Fact Check

Clinton's Secret Service Agent Holds Diazepam Pen

Conspiracy theorists have claimed that a Secret Service agent frequently photographed with Hillary Clinton is actually a doctor holding a Diazepam pen.

Published Aug 10, 2016

Hillary Clinton travels with a doctor carrying a Diazepam pen in case she has a seizure.

Conservative corners of the Internet were aflutter in August 2016 over claims that a Secret Service agent frequently spotted standing near Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention was actually a doctor carrying a Diazepam pen in case the presidential nominee had a seizure. While these claims have proliferated quickly across social media, the evidence back them up is flimsy to non-existent.

Author Mike Cernovich was one of the first to raise questions about Clinton's bodyguard when he posted images purportedly showing the agent's "medic badge" on Twitter:

Fringe web sites such as the Ralph Retort the Conservative Treehouse and the Last Refuge have attempted to legitimize the "doctor angle" by asserting that Clinton's attendant might have been identified as Dr. Oladotun Okunola, such as when The Ralph Retort offered a confusing headline — "REPORT: CLINTON’S HANDLER IDENTIFIED as Neurologist Dr. Oladotun Okunola?" — that purposefully misled readers by emphasizing the salacious (but untrue) words "CLINTON'S HANDLER IDENTIFIED" then returning to lower case before inserting a skeptical question mark.

A photographic comparison of Dr. Okunola and Clinton's attendant, however, reveals that they bear little resemblance to each other and are in fact two separate people:


Hillary Clinton's handler is clealy not Dr. Oladotun Okunola, but is he a different doctor being explained away as a Secret Service agent? The evidence here is also pretty flimsy. The only real "evidence" offered for that hypothesis is a photograph of the agent's supposed "medic" lapel pin, but the image is too blurry to positively identify it. However, a side-by-side comparison of the agent's pin and a "medic" pin shows that they are not the same:

lapel pins

The physician assistant pin is round (the agent's pin is not), has a black border (the agent's pin does not) and has a gold emblem in the center (the agent's pin does not). The agent's pin is most likely a red Secret Service pin, similar to the one pictured below:

secret service

Furthermore, the "doctor" accompanying Hillary Clinton does not always wear the pin in question. Secret Service agents sometimes wear matching lapel pins at large events to help identify one another, but those lapel pins are frequently changed:

There can be as many as 10 different types of credentials for events. At the Centennial Olympics in Atlanta — where we supervised 250 event and entertained President Bill Clinton and a host of celebrities from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Muhammad Ali over a 30-day period in the Olympic Village — our extensive security plan included eight credentials ranging from lapel pins for the Secret Service to thermal hand-screening for athletes and employees with access into the residential area of the athletes' village.

The photograph below shows the agent wearing another pin, likely one commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Secret Service in 2015:

secret service pin

Other web sites offered "proof" that the pictured man was not a Secret Service agent by maintaining that the Secret Service do not wear clearance badges:

If he was Secret Service, he wouldn’t be wearing a security clearance like that.

However, both the Democratic National Convention and Republican National Convention were classified as National Special Security Events (NSSE), which require special credentialing:

The USSS’s Major Events Division (MED) is responsible for NSSE planning and coordinates with other USSS headquarters and field offices. Some of the coordination includes advance planning and liaison for venue and air space security, training, communications, and security credentialing.

NSSE operational plans include the use of physical infrastructure security fencing, barricades, special access accreditation badges, K-9 teams, and other security technologies.

Of course, the "smoking gun" to this theory is that the agent has purportedly been pictured carrying a Diazepam pen used to treat seizures:

diazepam pen

Again, this image is too blurry to positively identify the object in the agent's hand. However, a video of the agent using the above-pictured object shows that it is being used like a flashlight and not a Diazepam pen:

Theories about a doctor being planted in the Secret Service to administer Diazepam in case Hillary Clinton has a seizure are based on mostly uninformed speculation about a few blurry photographs but no actual evidence. If some sort of medical cover-up were taking place, it's doubtful that the Secret Service doctor would wear a badge or pin identifying himself as a doctor, or that he would openly carry a Diazepam pen in plain sight.

The Washington Post identified the above-pictured agent as "Secret Service Assistant Special Agent in Charge Todd Madison" but we have not been able to independently verify his identity. We've reached out to the Secret Service for additional information.


Weigel, David.   "Armed with Junk Science and Old Photos, Critics Question #HillarysHealth."     Washington Post.   8 August 2016.

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.