To the world, he is known as U.S. President-Elect Barack Obama. To the Secret Service charged with protecting his every move, he is referred to by the code name, Renegade.
Officials at the White House Communications Agency on Monday released their code names for the entire incoming First Family. Michelle Obama is tagged Renaissance, 10-year-old Malia is Radiance, and Sasha, 7, is Rosebud.
Vice President-elect Joe Biden’s security name is “Celtic,” according to reports.
White House officials would not comment on the selection process. In a previous news report, however, an agency spokesman said the names are assigned by “sheer whim.”
The Washington Post quoted a Secret Service spokesman who said all code names are chosen by military officials, suggesting that they should not be examined too closely for deeper meaning.
These days, code names have little to do with actual safety; instead they play a more ceremonial and logistical role, letting agents bark easily understood directions into their sleeves as a protectee is moving from location to location. Now the military and Secret Service can communicate over highly secured lines, making a code name irrelevant. Still, habit lives on.