Sundance v. Tumbler, Round One

The following memorandum was leaked to me by a high-level government source:


To: All Employees, United States Secret Service

From: Brian L. Stafford, Director

Re: New Code Names


As Director of the Secret Service, I write to inform you of the decision on Secret Service code names for the 2000 Presidential candidates.

Candidate George W. Bush shall hereafter be referred to as "Tumbler."

Candidate Al Gore shall hereafter be referred to as "Sundance."

As you know, the Secret Service as a matter of general policy makes no official comment on the reasons for code name selection, or the process by which code names are decided. However, I would like to take this opportunity to attempt to clear up some misunderstandings about the issue of code names, and establish a general policy on code name use.

First, I would like to address the decision to use the code name "Tumbler." At first glance, one might think that this would be a code name more appropriately applied to former President Gerald Ford. However, in consultation with longtime Secret Service employees and in checking past files, I have yet found no one in this agency, or even in the federal government at large, who remembers Gerald Ford's code name. It is unclear whether anyone even remembers that Ford was President of the United States. In light of this, I believe the name "Tumbler" can safely be applied to the present candidate.

I would also like to take this opportunity to establish an official policy on the use of alternative code names. In 1992, a renegade cadre of Secret Service employees, in direct contradiction of official Service policy, began to refer to our current President, Eagle, as "Elvis." Apparently, these employees particularly enjoyed saying the phrase "Elvis has left the building" into their wrist microphones. This practice, in addition to creating confusion among protective details, created a climate of mistrust between Eagle and the Service, a mistrust unfortunately exacerbated by the leaking of the lamp-throwing story.

As director of the Secret Service, I would like to ensure that this sort of insubordination does not occur again. Therefore, official action will be taken against any employee who uses any code name other than the officially designated one to refer to the candidates. Particularly harsh action will be taken against anyone who refers to candidate Sundance as "Timber," "Maple," or any other arboristically derived term. The names "Android," "Hal," and their ilk are also expressly prohibited in reference to Sundance. Similarly, any reference to candidate Tumbler as "Shrub," "Junior," or "Preppy" will be acted on accordingly.

It has been brought to my attention that a number of employees have participated in a betting pool in anticipation of the code name decision. I would like to take this opportunity to remind these employees that the use of federal property, including copiers, e-mail accounts and desk chairs, for any sort of gambling activity, is in violation of federal law. Please note that, contrary to rumor, contributions to the federal government investment plan do not fall under the definition of "gambling activity" under federal law.

Any employee who has not yet received training on the correct use of Official Secret Service Code Names may wish to attend the session that will be held next Wednesday at 2:30 in the main auditorium. Topics covered will include code name spelling and pronunciation, as well as the use of code names in the Lotus Notes environment. Due to the department's cost-cutting measures, this training session will be combined with the previously scheduled session on the correct use of the new ergonomic desk chairs. I urge you all to make a special effort to attend this session, as it is truly vital to the mission of the Service.

I appreciate your cooperation in this very important matter.

Noelle Eckley '00 is an environmental science and public policy concentrator in Dunster House. Her column appears on alternate Thursdays.


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