According to the United States Secret Service's history page, in 1968 -- with the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy -- Congress authorized protection of major presidential and vice presidential candidates and nominees. This is why Romney, although not a president, had security detail assigned to him by the USSS.
When the election was over, however, and a risk assessment was done, the secret service quietly -- and just as quickly -- left him.
At some point, early Wednesday morning, when Gov. Mitt Romney and family were tucked into bed, a quiet call went out on the radio channel used by his Secret Service agents: "Javelin, Jockey details, all posts, discontinue."
Of all the indignities involved in losing a presidential race, none is more stark than the sudden emptiness of your entourage. The Secret Service detail guarding Governor Romney since Feb 1. stood down quickly. He had ridden in a 15-car motorcade to the Intercontinental Hotel in Boston for his concession speech. He rode in a single-car motorcade back across the Charles River to Belmont. His son, Tagg, did the driving.
There is no formal guideline for the Secret Service agents in this situation; it's up to the discretion of the detail leader, who usually consults with the local police to make sure that his protectee's home won't be overrun by protestors and supporters all of a sudden.
But the Service leaves quickly. No more motorcades. No more rope lines. No more bubbles. Familiar faces disappear, never to be seen again.
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