In the pilot-episode (S01E01) of "Designated Survivor"; just after the explosion, Tom Kirkman's Secret Service agent tells him to get off the phone immediately and demands he hands over his "Government issue Black-Berry". The phone of his wife Alex is taken right out of her hand, and she's asked if she got any other "electronic devices".

Why was this done?

Of course, I can make several educated guesses as to why - not secure communication, ability to track their location (as was later done to the Kirkmans son), the possibility of using it for surveillance (bugging sound, maybe even picture), it could've been tampered with prior - or simply to keep them incommunicado for some reason (not to get false(?) information, not give-up his location or status as DS)... Are there other reasons? What would the main reason be?

Is this some standard procedure (well, "planned" is perhaps a better fit) if something like this should happen? Or was this more the agent showing initiative (or being a bit paranoid)?

  • 5
    Your assumptions are pretty much spot on. Secure communications would be the primary reason. You have a single authority point now on an unsecured device and you don't want anyone tracking or monitoring those comms. We have no way of knowing what "standard procedure" might be in real life since those details are never discussed by the Secret Service...for obvious reasons.
    – Paulie_D
    Oct 10, 2017 at 15:08
  • Common sense says it must be part of the mind games strategy because the lesser the people communicating the lesser the scope for miscommunication, the spread of rumors but most importantly, involuntarily communicating to the terrorists or the perpetrators of the incident as to how the government officials are reacting to the incident. Feb 28, 2018 at 3:55

1 Answer 1


It was most likely because of location tracking but also could have been fitted with a special uploader for monitoring conversations like texts or even phone calls.

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