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'Designated Survivor': The Unlikely Leader Who Would Step In If Government Was Taken Out


Designated Survivor is the upcoming thriller everyone is waiting for this fall TV season.

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The ABC show is about a cabinet secretary who suddenly becomes Commander-in-Chief when the president and all of America’s top brass are blown away.

Kiefer Sutherland plays an obscure cabinet secretary called upon to take over the oval office after tragedy strikes.

It sure seems far-fetched but the position of designated survivor is very real.

Former Secret Service Agent, Johnathan Wackrow once protected President Obama. He told Inside Edition: “The best practice is to take the individual, remove them from the locality and remove them from the state. [Bring them to] The West Coast if the event is in D.C. As far away from the event as possible.”

Before every State Of The Union address, the president appoints a designated survivor to take over in case a catastrophic attack wipes out the government.

Dan Bongino is also a former Secret Service agent, he told IE that the designated survivor “is then relocated and his location or her location” and it is “a Defcon 1 secret.”

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He added: “Not the uncle, not the wife, not the drinking buddy, no one is supposed to know.”

During this year's State Of The Union, President Obama's cabinet was all present with the exception of his “Designated Survivor,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

Former Energy Secretary Bill Richardson knows what it's like. He was the designated survivor during President Bill Clinton's final State Of The Union address in 2000.

Richardson was transported to Oxford, Maryland.

He says it was just like it's depicted in the TV show except, thankfully, his stint as the designated survivor ended without incident.

“I remember having a glass of wine,” he said. “I even had a cigar afterwards.”

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