Suppose the President was to organize an event in New York City near a bunch of skyscrapers. it's not inconceivable that the President's personal security would want to search the venue and all buildings adjacent to it for anything that could be a threat to the President (ex. a sniper)

Can the President's personal guard search those buildings with neither consent nor any justification other than "it's for the President's safety?"

2 Answers 2


All searches in the US must be reasonable. There is some variation in what is reasonable depending on circumstances, for example premise searches vs. personal searches; cursory vs. in-depth; emergency or not. It is not more, or less, reasonable to search if the ultimate motivation relates to POTUS vs. a banker vs. a child. As you describe it, the search is by definition unreasonable and is legally forbidden. Therefore, the fruit of such a search would not be admissible in court. Still, the guys in the Secret Service are capable of using intimidation, trickery and illegal force to effect an illegal search. A Section 1983 lawsuit would be possible.

However, walking the public halls in an open building does not constitute a "search" in the relevant legal sense. It is not required that law enforcement locate the building owner and request and receive permission to look in the lobby. The line would be drawn at entering parts of a building that are not open to the public.


If the owner gives permission

There’s nothing preventing the Secret Service for asking for access so long as they take “no” for an answer.

  • 2
    But if they don't take "no" for an answer and barge in anyway, and find a bookie joint or a marijuana dispensary, it's all inadmissible. Aug 25, 2022 at 21:42
  • I don't expect the Secret Service to care that much about a marijuana dispensary. inadmissable would only matter if they'd collect evidence, but if they just ignore it then that's the end of it.
    – MSalters
    Aug 26, 2022 at 8:43

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