Hey, we’ve got photos. I had pretty much stopped even looking at the slide show page of the new WhiteHouse.gov site, but Marianne and Colten both pointed me to the new stuff, including a great one of the president in his tiny study off the Oval Office.
UPDATE: It’s been 1 day and this link is already broken because the material has been removed. Come on WhiteHouse.gov, get your act togther.
Excellent photo !
Some of those are beautiful. I love this one and this one (because it’s cool to see a tiny TV in the Blue Room).
Ha Ha! I was watching CNN last night and they had these photos on. I was thinking I would try and find them but I looked everywhere BUT the white house site. LOL.
Thanks for posting them Derek. 🙂
I just noticed that study picture as well. I thought there was a door from the office to it? Or was I mistaken?
No Mid America Mom, the door to the study has (for the most part) opened onto the hallway between the Oval Office and the Private Dining Room
According to Washingtonpost.com and their Inside the West Wing floor plan, there is a kitchen near the oval office. Of course their floor plan isn’t as accurate as the ones we have on the white house museum site, but is it true that there is a kitchen, not the dining room, near the OO and is there any pics of it? If there is, it would be great to see the door way either looking into the hall or a shot from the hall that shows its proximity from the OO, just like the recent one of President Obama in his private study.
I’ve read about that too, Steve, but I’ve never seen any picture of a kitchen area off the Oval Office. My guess is that it was turned into the private study decades ago. You can tell from the photo and the WW floor plan that there’s no room for both a study and a kitchen between the Oval Office and the Dining Room. That part of the WaPo diagram seems to be modeled on the pre-Kennedy West Wing.
In the new photo (corbis) of the President’s dining room of of the Oval Office, does it not show an additional door to the right of the fireplace?
Good catch! It looks like there has been a door to the right of the fireplace since the room was made smaller around 1963. However, it’s missing in my floor plan. The new photo shows a slight difference in the layout of the corridor to the Oval Office also, so I’ll try to get Pete to look into correcting that at the same time.
It’s not a kitchen per se, but a small pantry where the President’s steward can pour drinks and set up lunch. I don’t think he can do much cooking in it though.
I seem to recall it had two doors, one leading into the hallway across from the study and one into the main hallway outside the Oval office.
When I worked in the Clinton Administration I sometimes saw the steward coming out from the pantry.
Your floorplan is actually pretty accurate Derek. If you look at the two small “rooms” across from the study, the larger one on the left is the pantry and the smaller one on the right is the President’s bathroom.
Dennis, thank you for the info about the kitchen…or should I say pantry, and mentioning the two small “rooms” across from the President’s study. From the recent pic of President Obama in his private study, along with another pic of President Bush in the OO with the door open to that hall way, you can see there is a slight turn, I assume that slight turn leads to the the Presidents washroom?
In addition to what I just mentioned, there has always been some kind of talk about a room under the Oval Office, but nothing that confirms there is one. Since you mentioned u worked in the WH, is there a room under the Oval Office? If that is a confidential topic, I understand if you can’t comment…I have too much respect for the Presidency and it’s rich history, thought I would at least try. =)
I honestly don’t know anything about a room under the Oval. I always thought the Mess was right below, but based on Derek’s floorplan there does appear to be a few other rooms there.
I think you’re right about the slight turn that leads to the washroom. While I have been in most rooms in the West Wing, I was never lucky enough to be in the hallway that leads to the Study and Dining Room.
I was a WH geek when I worked there too. I gave hundreds of West Wing tours to families of staffers that worked for me. I used to ask questions of the Uniformed Secret Service Agents about the furnishings and layout and they were always very helpful and knowledgable.
Would you agree with Scott Mcclellan that there is not that much foot traffic in the West Wing? It seems that there is no room for most senior staffers to have secretaries, so I would assume that it gets pretty quiet.
I also often wonder what are the little rules that go with working in the West Wing. Who can use the Roosevelt Room as they please? Who is allowed to use the situation room?
Also, in the West Wing they showed a Uniformed Secret Service agent posted nearly every other door. Is that really of full it is in the West Wing? If you shouldn’t answer that, then please don’t.
Thanks for the great insight!
I do agree with Scott. That was the one most dramatic “mistake” in the West Wing tv show. The real West Wing is much smaller and quieter than depicted on the show. Most of the senior staffers do have secretaries. They sit in little nooks and crannies carved out of the offices. These are all accurately depicted in Derek’s floorplan.
As for the rules, I think they begin with rank, the highest being “Assistant to the President.” All senior staffers have this rank. Rank is different than job title. For example, the full title for the press secretary is Press Secretary and Assistant to the President. The same is true for Chief of Staff, National Security Adviser, etc. People with “Assistant” rank can do just about anything in the West Wing, including using the Roosevelt Room for meetings, or giving private tours of the Oval Office.
The next aspect is access. There are two types of badges worn for WH staffers. When I was there there were orange badges, which gave you access to the OEOB, and Blue badges that essentially gave you full access to the White House complex. The first day I had my blue badge I was amazed that I could walk anywhere without someone stopping me, including the Residence (but I never went upstairs). That said, it was understood that you didn’t go somewhere unless you had a reason to be there. For example, not being part of the NSC staff, I had no reason to enter the Situation Room, and never tried to. I was an attorney in the Counsels Office and supported the Office of Presidential Personnel. In this capacity I attended weekly staff meetings in the Roosevelt Room, which was very cool. My first day I didn’t know where to go. I told one of the Uniformed officers I was there for a 10 am meeting, and he ushered me into the Cabinet Room. Within minutes the room filled up with the NSC staff, including the SecDEf and JCS Chief. I soon realized I was in the wrong meeting and quietly slipped out before anyone noticed me.
The Uniformed guards are stationed at each entrance to the WW to check badges. When the POTUS is in the Oval, the room is guarded by agents from his detail. When he leaves the room, the detail moves with him and a uniformed guard takes his place by the hallway door.
Dennis, thanks for the insight you gave from your experience working in the WW. Since you mentioned about the President’s secret service detail and uniformed guards, does someone stand outside the Oval Office door that leads to the portico? If so, is a special agent on his detail or a uniformed guard? Also besides at entrances to the WW, is there more guards at different spots inside the WW and other portions of the WH such as the residence portion?
Do the badges you recieve have the White House logo like you see behind the podium in the press room, and or the Presidential Seal? Is there different badges that senior staffers recieve for Air Force One, Marine One, and Camp David, and do they have the Presidential Seal or images of the place..example Presidential Seal and or image of Air Force One on the badge? Who has access to travel with the President on AF1, Marine One, and Camp David? Thanks!
I must say this is very exciting to have someone with such high-level experience and is willing to share!
Just to add on to Steve’s question, doesn’t the Chief of Staff and National Security Adviser have Secret Service details of their own? And, who is in charge of determining/scheduling who goes with POTUS on Marine One, AF1, the limo?
The COS and NSA both get agent details, but it depends of the security level on that day Yellow, Orange ect. Also on the tv show the West Wing, Leo Mcgarry tells parents of a soldier, that whenever a military operation in underway anywhere in the world, the COS has increased security. Also when CJ Cregg becomes the new COS she has 2 agents living at her own apartment.
Also Colton are you refering to Secret Service on AF1 ect ?
Why would the security level change on a daily basis? And do any other senior assistants automatically receive SS protection?
I assume the POTUS’ detail is with him on all travels. I was wondering who organizes the travels on AF1 etc for senior staff and assistants. They must have to schedule that beforehand with the… military office?
Now that I think about it also, when the POTUS is in the West Wing, how close is the nuclear football?
So many questions. Regarding the Secret Service, I was told that the uniformed offices protect the building, while the agents protect POTUS. When POTUS is in the Oval Office, I believe one of his agents stands outside the french door that leads to the portico and Rose Garden. I know one stands outside the hallway door. When he leaves the office I don’t recall seeing a uniformed guard outside the Rose garden door, but there is one posted outside the hallway door that is left open when the POTUS is not inside.
The badges worn by staff during the Clinton administration did not have any White House logo or insignia on them, as that would make the wearer a target for theft. Also, we were told never to where them outside the WH complex for those reasons. That may have changed during the Bush Administration though, as they look different when I see them on tv.
The WH Military Office coordinates travel on AF1 and Marine One along with the Deputy CoS’s office. I assume there is a manifest for each flight, but I’m not sure on that. I don’t recall there being any different badges, but I can be wrong.
I don’t recall Mack McLarty or Leon Panetta having SS protection when I was there, but I’m sure 9/11 changed everything and they may have agents doing that now.
The President’s Military Aid carries the “football” during travel. I’m not sure where he keeps it when the President is home though.
The ‘Football’ is located in the WH Situation Room whilst the President is in the West Wing. When Potus is in the residence sleeping at night, the football is located in the Operations Center under the East Wing. For all the people who think this info should not be talked about, I have read this theory in 3 books that I own, and have even seen it in a newspaper.
The fine people of the Us Secret Service (the agency that started before the fbi) receives a unknown amount of threats each year. Every and all threat is taken seriously, and is looked into by PID. Each threat can have a 5 year jail term.
The uniform division protects the white house complex, in order for PPD to protect the President. They also assist in Presidential Trips.
One Uniform Division officer is posted in the hall outside the oval, when Potus enters the oval a Special Agent takes over. On the portico there is a Agent always posted there and there is a Uniform division posted on the other end of the portico.
The Usss base there threat levels on recent threats and how credible they are. Also events around the world.
The white house staffers come under the Protection Division of Executive Order, the SS can recommend that a staffer needs protection because of threats against the staffer.
Dennis, you are right, UD Protect the Complex and PPD Protect the Potus.
The WHMO works as a partner with the Secret Service Advance Teams, and the White House office of Advance and travel. ‘No Presidential Trip is Simple’ Inside the Us Secret Service DVD.
If any of you have any questions that you dont want to talk about on a public thread, just let me know.
Dennis, your a rock star on here! =) It really is great to be able to ask questions to someone who has spent a great deal of time inside the WW. Did you ever travel with President Clinton in the motorcade, AF1, Marine One, or at Camp David? Another question I have, I know VPOTUS and FLOTUS get to travel on diffrent planes when they are going about their schedule…all the planes have United States on them… how many planes is there for them, and is AF2 the same type plane used for FLOTUS? Also are the same planes used for the Sec. of State or a high ranking cabinet member when they travel? I’m sure VPOTUS and FLOTUS get as many motorcades and SS details as POTUS does. How many motorcade groups are there for POTUS and so fourth…? Thanks again!
I read some where that President Clinton accidently left some note cards reguarding things about the “football” in a suit coat pocket and it went to the dry cleaners. Is that true, and if so, what was it like to try and change things around?
The presidents suits are cleaned in the WH, was it when he was in or out of office ?
All cabinet members (and often congressional people) travel by Air Force Business Jet (they all say USA of the side). Either in a Gulfstream V or Boeing C-32.
The VP, First Lady, and Secretary of State share the Boeing C-32 (there are more than one), which is smaller than AF1, but still quite fancy.
It can all be found on wikipedia if you do the searching.
Does anyone know if there is an underground parking under the West Wing or North Lawn/Pennsylvania Ave? it seems that there has been a lot of construction going on between the WW and EEOB. I have often wondered about this image:
Can anyone explain?
Dennis, thank you so much for offering insight into the day-to-day workings of the White House. If you don’t mind, I think I’ll post this in the Q&A pages so this discussion doesn’t get lost on the blog.
And James, thank you for your insights too. I have said before that I have no interest in the security measures surrounding the president and don’t include them in the WHM site, but I know plenty of people are interested in the work the USSS does and other aspects of the nation’s security.
No Problem 🙂
Thank you Derek for creating this wonderful website. I have been a fan for several years now and check in a few times a week. Feel free to post my comments anywhere you wish.
James, I honestly don’t know if Clinton was in or out of office when it happened. Maybe use both cases, if he was in office and if he was out of office…what would be done for the situation?
Dennis, I know you mentioned that you had no need to enter the Situation Room, but do you know wether or not there was a special way to enter the room? I don’t mean special as in a secret way, I’m refering to some kind of device where you place your hand on something in order to enter the room. I’m getting this from the tv show The West Wing, where on many occasions you see the COS use their hand on something in order to enter the room.
I don’t recall any device Steve. I know that you needed a higher security clearance than I had to enter the room. There may have been a military (or Uniformed Division) guard at the door with an access list, but I’m just speculating.
Not sure Steve, not my area of expertise, Im only nerd on Secret Service and Security.
Dennis, since you mentioned that with the badge you had, you had access to pretty much the entire WH complex… since you had an interest in the WH, can you tell us what it was like for you and what you were feeling going into The White House on your first day of work there and at different times going into the WH on a daily basis? Even though you mentioned you didn’t go into the main living quarters of the residence portion, did you ever have the urge to just at least go up there for a minute just to see what it was like? Could you have (even if the first family was not there) gone up there real quick to take a peak without getting into too much trouble? I’m with you though, I probably wouldn’t want to do things that could get me into big trouble, but it sure would be tempting.
Also I read that that First Lady Hillary Clinton had her office in the WW, is that true and where was her office? If her offie was in the WW, were her staff in the WW as well and if so, what was used with the space in the east wing?
From what I read in the book on the Situation Room, the north door to the old NSC area had a phone on the wall. When you want access you pick up the phone and the personnel inside make sure that classified files are secure and not out in the open.
The south door to the sit room at the bottom of the stairs near the Navy Mess was shown in a video documentary I have of GWB where you can watch him entering the sit room. An agent accompanies him, walks ahead of him, and makes the call into the room. The door is then opened and the president does not wait at all. He walks right in. No hand scanner was seen in the video.
It was an honor and privilege to work on the White Staff–one that I tried hard not to take for granted. And I’ll tell you, it was the coolest office Christmas party I’ve ever attended. Eating and drinking in the Red and Blue rooms and sitting on the antique furniture was something.
While I was curious about the second floor of the Residence, I never actualy considered visiting it uninvited. I had no business there and certainly no right to go there. To even attempt to do so would have been a violation of trust.
Hillary’s office was on the second floor of the West Wing. I believe it was the one shaded in purple and labled Senior Advisor on Derek’s floorplan. I know Karl Rove had the office during Bush’s first term. I was up there often for meetings in the Counsel’s office, but never actually saw Hillary in her office(although I did run into her around the complex often and she was always gracious and friendly). I believe she had an assitant or two there, but the rest of her staff was in the East Wing.
Dennis and James,
I want to give my sincere Thank You to both of you for the great insight you have shared with us. As you can tell, I am a big fan of the Presidency and things associated with it, like the White House and Secret Service. I am always trying to learn something about them…I guess that’s a big reason why it’s so fascinating to me. There’s a ton of things I still have yet to know, and I think I know a good amount about the Presidency & things associated with it…more than just any Joe Shmoe would. If there were any questions that made either one of you uncomfortable to answer, I want to apologize…and that wasn’t my intent, just wanting to continue to learn more about a passion of mine. If there are any other details you think might help, I’m all ears! =) Thanks again!
Your Welcome Mate, No qustion that u have asked me i have felt it to be uncomfortable, I only answer what is known in books that I have read. In saying that i know much more not found in books, if you need to know anything or have any questions dont be shy to ask me.
James, I do have a few questions about the SS and protection. I know that anyone elected President after 1997 will get SS protection up to 10 yrs from the time they leave office. I assume that goes for the first lady as well? How long do the children get after their parent leaves office? so in the case of the Bush twins now, how much longer do they get SS? How long does the VP get SS protection when they leave office, same goes for their spouse? I assume the spouse of the VP gets her own SS detail as well along with any immeadiate family member..and how long do the VP family members get the protection when the VP leaves office? Do siblings of the President or VP get SS protection..if so, how long after their sibling leaves office do they get the protection? What if the President or VP has grown adult children not living with them, do the adult children get SS protection then? Same goes for certain cabinet or administration members..such as Codi Rice, they get SS protection I’m sure and how long after the President leaves office do they get the protection? Thanks!
Children get protection until they are 16. Bush twins don’t have protection any longer.
Just recently Congress gave the VP 6 months of protection after office.
If the president is in office their children get protection no matter the age, unless they decline.
Cabinet members usually have protection from their own agency’s security force. State department officials are protected by Diplomatic Security. Clinton is special because she is a former first lady, so she has protection from diplomatic security and SS together.
As a SS fan, that’s what I know off the top of my head.
Did Condi Rice have the agency’s security force, or did she actually have SS being that everyone knew she had close ties to the President? If it was SS, do they no longer protect her, or do they protect her for a time period now..and what is that tme period? If it was the agency’s security force, does she still get protection from them or not? If she does, for how long?
U got it right Colton, The Sec of State gets protection by the DSS 3 yrs after they leave their position. Clinton will have 2 agencys protecting her, SS whilst she is at home and the DSS when she is away from her house.
How ever there are olny 4 people in the world that by law have to have full time protection, Potus, Vpotus, Potus elect, Vpotus elect, all others can decline protection. So Clinton can turn down SS protection any time, and be DSS protectee.
Condi Rice has no SS protection today, she may have had some to help with trips, when that happenes they work with Dss.
But SS protects her when a event happens in the world, eg 9/11.
She was the 4th in line for office. So the 5 after Potus and Vpotus may recieve protection by the ss if they wish.
President Clinton will be the last Potus to recieve protection for the rest of his life.
When the first lady leaves office they recieve 10 yrs of Protection.
Siblings of the Vp and Potus get a small amount of protection whilst there other sibling is in office.
If you have anymore questions, dont be shy to ask. 🙂
Follow up, the SS protected her when a event happened in the world, not today.*
James, you mentioned the Sec of State gets up to 3 yrs protection by DSS when they leave office, but yet the VP only gets 6 months of SS protection once they leave offie…? To me, I think the former VP should get a longer amount of protection, SS or DSS, once they leave office…being that VP is 2nd in line.
DSS and Us Secret Service are so much differnt to each other. In views and methods. Once the Sec of State leaves he or she can decide weather to have protection or not. If they do the DSS can decide for how long it all depends on the threats against the protectee. I have read in Newspapers that Rice will recieve 3 yrs, unless she declines during that period of time.
The Vp only gets 6 months as the VP dutys are far more less then Potus. They Vp main job is to have a pulse. They do so much more but when it comes down to it thats there main job. They can recieve more protection if the Directors of Homeland Security, USSS Directors, and the Assistant Director for Protective Operations feels its necessary. If they do they take it to the new president and if he signs off on it they become under the Executive Order Division in the USSS.
But by saying that many formor Secs and Vpotus’s hire private security guards, I know of 4 – 5 formor sec’s that now hire private security guards. They also do this if they want to keep a low profile, say they want to be out of the spotlight of the media. Just think what would you like ‘ Such and Such still has Government Protection and is using your money to pay for it ‘ or
‘ Such and such is now using private security guards and is not wasting your good money on himself ‘.
Thats one of many ways that you can think of itIf you take effence to it, i would just to like to let you know that it wasnt me intention.
Hope that sums it up for you, if not just let me know if you want more detail 🙂 Id be happy to help you.
Please excuse my Grammer, been a long day.
Did Colin Powell get SS protection when he was Sec of State? I know when 9/11 happened he did and probably for a period of time after that, but did it remain with him or did he have DSS protection? Does he have any protection now, and is it SS or DSS or another group? DSS…I think I know the full name, but just to be sure i’m right, please remind me.
Bureau of Diplomatic Security
Yes SS don’t protect the sec of state, unless they need to because of there rank in line for the office. So yes he did get protection by the ss after 9/11.
Hope this helps. 🙂