in growing up that led you to the Secret Service?
David Carpenter: It’s like anybody else, it’s a combination of being in the right place at the right time, a little bit of luck, and some networking with actually friends of my family. I’m originally from Denver, Colorado.
A Ockershausen: Is that were you were born in Denver?
David Carpenter: I was born in St. Louis-
A Ockershausen: Wow.
David Carpenter: … When my parents were there watching a Cardinals baseball game.
A Ockershausen: This is a great story.
David Carpenter: At the seventh inning stretch, my mom decided it was time for me to arrive. They whisk her off to the hospital. I’m now, on my place of birth, is St. Louis, Missouri.
A Ockershausen: What year was that, David?
David Carpenter: 1947.
A Ockershausen: Wow, and the war is over and you’re almost a war baby, but you did miss that.
David Carpenter: Just missed that.
A Ockershausen: Your dad was quite involved in Oklahoma, was he not, with Phillips?
David Carpenter: Yeah, my father was a … Actually, he’s from Arkansas originally. He was-
A Ockershausen: You’re from all over aren’t you?
David Carpenter: We’re from everywhere. They’re still trying to figure out exactly our lineage. He was from Arkansas. He went to a school that had a total of eight boys in the school. They won the state basketball championship three years running.
A Ockershausen: Of Arkansas state?
David Carpenter: In Arkansas, based on, solely on him. First of all he was a big man. He was about six eight. This was in high school. Two, he was just one of those gifted athletes.
A Ockershausen: He could do everything.
David Carpenter: He could do everything. He went on to play for … First of all, he’s in the Arkansas Hall of Fame. He was inducted at the same time with Joe Garagiolo and Bear Bryant.
A Ockershausen: Oh, my.
David Carpenter: Which was a pretty good group to be sitting at the head table with. Went on to play with Phillips 66. Which was the AAU Powerhouse.
A Ockershausen: That was a big deal. Ft. Wayne had a team. They played all over the Midwest.
David Carpenter: Right, Akron, they were … It was a precursor to the pros.
A Ockershausen: That’s right. It was as step up.
David Carpenter: There actually wasn’t … The pros really weren’t existent at that time, certainly not as they know them now. In 1948, they were the AAU Champions. The AAU Champion was designated to represent the US in the Olympics.
A Ockershausen: Is that right in 48?
David Carpenter: In 1948, in London.
A Ockershausen: Did they go to England?
David Carpenter: To London, England. They won the gold medal which I’m now the proud possessor of because my father passed away in 1988.
A Ockershausen: Dave, how did you end up at Oklahoma? Your father’s in Arkansas. Your mother is a beauty queen.
David Carpenter: Yeah, my mom was a . . .
A Ockershausen: He didn’t get any of that.
David Carpenter: I look like my dad. I have my mom’s athletic ability.
A Ockershausen: You’re built like-
David Carpenter: It’s just a little bit embarrassing. I wish it had been the other way.
A Ockershausen: To end up in Missouri, or however you call it, but then you go to school in Oklahoma.
David Carpenter: I went to school in Oklahoma on a basketball scholarship. I grew up in Denver, as I said. When I was a senior we were … We ended up second in the state, in the state tournament. We were the number one rated basketball team in the state. I got a scholarship, full scholarship to go to Oklahoma State.
A Ockershausen: This is in the 60s?
David Carpenter: This was in 1965.
A Ockershausen: Was Hank Iba-
David Carpenter: Hank Iba was on his last … In his last four years at Oklahoma State, while I was there. He was my coach …
A Ockershausen: For the whole time.
David Carpenter: Mr. Iba, as we called him and I will always forever call him.
A Ockershausen: Oh, my he’s a legend in the Midwest, correct?
David Carpenter: Right.
A Ockershausen: The Cowboys then, somewhat de-empathized their basketball and the football came along, correct?
David Carpenter: They did. It was interesting. One of the reasons that I was attracted to Oklahoma State, when I was a senior in high school they were I think the number eighth rated team in the nation and got beat in the NCAA Tournament by UCLA, who had at the time Gail-
A Ockershausen: They were beating everybody.
David Carpenter: They had Gail Goodrich was their big name.
A Ockershausen: Oh, god, yeah.
David Carpenter: They lost-
A Ockershausen: John Wooden was still alive.
David Carpenter: John Wooden was still alive. They beat Oklahoma State on a last second shot by Gail Goodrich. I was attracted there because everybody wants to play for a winner. The next year it was kind of an off year.
Actually the whole time I was there was an off year. We had a good ball club, but we had a couple of unfortunate … We lost a couple of players, one to a little bit of a scandal, another to grades. We just were never able to really realize our full potential.
A Ockershausen: A name pops in my head. Bob Kurland, does that name mean anything.
David Carpenter: Bob Kurland played with my dad in the Olympics in 48.
A Ockershausen: Was he from Oklahoma?
David Carpenter: He was from Oklahoma State.
A Ockershausen: That’s what I thought.
David Carpenter: He was the guy that they started the goaltending.
A Ockershausen: He was a big guy too, what six, ten?
David Carpenter: He was seven feet tall.
A Ockershausen: Wow.
David Carpenter: That’s the reason that goaltending was not allowed. He was the first guy that could actually do it and did it quite often.
A Ockershausen: With Kurland size at six, nine or six, ten, seven feet-
Janice Ockershausen: Seven.
A Ockershausen: Well now he’s seven feet but he had to grow up into it. Almost every other player now in basketball is between six, eight and seven feet. It’s amazing.
David Carpenter: Yeah.
A Ockershausen: A guy that’s five, ten almost is dead in basketball.
David Carpenter: Yeah, no, that’s true.
A Ockershausen: The size and the arms and so forth.
David Carpenter: It was sort of interesting that 48 team was really interesting in that they also had, what was at the time, the first black Olympic, black American to play in the Olympics, a guy by the name of Don Barksdale, to play on a basketball team I should say.
A Ockershausen: Oh, yeah.
David Carpenter: My dad told me a lot of stories that to his day were appalling. Barksdale couldn’t eat with them.
A Ockershausen: It was unbelievable.
David Carpenter: Couldn’t stay in the same hotel. If they walked into a restaurant and they wouldn’t serve Don, then they all left. And, they went to a restaurant that would. It was that sort of a comradery between the players, back in the late 40s.
A Ockershausen: By the time you got in school things had changed dramatically.
David Carpenter: Things had changed a lot, yeah, a lot.
A Ockershausen: Now did you study criminal justice while you were at school?
David Carpenter: No, actually I was a business major.
A Ockershausen: Not a bad idea.
David Carpenter: It was a good idea at the time. I had no idea what I was going to do with it. To that point, I graduated from college and went home to Denver for the summer. During the summers while I was in college I worked at Coors Brewery. One because it was a good place to work and they paid well. Two, it was a brewery, so they treated you pretty well.
A Ockershausen: A wonderful place to work I’m sure.
David Carpenter: A wonderful place to work.
A Ockershausen: It was a family-owned business.
David Carpenter: It was a family-owned business.
A Ockershausen: Beer Coors.
David Carpenter: They actually had signed me, hired me, to be in their personnel department, their HR department. It was a position that wasn’t funded. They said it’ll take us a year before we can bring you on full time. They asked if I’d continue working in the brewery in what was just an awful, awful job until they hired me.
With that, armed with that, I went home and just coincidentally when it was talking to a neighbor of my parents over a cup of coffee, he said, “Are you … Would you be interested in law enforcement?” Is said, “I would.” I said, “Actually, I’d be interested in the Secret Service.”
A Ockershausen: Wow.
David Carpenter: He said, “Well-”
A Ockershausen: That was your first inkling?
David Carpenter: Well I had read on an article on them when I was in college, actually on a basketball trip. It caught my interest, but like everything, when you’re in teens, it was a fancy, passing fancy. He said, “It just so happens the guy that’s an agent in charge of the Denver office is a very good friend of mine and I’ll set you up with an interview, the rest is up to you.”
A Ockershausen: Right, got you in the door.
David Carpenter: He got me in the door. I went down. I hit it off with this guy. About a year and a half later, after they had done a pretty exhaustive background, they hired me and offered me the choice between going to Phoenix, Arizona or LA.
A Ockershausen: Where were you going to get the training?
David Carpenter: Phoenix sounded a lot better. You get it in DC. Everything … I came back-
A Ockershausen: Oh, you came back here then.
David Carpenter: Everybody trains here in DC, all the Secret Service. At the time there’s a training academy was on H Street, downtown here.
A Ockershausen: Oh, god.
David Carpenter: Yeah, that was interesting.
A Ockershausen: Close to the Times Earl Building wasn’t it?
David Carpenter: Very close, yeah, very close.
A Ockershausen: I remember that.
David Carpenter: Right around the corner, and the headquarters was on G Street, as a matter of fact. All your training you did here. Then over the course of time they moved it out to Beltsville, Maryland where their major academy is.
A Ockershausen: Right, that’s a … They do a lot of drills out there.
David Carpenter: Right.
A Ockershausen: I know we see them on local television.
David Carpenter: Right.
A Ockershausen: Then they gave you the choice you could pick Phoenix or Los Angeles.
David Carpenter: Phoenix or LA, I took LA, or excuse me, I took Phoenix just because it was closer and it sounded like a lot more fun, quite frankly. Came back here for … Most of the time I was here.
Most of my time that I was assigned to Phoenix I was actually in Washington DC or traveling because I was single. It was during the 19, in preparation for the 1972 Presidential Campaign. That’s another reason I was lucky enough, when I say timing is everything.
A Ockershausen: Time is oh you’re right.
David Carpenter: In 1968 when Bobby Kennedy was assassinated, nobody was protecting them. Congress ordered that Secret Service, thereafter, would protect presidential candidates. Secret Service only had-
A Ockershausen: It didn’t happen until after 68. I didn’t know that.
David Carpenter: 68, and actually they didn’t start doing it until 72, because they had to hire people. We only had 400, I think 430 agents in 1971. Of course now they have-
A Ockershausen: That’s your first year.
David Carpenter: … Close to 5,000, yeah.
A Ockershausen: You have over 1,000 now.
David Carpenter: 5,000.
Janice Ockershausen: 5,000.
David Carpenter: 5,000, yeah.
A Ockershausen: I can’t believe …
David Carpenter: It’s changed quite a bit.
A Ockershausen: I never realized that. It’s very interesting to talk to you about the beginning. This is in 71. The world had changed then. The service had gotten a lot more duty, correct?
David Carpenter: A lot more.
A Ockershausen: They were doing a lot more things.
David Carpenter: A lot more responsibility.
A Ockershausen: Who was the chief? Was Rowley the chief then?
David Carpenter: James Rowley was the Director of the Secret Service.
A Ockershausen: I remember the name very well.
David Carpenter: He was for my first 10 or 11 years.
A Ockershausen: He was there a long time.
David Carpenter: he was there a long time.
A Ockershausen: He was sort of a local in Our Town. I’d see him in restaurants and bars and everything. He was just one of the guys.
David Carpenter: He was a great man. He was really terrific.
A Ockershausen: He had a great reputation. Congress loved him, I know that.
David Carpenter: Yeah, they did. They did.
A Ockershausen: They respected him. Well we’re talking to Dave Carpenter. We’re going to take a break. You’ve got such a great story it’s going to take you some time to Carpenter. This is Our Town. This is Andy Ockershausen. We’ll be right back.
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A Ockershausen: This is Our Town. This is Andy Ockershausen. I’m chatting with David Carpenter. He’s got such an incredible background. I mean to be born almost at a Cardinal’s baseball game is something else. He’s of course a Cardinals’ fan. I have a great relationship with our Cardinal here in Washington, who is the spokesman for the Pentagon … I mean the-
Janice Ockershausen: Archdioceses.
A Ockershausen: The papals and the archdioceses. I keep telling him he’s not my favorite Cardinal. I say Stan Musial.
David Carpenter: Musial.
A Ockershausen: He says that’s a good choice. I said I’ll take it. You remember Musial?
David Carpenter: He was my … I had the autograph baseball, the first-baseman’s glove.
A Ockershausen: Oh, my gosh, Stan the Man.
David Carpenter: Stan the Man.
A Ockershausen: He’s a local guy from Donora, Pennsylvania, did you know that?
David Carpenter: I did not know that.
A Ockershausen: That’s where he’s from.
David Carpenter: I did not …
A Ockershausen: Not local, but he was almost in Our Town. Dave, we’re talking to you, now you joined the service and you paid your dues, then you were assigned to the White House detail.
David Carpenter: Correct.
A Ockershausen: You were initially an agent in the field, correct?
Carpenter’s First Secret Service Assignment at White House: President Nixon
David Carpenter: I was an agent in the field for three years. As you know, they rotate guys through every three to five years. My name came up. This was during President Nixon’s time. When I first went to the White House it was with President Nixon of which he resigned three weeks later.
I don’t believe I had anything to do with it. Maybe it was a lack of confidence or something on his part. Anyway he was gone one day. We had a new president, the next. I was there during the entire …
A Ockershausen: You went through the whole transition.
David Carpenter: The whole transition to-
A Ockershausen: Through Jerry Ford.
David Carpenter: Through President Ford, then on the transition to President Carter for about two and a half years. Then I was transferred to Los Angeles.
A Ockershausen: The one you avoided initially.
Secret Service Assignment for Presidential Candidate Reagan
David Carpenter: The one I avoided initially, but was a great experience. I’m so glad I had that experience. I was out there about almost five years. During that five years, Ronald Reagan becomes president. Ronald Reagan is campaigning. Ronald Reagan live in-
A Ockershausen: California guy.
David Carpenter: … In California. We were right in the thick of things there. He becomes president.
A Ockershausen: Were you in charge of the office there?
David Carpenter: No, I was just a field agent at the time.
A Ockershausen: You were learning of course in training.
David Carpenter: At that time, this was in 1981, so I had 10 years on the job, and so in 1982 I got transferred back. I got promoted and transferred back to something they call the Dignitary Protection Division, which protects people like Queen Elizabeth-
A Ockershausen: Oh, visitors.
David Carpenter: Saddam Hussein, the chief executive of these countries that come here to visit with our folks.
A Ockershausen: You were not with Reagan when you came, when you initially came back?
David Carpenter: I was not with Reagan. I did a lot of work, a lot of work, for him when he was in LA, advance work to help out with the detail, both prior to him becoming president and after he became president. It came back to Washington.
I was in the charge of the, what they called at the time, the Candidate Nominee Protective Division, which was for the 1988 Presidential Campaign. We had 16 people. People don’t remember that. 16 people running for president. Then when Mr. Bush won, then I was in charge of …
A Ockershausen: HW Bush, right?
Secret Service Promotion to Deputy under President George HW Bush
David Carpenter: HW Bush, when he won, I was in charge of the Inauguration for him. That was just a natural transition for me. Following that, I went to the Intelligence Division. One day I got a call from the agent in charge of the president’s detail saying, “We’d like for you to come over to the detail as the deputy, the number two guy.
A Ockershausen: To learn the ropes.
David Carpenter: … With President Bush, which I jumped at, just a tremendous honor, one that I never expected, I hopefully was deserving of. Got there, and as again timing, luck, to just be in the right spot.
we got a call from the director of the Secret Service who said, “You better … We’d like you to …” My boss and I, “Put together a transition plan if George Bush should lose to Bill Clinton.” At the time, I think Bush’s approval rating was 90%.
A Ockershausen: It was amazing right after the war.
David Carpenter: We though, quite honestly, we probably won’t spend a lot of time on this plan, because it won’t go into effect.
A Ockershausen: Nobody thought that.
David Carpenter: As we got closer to the election, we thought, “Oh, we better get this together real quickly.”
A Ockershausen: Remember the line, “Watch my lips, no new taxes”?
David Carpenter: Yeah, no new taxes, yeah.
A Ockershausen: Wow, they kept playing and playing and playing that. Now in your relationship with the presidents, but they’re different with each one, George Bush is still one of the most gregarious guys around Our Town. George Bush was George Bush. He was a great guy.
President George HW Bush – A Man’s Man
David Carpenter: He was sort of a man’s man, not that the others weren’t, but he was even more so. You could just relate with him very easily, and he with you very easily.
A Ockershausen: That’s why Reagan was different of course and then Clinton was different. They’re all, everybody, all of these people bring different things. Mr. Bush, HW, was such a big part of being around Our Town. He’s a very good … He reminded me of your dad. George Bush was a good athlete.
President George HW Bush – Fabulous Athlete
David Carpenter: Yeah, fabulous athlete, yeah.
A Ockershausen: Great baseball player, he didn’t get any credit for that.
David Carpenter: Yeah.
A Ockershausen: Seriously, he wasn’t with the St. Louis Cardinals.
David Carpenter: Right. He’s a good tennis player.
A Ockershausen: Oh, very good tennis player.
David Carpenter: There was very little, athletically, that he didn’t excel at that …
A Ockershausen: Yeah, he’s jumping out of airplanes.
David Carpenter: I know, I …
A Ockershausen: He’s going to it. He said he was going to do it when he was 95. Barbara said, “No, way.”
David Carpenter: Let’s hope not.
A Ockershausen: He jumps on somebody’s back, you understand that? He doesn’t free fall. Now you’re in the White House. You’re working on the detail. You’re deputy. How did you get to the next job. You pushed the guy out of work of course, Jim Wells.
Secret Service Assignment under President-Elect Clinton
David Carpenter: I went to Arkansas the night of the election, to Little Rock, too with the idea that if the Clintons would win I would pick up the responsibility. I’d be responsible for the security of the president elect.
A Ockershausen: You were on the spot.
David Carpenter: My former boss, who the boss of the presidential detail with Bush, would stay there until the transition was made. We roughly use half of the presidential detail for President Clinton and half for President Bush until the full transi- … Until we homogenized the entire …
A Ockershausen: The logistics must be fabulous.
David Carpenter: It was really, really … It was a challenge, believe me. I was with him for from the night he won until we got to the inauguration. Then I stayed with him for about almost three years after that.
A Ockershausen: Were you on the bus? Didn’t they ride up here on the bus …
Secret Service Assignment under President Clinton
David Carpenter: I came up on the bus. Yeah, I was with him night and day really for the longest time it seemed, for almost three years.
A Ockershausen: You got along with him real well.
David Carpenter: I got along with him real well. Both he and his wife treated me and the other agents like … I stop short of saying family but they treated us like very good friends.
A Ockershausen: You’re so important to the president.
David Carpenter: They understood that. They were very, very good.
A Ockershausen: They didn’t buck the detail then, right?
David Carpenter: No, I mean there’s certain things. I mean, believe me, if you had a bunch of men hanging around you full time violating your space it gets a little annoying. They could tolerate it.
A Ockershausen: You weren’t on the detail that went to Colombia? Of course that was much later, wasn’t it?
David Carpenter: Yes. No, I missed that trip.
A Ockershausen: It could have been.
David Carpenter: Yeah.
A Ockershausen: Dave, now in your relationships and your duties, you could have both a personal and a business relationship with the president, one . . . the other. The president does not control the Secret Service.
David Carpenter: No.
A Ockershausen: He only works with the agent in charge, correct?
David Carpenter: He works with the agent in charge. There’s some give and take. They have their own priorities. They have their own way of doing things. You figure that out. You have to understand that you’ve got to give these …
A Ockershausen: You’ve got to work.
David Carpenter: You’re got to give them as much space as you can without violating or without worrying about them getting hurt or somebody harming them. For the most part, they listened to what the service said. They don’t always like it. I never had a time where they said, “No, we’re not going to do that.” I never had that and would never had-
A Ockershausen: Right, he understood.
David Carpenter: He understood.
President Clinton “was the most happy man I’ve ever seen the night Arkansas won the NCAA.” ~A Ockershausen
A Ockershausen: He was the most happy man I’ve ever seen the night Arkansas won the NCAA. Were you-
David Carpenter: I was there. Yeah, of course, yeah, I was there.
There’s a bust of my dad in the field house there at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. There was one … We, actually we played there when I was in college. We walked in and it was the bust to my father was over the entrance. Some of the other guys on the team were going, “What happened to you?”
A Ockershausen: Take off your head?
David Carpenter: I’m too short. I was too short.
A Ockershausen: Did Nolan, what was it Nolan Richardson was the coach?
David Carpenter: Nolan Richardson was the coach, yeah.
A Ockershausen: That was a big night for Bill Clinton then I remember.
David Carpenter: It was huge. It was huge.
A Ockershausen: … And for the state of Arkansas.
David Carpenter: He was a big fan, still is.
A Ockershausen: That whole basketball operation down there has changed dramatically. They’re not as competitive as they were then.
David Carpenter: No.
A Ockershausen: Nolan was a great coach. I remember watching that Clinton. I’ve never seen anybody as happy as he was.
David Carpenter: He was thrilled.
A Ockershausen: That was his school of course?
David Carpenter: Yeah.
A Ockershausen: Now David, this now has gotten you to the point where you’re four years or five years with Clinton? You didn’t stay the whole eight did you?
David Carpenter: No, I didn’t. I left on my own at my own behest, because you do, you realize, when you’re getting tired, when you’re worn out. It’s exhausting.
A Ockershausen: Oh, it is, I’m sure.
David Carpenter: That work is … It’s pressure packed. It’s exhausting. It takes a hell of a toll on your family. I remember my son saying one day, there was an article in I think it was the Washington Post, but it may have been one of the other periodicals that said that I was there . . . it was about me.
They said that I was there so that I got shot instead of the president. My son said, “This isn’t true is it?” I go, “No, you just can’t believe. You just can’t believe this stuff.” It clearly scared him. It really did frighten him. I just remember talking to my wife that night saying, “You know what Mark said to me today.” She said, “Well it’s up to you. You do what you’ve got to do.”
A Ockershausen: Reagan got shot in 81, but you weren’t there. You weren’t at the White House. You were in LA, California.
David Carpenter: I was in LA. I was still in LA, when . . .
A Ockershausen: If you had been there you had probably protected him that day.
David Carpenter: Yeah.
A Ockershausen: We’re going to give you a medal for that.
David Carpenter: Yeah, we’ll …
A Ockershausen: Now we’ve got you back to the point where you’re retiring from the … You’re leaving the White House. Do you decide to retire?
From Public to the Private Sector
David Carpenter: I actually went to … When I left the White House, I went to the Washington Field Office, which is their biggest, the Secret Service’s biggest office, here in the District, as the agent in charge. I was there for about two and a half years.
Decided I wanted to try my hand in the private sector. Which lasted about two weeks. I was working with a company called Iridium, a Motorola offshoot. I got a call from Madeleine Albright’s office at the State Department, that she would like to see me. I thought, “Geez, what have I done now?”
A Ockershausen: Had you ever worked with her other than seeing her?
David Carpenter: I had worked with her at the White House when she was-
A Ockershausen: You’re working for the president.
Back to Public Service at State Department under then Secretary of State Madaleine Albright
David Carpenter: She was secretary of state during that time. She traveled with us. I knew her. I knew her staff. I knew a lot of her agents, the diplomatic security agents.
A Ockershausen: Were they Secret Service too?
David Carpenter: No, they’re State Department.
A Ockershausen: I got you.
David Carpenter: They’re the State Department’s equivalent of Secret Service.
A Ockershausen: I got you.
David Carpenter: The Secret Service at that time was Treasury. Now they’re Homeland Security. The State Department was State Department. She asked me over and said she wanted to professionalize the organization, that they had never had a law enforcement professional head the agency and would I accept the position of Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security. Which I was thrilled.
A Ockershausen: Oh, absolutely.
David Carpenter: A part of that came the title of Ambassador.
A Ockershausen: Ambassador.
David Carpenter: … As a part of the office-
A Ockershausen: You have to be confirmed for that?
David Carpenter: A Senate confirmation, which takes a while, even under the best circumstances it takes a while.
A Ockershausen: We don’t know how you passed that.
David Carpenter: I don’t know either, but let’s just say I did. While I was in the process of being confirmed, one of the big responsibilities of this position is the security of the American Embassies overseas. Well Al Qaeda had car bombs in both Dar es Salaam and Nairobi and blew up those two Embassies, killed a bunch of Americans, as well as a lot of native folks. They confirmed me in a recess appointment overnight.
A Ockershausen: Yeah, they did . . . needed you in the job.
David Carpenter: Yeah, so off and running we went. I spent over I would say, it’s something in the neighborhood of 250 straight days out of the country.
A Ockershausen: Traveling.
David Carpenter: Traveling, looking at the embassies and trying to set up security.
A Ockershausen: When you were at the White House, did you ever have quarters at the White House or you always lived off campus?
David Carpenter: I always lived away. I should have. There were times when-
A Ockershausen: You could . ..
David Carpenter: There were times when I did sleep in my office to be quite honest-
A Ockershausen: Right, I’m sure.
David Carpenter: Because I knew that the next morning, because with President Clinton certainly, as we all know, he’s a runner. Sometimes he’d like to run very early in the morning.
A Ockershausen: He’s a goer too.
David Carpenter: He could go. He was deceptive. People would say, “Well he can’t … That’s not really … He’s not a real runner.” I said, “Come out there with him sometime.”
A Ockershausen: I believe what you … You know what you’re talking about.
David Carpenter: He can run. He can run.
A Ockershausen: When you’re on the detail and you’re traveling with these embassies, do they provide quarters for you? Are you off campus? How does that work?
David Carpenter: You’re off campus. It depends where you are. Sometimes the Embassies will have … I’d stay with the Ambassador at the Ambassador’s residence or you’d stay at a local hotel or some place near the Embassy.
A Ockershausen: They were all good places of course?
David Carpenter: Well yeah good being relative. There’s some places in this world that are not quite as comfortable as Washington, DC.
A Ockershausen: Well I believe that.
David Carpenter: That’s for sure.
A Ockershausen: David, this is so, so interesting. Now we’ve gotten you detailed out. We want to talk to you about the Secret Service today and what’s going on and what we hear because even though you’re not there you know what’s going on. Dave Carpenter knows it all. This is Our Town with Andy Ockershausen and we’ll be right back.
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Announcer: You’re listening to Our Town with Andy Ockershausen, brought to you by Best Bart Communications.
A Ockershausen: This is Our Town. This is Andy Ockershausen. Dave Carpenter now is out of the service. He’s paid his dues by working for Secretary Albright. He’s traveled the world. He is now retired. He is an eye on the Secret Service in the world. We read so much about it, Dave, that there’s so much going on.
Just today, they announced their new head of the Secret Services, saw it in the Post. He’s an ex-Marine General. I don’t know who’s left in the Marine Corp, because all of them look like they’re working for the White House. Things have changed dramatically since you’re retired.
David Carpenter on Changes at Secret Service
David Carpenter: Things really have. They haven’t changed necessarily for the right reasons. I think there has been a … The perception or a lack of confidence in the job that the Secret Service has, has been doing, based on some very unfortunate events, some of which were controllable, should never have happened.
Others, which aren’t … Weren’t quite as bad as I think they were reported out. At the end of the day, the Secret Service is all … It lives on its reputation. It lives on its integrity.
A Ockershausen: Sterling reputation.
David Carpenter: That reputation and that integrity has been tarnished at best, and hopefully not destroyed. I think there are a lot of people who are looking for something, who love the Secret Service, outside … I’m talking people on Capitol Hill, presidents, past and present, who really appreciate the job that the Secret Service does, that doesn’t want to see that reputation tarnished.
They really don’t. They want to help. I think that in, with the naming of this new, the new Director of the Secret Service from outside the agency, which is unprecedented, never been done before-
A Ockershausen: Is that correct? That’s the first time. I didn’t know that.
David Carpenter: Is the first time. It is an attempt at trying to restore that integrity. I’m sure that the gentlemen who’s coming in, that will be job one is to return them to their reputation that they once held that has been for like I say some unfortunate circumstances has been tarnished.
A Ockershausen: The thing I was interested in in the article is the former, the acting director is staying on as deputy to this new … Which I think is a good sign.
David Carpenter: It is a good sign. He was actually-
A Ockershausen: Continuity.
David Carpenter: He had just been appointed. He was deputy director prior to I think maybe just prior to the election. When the former, Joe Clancy, the former director, retired, or left, he was a natural to keep continue running the agency.
A Ockershausen: That continuity is important, correct?
Continuity at Secret Service is Critical
David Carpenter: That continuity is critical. It’s critical to everything. He’ll stay on because one he’s a very good guy, a good man, knows the agency and will be a tremendous help to the new Director.
A Ockershausen: He’ll help him on the Hill and help him in inter-department relationships. Now I’m sure that the whole thing with the change in the administration that with the Trumps are presenting an entirely different problem than you had with Obama. Obama had some, a lot of people. He had two daughters going in and out of school and so forth. Now it looks like Trump has gotten we the people.
David Carpenter: Yeah.
A Ockershausen: He’s got so many people you’ve got to look out for.
David Carpenter: I think the number of people that … The service has been protecting more people every year, quite frankly since I left the agency. That number just makes it increasingly different, difficult.
A Ockershausen: And, expensive.
David Carpenter: It’s expensive. It’s hard to … One of the things that they’re having a difficulty with now is maintaining people on the roles. They’re quitting and going to other agencies because they don’t have to travel as much. They get paid overtime.
They paid for each hour worked. Secret Service aren’t paid for each hour worked. Their overtime rules and regulations are slightly different. Their attrition has really taken it’s course. I just heard a statistic the other day. Last year they hired 700 people into the Secret Service, but 700 people had left.
A Ockershausen: It’s a wash.
David Carpenter: Yeah, it really . . . it doesn’t increase much at a time when the protective load is increasing exponentially.
A Ockershausen: Now we see and hear all the time about the problems that the services had with the grounds of the White House and protecting the grounds and the presidents. I don’t recall any of the presidents ever being threatened at all on the grounds, but certainly the jumpers and the people we’ve read about … You bring a new thought to our discussion. This is not new.
David Carpenter: No.
A Ockershausen: It’s been going on. It’s not any new attempt to assault anybody.
Fence and Gate Jumpers at the White House – Nothing New
David Carpenter: No, there are the occurrences of with fence jumpers and gate callers and the like is … I won’t say … it’s certainly not a weekly occurrence, but it’s a monthly occurrence where someone for either as a dare will jump the fence and jump back over or actually has intentions of just seeing how far they can get up close to the house, they can get or the most infamous if you will, the gentleman that jumped last … I think it was last year and made it all the way into the house. Then the one that just recently walked around on the grounds for 17 minutes or something like that. Those should not-
A Ockershausen: They had him under surveillance. …
White House Secret Service Agents Demonstrate Discipline Overall
David Carpenter: They knew that they had someone on the property, they just simply couldn’t find him. That was the challenge. One of the things that a lot of my friends ask me, “What’s wrong with the Secret Service? When these people come over the fence why don’t they just shoot them?”
I think sometimes … Trust me, there’s nobody in the Secret Service, on that grounds, that’s afraid to shoot anybody. There’s also a great amount of discipline when you’ve got a weapon. There’s a lot of-
A Ockershausen: They don’t consider . . .
David Carpenter: There’s a lot of shootings going on in this country right now that have caused tremendous outrage of unarmed people. Someone jumps a fence and runs up to the White House, doesn’t have a weapon visible, is not trying to striking out at anybody, the president isn’t there, the first lady’s not there, the kids aren’t there, they’re actually gone, it … Should the door have been locked to keep them from getting in the house? Absolutely, that was a huge mess.
A Ockershausen: We’ve all left doors open from time to time.
David Carpenter: Yeah, this was a case where … That person is no long with the Secret Service that should have locked the door. Let me put it that way. That said, the idea of shooting this, an unarmed, let’s call emotionally, if not mentally deranged veteran, is not one that … I think the discipline that the guys had showed that day is incredible because it would have been easy to shoot him. It would have been very easy to shoot.
A Ockershausen: They had . . . the guys up on the roof had him in his site the whole time.
David Carpenter: They could have shot him. If you look at the photographs you’ll see the guy on the front, on the front porch, had his gun aimed at the guy. He could have shot him. The guy wasn’t posing a threat. The president’s not there. It’s a shoot or don’t shoot. There’s laws in this country that dedicate, dictate that you do that.
Now I have to admit. I was working there in 1976 when a gentleman came over with a huge pipe and striking, trying to hit uniformed officers. We locked the front door. The president was in the house. The uniformed officer on the front porch of the White House shot and killed the guy. That was … There was a public outcry at that. How dare you shoot this poor guy? It was just a pipe. This guy was mentally off.
A Ockershausen: It was a threat.
David Carpenter: He was a threat to the safety of the officers out there.
A Ockershausen: Now we grew up, I grew up here at WMAL. I had never heard that story. It must have happened. I’m sure there was publicity. We didn’t make a big thing of it as a broadcast company. The thing I said to you initially, Dave, is that everything that’s happened in America or the world now, somebody in the area has got a telephone because they’ve got a phone with a camera in it.
David Carpenter: Right.
A Ockershausen: I think its changed the whole dynamics of a lot of … Law enforcement for one thing, people are now being watched.
David Carpenter: No question about it. Law enforcement, not unlike medicine, is not a black and white situation. There’s a lot of judgment involved in it. Sometimes the angle that these things are portrayed belies what actually happens there.
A Ockershausen: Correct.
David Carpenter: The thing that I’m most impressed with is most law enforcement agencies, if not all, are not afraid to go to these cameras on their officers to prove their innocence. This is a tough job. The more information versus an eye witness testimony, or a camera elsewhere somewhat some distance away from an actual incident, on the officer, I think helps law enforcement. Law enforcement isn’t trying to hide anything. They’re not out there to shoot innocent people or harm anyone. Sometimes it happens.
A Ockershausen: Happen is right.
David Carpenter: It’s certainly not by design.
A Ockershausen: It certainly doesn’t happen with the Secret Service. The original intent of the Secret Service was protect. It didn’t say that to shoot people to protect. Whatever happened to the Forgery Division? Did you ever work in that?
David Carpenter: Yeah, they’re still going strong. Now it’s the Financial Crimes that they call it because with all the credit card theft and all of that, it’s a-
A Ockershausen: It comes under Secret Service?
David Carpenter: It’s still comes under the Secret Service under Homeland Security. Now Treasury, it all started with Treasury. Then now it’s all come under Homeland Security.
A Ockershausen: The Secret Service used to be under the Secretary of the Treasury right?
David Carpenter: It used to be under the Secretary of Treasury, yeah.
A Ockershausen: Now it’s under Homeland.
David Carpenter: Right. That’s a new-
A Ockershausen: David, it’s amazing what a wonderful career you’re had and how you brought it to the table. Do you have a group? Do you consult with the Bureau at all? Do you have a group that you bring your knowledge to? Do they call you in as a teacher or an instructor?
David Carpenter on Private Sector Experience at PepsiCo
David Carpenter: I haven’t done anything formally because once I left, well the Secret Service, and then went to State Department, and did that, and then went to Pepsi for 13-
A Ockershausen: I forget to tell you that.
David Carpenter: For 13 years I was there.
A Ockershausen: That was a fabulous job.
David Carpenter: That was a fabulous job. There was an opportunity because I was a part of a lot of different affiliations within Pepsi and the law enforcement community, the private sector law enforcement.
A Ockershausen: That was a worldwide job too?
David Carpenter: That was a worldwide job too. You end up speaking publicly on a lot of different forums on security enhancements and what’s appropriate and not appropriate. It’s a very-
A Ockershausen: Boy, you’re experienced.
David Carpenter: It was an interesting … That was an interesting change.
A Ockershausen: It’s a wonder they don’t call you back.
David Carpenter: Well it’s funny Andy. I’ve had some calls. I’ve actually done a couple of things. I am so enjoying now time with my friends, family, former colleagues, and just-
A Ockershausen: You came back to Our Town in some way. You didn’t move back to Our Town. You’re up at …
David Carpenter: I’m in Annapolis.
A Ockershausen: Annapolis.
David Carpenter: I’ve always loved Annapolis. I’ve lived there some years ago.
A Ockershausen: You on Severn too aren’t you?
David Carpenter: I was on the Severn, yeah.
A Ockershausen: That’s heaven.
David Carpenter: It’s spectacular. It’s good for me. It’s good for my family. It’s good for my … I’ve got all my friends want to come out now. Some of the friends I’d thought I’d never see again. They’re quick to show up. They get on the boat.
A Ockershausen: I’m sure Wells was on the first boat. He brings Alberi with him.
David Carpenter: He couldn’t wait to get there.
A Ockershausen: David, you’re career has been so fabulous, and the years with Pepsi. Did you go to Russia? Don Kendall put Pepsi-Cola in Russia. How many, 50 years ago I guess?
David Carpenter: Yeah.
A Ockershausen: He’s the first one.
David Carpenter: The first one, he’s still there. I’ve been to Russia a number of times with Pepsi actually. I’ve been there with, obviously with the president …
A Ockershausen: Is it still big in Europe, Pepsi?
David Carpenter: Yeah, Pepsi is big in Europe. Coke is, as you can imagine, still a challenge.
A Ockershausen: Right, always.
David Carpenter: They’re out there.
A Ockershausen: Good competition.
David Carpenter: Pepsi is if you … They’re just doing fan- … It’s one of the best corporations. I’m comparing notes with my security, former security guys, just the best corporation out there. They really … They take …
A Ockershausen: Take care of their people.
David Carpenter: Take care of their people. A lot of companies say people first, but I think they really mean it. The CEO certainly, both CEOs that I worked for, did. Don Kendall’s still, he’s still …
A Ockershausen: He’s got to be in his 90s.
David Carpenter: He’s in his 90s. He’s up in Montana I believe, retired.
A Ockershausen: I remember when they opened up Russia. They’d beat Coke there.
David Carpenter: Yeah.
A Ockershausen: I guess the sweetness and stuff everybody loved. I will tell you David, you’re a delight to have back in Our Town. I hope that you will see more of you. I hope you will remember to come to our special opening for our second season.
You’ll see a lot of names of people that you may know or may not know. The whole idea is to get everybody together to get Our Town and say thank you. We’ll have a wonderful evening together. We’ll even bring Jim Wells.
David Carpenter: I thank you for that. That’s very nice of you. I appreciate the opportunity to come down to see you and just to exchange some thoughts.
A Ockershausen: David, you’re a fountain of information. We could do this for a couple of hours. We can’t because we’re busy.
David Carpenter: I understand. I understand.
A Ockershausen: Being a cow, ex-cowboy, you’re in good hands here with All State. Let me tell you. With PepsiCo you’re . . . Twice as much for a nickel too, Pepsi-Cola is the drink for you.
David Carpenter: Drink for you, yeah.
A Ockershausen: That’s what I grew up with. How about that in Oklahoma, 10, two, and four, Dr. Pepper?
David Carpenter: Dr. Pepper in Oklahoma, believe me, yeah.
A Ockershausen: Dave, thank you so much. Dave Carpenter and the Secret Service, we love what you guys have done. Thank you, that you protect us. We certainly look forward to many more years of Secret Service. You’ve shed some good light on what we live with in Our Town. Dave, thank you. This is Andy Ockershausen. This is Our Town. We’ll be back.
Annuoncer: You’ve been listening to Our Town, Season 2, presented by GEICO, our hometown favorite, with your host Andy Ockershausen. New Our Town episodes are released each Tuesday and Thursday. Drop us a line with your comments or suggestions.
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