WHO'S WHO IN THE SECRET SERVICE: HISTORY'S MOST RENOWNED AGENTS

WHO'S WHO IN THE SECRET SERVICE: HISTORY'S MOST RENOWNED AGENTS
WHO'S WHO IN THE SECRET SERVICE: HISTORY'S MOST RENOWNED AGENTS coming 2018

Monday, December 5, 2011

"WITHIN ARM'S LENGTH" by Dan Emmett: A Literary Triumph- The Best Book on the Secret Service ; Available From iUniverse Publications In late January 2012

"WITHIN ARM'S LENGTH" by Dan Emmett: A Literary Triumph- The Best Book on the Secret Service ; Available From iUniverse Publications In late January 2012- Book Review by Vince Palamara:

Former Secret Service agent Dan Emmett, author of “Within Arm’s Length”, is to be commended on putting together a refreshing take on a well-worn subject as of late: the United States Secret Service. While many of the books written by former agents are ghost-written, dry, dull, and are often dated, Emmett’s is exciting, never boring, compelling, and employed no co-author or ghost-writer; this work is solely his own. After the recent debacle of best-selling author Ronald Kessler’s dubious tome “In The President's Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect", a book that seemingly betrayed the trust of the agents, past and present, that the author took into his confidence, littering the literary landscape with dubious tawdry tales of presidential sex, alleged agency incompetence, or worse, Emmett’s book will be embraced by scholars, the public and, perhaps most important of all, his colleagues.

Someone needed to take up the mantle and do away with all the controversy, poor writing, myopic outlook, and compromising information out there on the Secret Service and write a book the agency would be proud of AND that would also appeal to the lay public, as well. Dan Emmett took up the quest and succeeded admirably. In short, “Within Arm’s Length” is the antidote to Kessler, McCarthy, and all the silly and overwrought books and television specials that violate the agency’s code of being Worthy of Trust and Confidence. If there was a literary Medal of Valor the Secret Service could award Emmett for his book, they should hold the ceremony tomorrow. Emmett’s book truly reads like he had this epiphany: "I have had enough with Kessler, the hero worship, the gossip, the untruths, and all the crap---here is the TRUE story of an agent without the junk... and no compromising information, dammit!" Mission accomplished.

In short, Dan Emmett provides the reader with the nuts and bolts without giving away the game, so to speak.

“Within Arm’s Length” grabs the reader from the very first sentence and doesn’t ever let up. Beginning with a fascinating Preface about an experience he had while protecting Senator Edward Kennedy, Emmett cleverly starts the reader off properly on his journey (and ours), leading to catalysts for his eventual career in the Secret Service such as his upbringing in a good home with a strong work ethic, the powerful and world-changing events of November 22, 1963, and, in that regard, the heroic actions of Secret Service Agent Clint Hill on that terrible day in our Nation’s history. After a brief look at his college years, a very compelling and memorable overview of his career in the United States Marine Corps, which led him to become a proud officer, is powerfully rendered. The reader will already find himself impressed with Emmett’s strength of character and abilities, long before he was an actual Secret Service employee.

Another catalyst, in the form of the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan on March 30, 1981, further cements Emmett’s resolve to satisfy his childhood goal of becoming a bona fide Secret Service agent. Ironically, it was another agency veteran of 11/22/63, Jerry Kivett (interviewed by this reviewer), a colleague of Clint Hill, who gave Emmett his formal start in the Secret Service on 5/16/83 (other long-time agents involved in Emmett’s formative agency beginnings were Grady Askew, a long time veteran of the Atlanta Field Office, and Frank Hancock, another veteran agent who famously guarded the JFK limousine the day after the assassination). Emmett describes his life as a rookie agent in the Charlotte, NC field office, as well as his Secret Service training in firearms, follow-up vehicle maneuvers, and so forth at the James J Rowley Training Center in Beltsville, MD (in another irony, Rowley was the Secret Service Chief at the time of the Kennedy assassination).


After getting a taste of presidential security as a post stander at an Atlanta event for President Reagan in the Fall of 1983, Emmett discovers a desire to become a member of “one of the most elite counter terrorist units in the world”: a United States Counter Assault Team (CAT) agent. While waiting for that dream to be fulfilled, Dan joins the team that guards Senator Edward Kennedy in 1984 and, ultimately (and against his true desires), becomes a member of the New York Field Office in 1986, “a bottomless black hole of despair that knows no limits”, as one fellow agent so aptly depicted it. Dan provides an excellent description of the drive into New York, the World Trade Center complex (made infamous by the cataclysmic events of 9/11/01), and life in this agency outpost, as well. In addition, Emmett ‘s superior description of life as a ‘street agent’ in New York is superb, including a heart-stopping close call he had coming within mere seconds of shooting a young suspect.

The New York Field Office agents, despite their drudgery, were well respected members of the agency who much preferred the investigation side of the Service (counterfeiters, credit card thieves, and check forgers) than the protection side, which was king and the most important aspect the Service is known for, to which they often performed security functions for the President of the United States (POTUS) and the UN General Assembly, with the many foreign heads of state involved with it. While doing an exemplary job there, Emmett still yearned to be a member of CAT, a dream which was ultimately fulfilled in 1989. But, first, CAT school beckoned in 1988.

With regard to CAT, as Emmett so aptly put it, “weapons proficiency was everything.” In this regard, with his superior training in the Marines, Emmett had a leg up and was well suited to this schooling. Interestingly, one of his CAT classmates was future colleague Joe Clancy, the SAIC of the Presidential Protective Division (PPD) for President Obama. Along with his aforementioned Marine Corps background, one becomes very impressed and humbled with Emmett’s training and abilities in CAT.

After a trip back to the NY Field Office in the Spring of 1989, Emmett saw his CAT team dreams realized in August of that same year, protecting President George H.W. Bush (Bush 41). Along the way, Emmett provides an exemplary description of CAT, including its humble beginnings and agency resistance to change. Only someone who has walked in those giant shoes could have so accurately and compellingly portrayed the inner workings of this elite unit and the culture of the Service during that time.

A riveting tale of the CAT team’s protection of President Clinton in Korea in 1993 at the “Bridge of No Return”---involving a close call with North Koreans---is breathlessly portrayed to stunning effect. Once again, we see the appearance of CAT school classmate, command post agent, and “good friend” Joe Clancy in the story. There follows a good description of the merging of CAT and PPD, as well as the training they took together, in addition to CAT missions with Vice President Dan Quayle in Haiti and the Phillippines. Throughout the book, Dan is honest and forthright without ever becoming petty or revealing too much. He keeps the lay reader interested and shows proper respect to his former colleagues by his respectful portrayal.

Chapter 9 is the tale of Dan’s meeting of fellow agent Donnelle in 1988, to whom he married in 1990. It is touching, honest, not overwrought, and to the point. In short, it merely adds to the power of the book. Only a woman who was a fellow agent herself (former deputy sheriff and a 21-year veteran of the Service) could begin to understand the long separations and all that encompassed being a member of the elite CAT/ PPD nexus. One can only continue to admire Dan’s “career choices”!

Chapter 10, “Human Shields and Operant Conditioning”, is another outstanding look at what it takes to become a Secret Service agent and all that it entails. Emmett provides an excellent historical summary of the attempts on Presidents Ford and Reagan; specifically, the valor of agent’s Larry Beundorf and Jerry Parr (events that happened while Emmett was a member of the Marine Corps and no doubt led him further along his Secret Service career dream). The training of the agents truly becomes a muscle memory, as these courageous examples duly depict. Like the other chapters in the book, Dan is careful not to be too long-winded or clinical; he makes his points then he covers and evacuates, to use agency vernacular. Well done.

Emmett was a member of CAT for four years, the last 18 months of which were spent as a section of PPD. It was in the Old Executive Office Building in June of 1993 that Emmett had a meeting with Clinton PPD ASAIC’s Pete Dowling and Tommy Farrell which culminated with Dan becoming a member of the PPD working shift (Dowling, by the way, was one of the agents depicted in and betrayed by Kessler’s book, but this author digresses). It was at W-16, the command post in the West Wing of the White House, where Dan was reunited with former CAT team members Tony Meeks and the aforementioned Joe Clancy (Jim Knodell was the senior agent on the shift, officially known as the shift”whip”).

From here, Emmett convincingly and impressively portrays the push and pull he and the agents had with Clinton’s White House staff, non- agency personnel who typically put protection on the back burner of their collective agendas. Trips to Jordan and Israel with President Clinton are duly noted, as is the chore of covering the media who were tasked with covering the president in their own right and who, like the president’s staff, had THEIR own agendas, as well. As with magnetometer coverage and the need to have a “hospital agent”, the events of 3/30/81 led the agency to invoke the use of (as Emmett describes) the “press agent”, a duty he once nobly fulfilled. What would be a scurrilous or clinical telling in some other author’s book becomes fascinating in Emmett’s.

A terrific section (aren’t they all?) follows describing the “journalistic media”---those that seek to cover the Secret Service, often to ill effect. Dan describes with riveting prose the “irresponsibly detailed documentaries” from Joan Lunden, the History Channel, National Geographic, and the Discovery Channel. His verdict? Guilty…of misrepresenting the agency and potentially doing harm to the working agents and protectees. This reviewer could not agree more. Another section of the book that Director Sullivan, yet another official betrayed by Kessler, would do well to read multiple times before agreeing to get involved in another “tell-all” ‘documentary (or book) again.


There are some light-hearted and funny moments along the way (the book isn’t all guns and glory, you know), and, in that regard, the section on being “relieved” and helping to “secure” the restroom for President Clinton is top notch, indeed. These segments of the book remind us all that, in the final analysis, in spite of their superior training and stamina, these agents ARE merely human like the rest of us. Sometimes the bridge between being and agent and being human (“normal”) is a slippery slope, indeed, so to speak. It is these human interest vignettes that are essential components to making this book so readable, compelling, and fascinating. Otherwise, what could become a great book would digress into a mere training volume. It is truly amazing that Dan is a first time author- he has the skill of a full time, lunch pail novelist or true crime author.

Emmett then regales the reader with the “not-so-exotic foreign travel” that the agents experienced, stating that, with the different shifts, the hours, the jet lag, and the fatigue, “Budapest could have been Cleveland.” With regard to the president’s trips to various foreign lands, Emmett provides a detailed portrayal of yet another heart-stopping moment that occurred in Switzerland that involved the Syrians and their meeting with President Clinton. Dan’s training, skill and resolve are in full expanse here; there is a reason, after all, that Shift Leader Bob Byers picked him to handle this delicate situation.

Dan provides an excellent history of presidential travel, Air Force One, and Marine One, Emmett having experienced his first presidential helicopter and airplane travels in the Summer of 1993 with Clinton. You truly feel like you are there with Dan as he describes what life is like as a working agent on a shift. Dan also ably details the Service’s use of various cargo planes that carried the various limousines and personnel at home and abroad, including the curious habit of agents who brought home various foreign treasures and sundry items. Again, these men were human and had lives away from protecting the leader of the free world.

In a section titled “Running With The President”, Emmett describes just how much fitness and being in shape became a requirement of the agents who protected Clinton, as compared to prior, older presidents who often resorted to golf and other lesser exertions (CAT had to augment PPD). “There was no such thing as an uneventful run with Bill Clinton”, Emmett states, and he would know: he ran with the president a lot in the Winter of 1993 as a CAT agent and then in the Summer of 1993 as a member of PPD. Emmett and the aforementioned Meeks and Clancy, as well as another agent, Roland McCamis, ran with Clinton. This is truly fascinating reading.

Dan makes note of the unofficial collateral duty of the Service: taking blame for things it is not responsible for (i.e. the staff was actually to blame). It is here, and elsewhere, that one truly gets the impression of what a thankless job being a working agent of the Secret Service can become. The line between politics and protection is sometimes a balancing act of dubious scope; Emmett succeeds admirably in his honest depiction of what the agents had to handle.

In another irony, it was former Reagan PPD agent Danny Spriggs, one of the heroes of 3/30/81 that so inspired Emmett, that informed Dan that he would be joining the Transportation Section of the Service, thus having the duty of driving President Clinton. Agent Emmett ended up driving the president scores of times, in the United States and abroad, and has some interesting anecdotes to share, including his very first time driving the president.

After 5 years of constant travel and no true days off, Emmett, as was customary of the vast majority of the working shift agents, began to feel the strain and requested a transfer out of PPD, which became a reality in the Fall of 1994. Emmett then began another interesting and important part of his career in the agency, perhaps most important and far reaching of all, when he joined the Special Agent Training Education Division (SATED), thus being in a position to share his wealth of knowledge and experience and help shape the next generation of special agents, a task he performed with relish and vigor, leading by example, until 2003. All told, Dan spent nine years in training, helping to lead nearly 2000 men and women, many of whom were hired in record numbers as a result of the tragic events of 9/11/01, on to bright careers as agents and leaders of men. In fact, Dan even trained Ben Stafford, the son of former Director Brian Stafford!

After receiving a well-earned promotion (a GS14: ATSAIC in the Division of Training), not very long after, Dan received a reassignment back to PPD as one of two supervisors in charge of CAT. It was in November of 2003 when Emmett reported back to PPD and CAT as an agent protecting his third sitting president, George W Bush. It was Dan’s first day back at PPD, during a meeting with SAIC of PPD Eddie Marinzel, that Emmett was reunited with a veritable who’s who of the best agents in protection- men who started the job with him way back in 1983 (most were, like him, former CAT and PPD shift mates). That said, Dan’s new job was essentially administrative- he was one of two ATSAICs (Assistant to the Special Agent in Charge/ Shift Leader) in the CAT program in charge of 6 of the 12 teams. In essence, Dan was managing, not leading, which he loved to do and had great skill at doing.

Since this newfound position seemed to entail a never-ending series of meetings, Emmett felt the inner voice to retire, which he did, in April 2004, after accepting an offer from the CIA, yet another impressive chapter of his life (which, he says, he will leave for another day). It was on 5/16/04, 21 years to the day that he became an agent, that Dan officially retired during a small ceremony at the Executive Office Building. The reader is left impressed and in awe of Emmett’s illustrious career.

The book ends with an important Epilogue and Afterword, as well as 3 fascinating and useful Appendixes: Myths and Truths about the Secret Service, A Brief History of the Secret Service, and a Glossary of Terms.

In short, "WITHIN ARM'S LENGTH" is, without question, the best book ever written about the Secret Service: current, well-written, classy, very informative, but, most importantly, does not indulge in hero worship of presidents or reveal "inside secrets" or other compromising details. In short, "WITHIN ARM'S LENGTH" makes you feel like you are THERE! Emmett is a great guy with an impressive background who truly represents the valor of the Secret Service. Emmett has given a blueprint for all agents---past, present, and future---to follow and admire. Worthy of Trust & Confidence indeed! Dan Emmett is an example of a great American.”

Vince Palamara, literary Secret Service expert (History Channel, C-SPAN, ARRB Government Report, and quoted in over 60 related books)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Remarks to the Secret Service and Presentation of an Award to James J. Rowley, November 23, 1968

Remarks to the Secret Service and Presentation of an Award to James J. Rowley, November 23, 1968



Lyndon B. Johnson
1968-69: Book II

Location:

District of Columbia
Washington


The American Presidency Project

Mr. Secretary, Director Rowley, members of the Secret Service, ladies and gentlemen:
I asked you to take a few moments this morning to come out here so I could say something to you that I have thought for 8 years and have rarely expressed.

That is the feeling that the President and the members of his family have, for their associates under the laws of the United States--the Secret Service.

President Harry Truman once said that the Secret Service is the only boss the President really has. I think he meant in addition to Mrs. Truman.

But I think all the Presidents that have worked with the Secret Service have shared that same feeling. Implicit in that statement is the great respect that we all have for the quality and the character and the dedicated service that this particular breed of men brings to their country and to the Presidency.

For more than 8 years now my life and the life of my family have been entrusted to you. I have never made a secret of my admiration for you. But the means by which you protect the President and his family, and the Nation's highest officials, are something I think that the country doesn't fully recognize or appreciate. Your protection is given by preparation and weary, backbreaking hours of hard work. I have seen it all around the world. There is no greater testimony to your efficiency than the recent trip we took when we were in the air 59 hours and on the ground 53 hours, and conferred with more than a dozen heads of state in that many countries.

Several of those men speaking for those countries said to me, "Mr. President, what an extraordinary group of men accompany you."

As long as I live I am going to have a very special memory of this extraordinary group of men and a sentimental, affectionate feeling for each of them.

This may be a surprise to most of you because I don't express that sentiment through the days. I know that sometimes you are surprised at the way I react to your orders and sometimes I am surprised at the way you react to mine.

I will never forget that day in Dallas when a great big, husky roughneck from Georgia threw 185 pounds of human weight on me, and said, "down." And there wasn't any place to go but down because he was on top of me.
His life was being offered to protect mine.

At least he thought so.

I will never forget the daily knowledge that my wife and my family--no matter how frequently they are drawn into public--were protected by the finest professionals in the world. And if there is anyone that we love outside of our family, it is the Secret Service.

Mrs. Johnson said to me just this week that one thing she was blessed with that other mothers weren't blessed with was that Luci and Lynda had, in the absence of their husbands, in their general vicinity, the finest protective care that this Nation could produce.

A lot of things you have had to live through with me. If I could rewrite them, I would change a lot of them because I have abused you, I have criticized you, I have been inconsiderate of you, and all of those things that you know better than I do.

I have spent more of my time telling you what you did wrong than what you have done right. But Luci, Lynda, and Mrs. Johnson remind me every day of how blessed you have been to them.

As I stand here on this lawn this morning, I think about the sunsets and the sunrises we have seen together in the hills of home. I also think about the occasions that we have grieved together--in Dallas; and I remember in Australia when I just couldn't keep back the tears when I looked in the face of Jerry Kivett, Dick Johnsen, Jerry McKinney, Lem Johns, and Bob Heyn, and the dearest of all, Rufus Youngblood, with that paint streaming down their faces, splattered all over them, but their chins up and their President safe.

I remember Bob Taylor standing there and letting the Cadillac run over his foot in order to protect his President from harm.

I will never forget the great integrity that each man in this Service has shown, and I don't except any of them--I mean every one of them. And I think that is unusual.

You hear a lot about the FBI. I admire them and I applaud them. But I don't yield to them a bit in integrity and competency when you talk about the Secret Service. We are thankful that we have both of these services.

Night before last, I was giving Tom Johnson the dickens for a mishap when I was going to drop in on a group of directors of the Urban League. One of the directors invited me there.

I said, "Notify them we are coming?' Tom passed on the instruction and Clint Hill executed it in his usually intelligent way by code.

The fellow on the other end just didn't understand all of the code. He came back and said, "I can't find that party here out of 300 or 400 in 3 or 4 seconds."

So Hill said, "I am not sure they have arrived yet, Tom," and we had to drive around the block a time or two. By that time, I became impatient. I realized that Tom was in a new capacity since Jim Jones was out honeymooning.

I felt a little sorry for myself that late in the evening and I said, "Tom, why do you do this to me?" Then characteristically, Clint Hill, before Tom could answer, said, "Mr. President, that is my mistake--my error."

I said, "Well, why did you make it? What is wrong with you?" He said, "I communicated a code and we didn't understand it."

So before any more time passed, I started feeling sorry for Clint instead of myself. I was grateful that I had a man who had integrity enough to step up and face the music and say it was his fault, because that is the kind of a man that we all admire.

I want to close by saying that I don't think that there has ever been a burden placed on any agency that was more heavy or more spontaneous or more sudden than the burden placed upon you to guard the presidential and vice presidential candidates this summer, as well as the three Presidents and their families.

Overnight, you received this assignment in, oh as I recall, 3 o'clock in the morning-you took up your posts of duty. You shifted your assignments. You left your families. You adapted yourselves to unprecedented demands and as usual you carried out your job with quiet heroism and with the dedication for which you have become very famous.

I think you ought to know this: I think every single candidate, including the President-elect and the Vice President-elect, took time out of their busy schedule during that campaign and afterwards to write the President and say how they appreciated the courtesy and the quality of service that you had given.

But no one could be more grateful to you than I am. I am most appreciative that my withdrawal from the Presidency, I am sure, will be made a good deal easier by the knowledge that you are around me still and in the general vicinity as long as I live.

As a very great character said here one time, I think rather nonchalantly--an expression that grew into one of our most memorable phrases due to the cooperation of the fourth estate--"I know I am going to sleep a little better each night knowing you are around."

Now, I am sure the press with their usual objectivity will wonder why I have mentioned agents like Rufus Youngblood, Clint Hill, Lem Johns, and Bob Taylor without saying anything about Director Rowley.

Well, I have a lot to say about Director Rowley because he symbolizes all of them. And what I say about him applies to each of them. We have a little surprise for Director Rowley this morning. At least I hope it is a surprise. Most of the surprises I plan don't turn out that way, because I learned a long, long time ago it is hard to keep a secret from the Secret Service.

I didn't tell anybody but George Christian yesterday that I was going to have an examination-some X-rays made before I left. And in 15 minutes, the doctor came up and said, "Is it true you are going to the hospital today?" And I said, "No. How did you get that information? Did George Christian tell you that?" He said, "No, sir." I said, "Who said it?" He said, "the Secret Service."

Well, Jim, although the citation I am about to read is directed to you, I hope that each of your agents throughout this land in some 60 or 70 offices will recognize that it is for them, too.

To you, and Emory Roberts, who I am sorry can't be here today--he greets me every morning and tells me goodby every night-to all the members of your family, I want to say that I believe of all the employees that I have known in the Federal Government in 38 years that I have worked, from a doorkeeper, to secretary, to Congressman, Senator, and Vice President, I don't believe that I have ever seen any collective group that is possessed with as much integrity, as much character, as much selflessness, and as much courage as your men.

So, if you will bring me that citation, I will read it. The President's Federal Civilian Service Board, made up of Mr. Macy, Mr. Nitze, and other distinguished members, on the recommendations of Secretary Fowler and others, has recommended to the president, and the President has approved, this award.

There will be several that will come later in the year for outstanding civil servants as we do each year. But this is a very special one. And I want to present It now while all of you are here.

I am so happy that Mr. Rowley's family can be here because they have sacrificed so many years to make something like this possible.
[At this point the President read the text of the award.]

THE PRESIDENT'S AWARD FOR DISTINGUISHED FEDERAL CIVILIAN SERVICE IS GIVEN TO
JAMES J. ROWLEY

To honor James J. Rowley is to honor the United States Secret Service, which he directs with unsurpassed skill and devotion.

In more than 30 years of distinguished duty, he has come to personify the Service's noble tradition of courage and loyalty.

The Secret Service protected America's electoral process itself in the recent political campaign, when violence and controversy were stronger than in any Presidential election of our time. Despite the tides of turbulence and tension, the Service enabled all the major candidates for the Presidency and Vice Presidency to meet safely with the American people, in every part of our land.

But Director Rowley has left his mark on more than the Secret Service.

He symbolizes the strength of the American government.

I am proud to commend him, in the name of all our people, as the guardian of our democracy.

LYNDON B. JOHNSON
The White House
November 23, 1968

Now, if that citation could be made better, someone else will have to do it because it is the best I could do. I worked hard on it myself.
[At this point, the President presented the medal, reading from its inscription, as follows.]

"Award of the President of the United States [to James J. Rowley] for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service."

[Director Rowley responded briefly (4 Weekly Comp. Pres. Docs., p. 1641). The President then resumed speaking.]

Now, if I didn't mention some of the agents' names this morning, just remember, it is because you never did get your foot run over.

I did say, though, to President Nixon the other day: "You will have many problems. Of course, you will have a lot of friends when you come in. But the best friend you will have when you come in and when you go out will be an organization--that will be the Secret Service of the United States."


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Note: The President spoke at 12:22 p.m. on the South Lawn at the White House. In his opening words he referred to Henry H. Fowler, Secretary of the Treasury, and James J. Rowley, Director of the United States Secret Service.
During his remarks he referred to his daughters, Mrs. Patrick J. (Luci) Nugent and Mrs. Charles S. (Lynda) Robb; the following Secret Servicemen: Jerry D. Kivett, Richard E. Johnsen, Jerry E. McKinney, Thomas L. Johns, Robert N. Heyn, Deputy Director Rufus W. Youngblood, Robert H. Taylor, Clinton J. Hill, and Emory P. Roberts; Wyatt Thomas Johnson, Jr., Assistant Press Secretary to the President; James R. Jones, Special Assistant to the President; George E. Christian, Special Assistant to the President; John W. Macy, Jr., Chairman of the Civil Service Commission; and Paul H. Nitze, Deputy Secretary of Defense.

The President also referred to the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas (see "Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, John F. Kennedy, 1963," Editor's Note, page 890). At that time the Vice President, Lyndon B. Johnson, was protected by Secret Serviceman Rufus W. Youngblood.

The President also mentioned his 1967 visit to Sydney, Australia, when antiwar demonstrators threw paint at his limousine striking several Secret Servicemen.


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Citation: Lyndon B. Johnson: "Remarks to the Secret Service and Presentation of an Award to James J. Rowley," November 23, 1968.


Read more at the American Presidency Project: Lyndon B. Johnson: Remarks to the Secret Service and Presentation of an Award to James J. Rowley http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=29254#ixzz1fI1bPLpt

William J. Clinton: "Remarks Dedicating the United States Secret Service Memorial Building," October 14, 1999

William J. Clinton: "Remarks Dedicating the United States Secret Service Memorial Building," October 14, 1999



Thank you very much, Secretary Summers, Director Stafford, Commissioner Peck, Monsignor Vaghi, Ms. Worley, Congressman Kolbe and Congressman Hoyer, Sergeant at Arms Livingood, Mr. Berger, Secretary Johnson. And I especially appreciate the presence of three former Directors of the Secret Service here today, Eljay Bowron and John Magaw and Stu Knight. I thank them for coming.
I thank the Marines for giving us such wonderful music today. Didn't they do a great job? [Applause.] I think that's the only thing I'm going to miss more than Air Force One when I'm gone, having music everywhere I go, provided by the Marines. [Laughter]

I wanted to be here for a number of reasons today. At first, I just wanted to look out and see some friendly faces. I just finished a press conference. [Laughter] It's nice to do that. I wanted to see this beautiful building, and I knew I would be given the experience of seeing this beautiful building. I want to thank Larry Cockell for letting me come in the front door today. [Laughter] You know, usually when I go into a building the Secret Service makes me go into an underground parking garage, past all the garbage—[laughter]—up the service elevator. You think—the last time I went to the Hilton here, I have been in the service entrance so much that they had an employee in every section of the Hilton Hotel, in every part of— [inaudible]—they met me when I came in, and they gave me a laminated employee ID card. [Laughter] Just something else I owe to the Secret Service.

I also was hoping that I might get another invitation to try out some more of the Secret Service training that I got at Beltsville, with Hillary, a couple of years ago. We're still looking for that escape pod on Air Force One. We haven't found that yet. [Laughter]

I want to also say how much I appreciate the leadership that Brian is giving to the Secret Service. The only apprehension I had about his becoming the Director was that he wanted to extend the protection of the PPD to country music singers and motorcycle gangs—[laughter]—and I had to draw the line somewhere.

Actually, I came here most of all to say thanks. I compliment the architects, the contractors, and all those involved in the construction of this magnificent building. And I do believe it will reinforce all the values and sense of community that Brian talked about.

Harry Truman once said, the Secret Service was the only boss he had as President, with the exception of Mrs. Truman. And even when I don't like it, I have to admit that's true. And I came here to say thank you on behalf of Hillary and Chelsea and myself. I know Hillary wanted to be here today. I can't tell you how— I feel about the Secret Service the way I sometimes feel about some of my friends in the Congress: I like them a lot more than they like me.

They've had to put up with me on so many different occasions, under such stress. You know, you wake up in the morning, and you're worried about something else, and you take it out by being a little short. You're impatient because you're tired and you've got a headache. They have to put up with all of it and act like you're still President, even when you're not acting like it; you're really being a person.

I think of all the sacrifices that the Secret Service and the PPD has made. I think about all these long, exhausting trips we take. I've seen the worried look in the agents' eyes whenever I get out and make some spontaneous stop into an unmagged crowd. A lot of times at night, I'm working late, and I come down, and I walk in between—sometimes after midnight—between the office and the house, and the agents are always there. And I often wonder how many children they have and how hard it must be for them to be awake while their children are sleeping and sleeping while their children are awake.

Sometimes, I just worry that they're going to have a heart attack on the job. I never will forget the first time—all the Secret Service who have been in PPD know this—there's this sort of, this elaborate little electronic guard system out around the White House. And if anything triggers the alarm, if you'll forgive me, all hell breaks loose for the Secret Service. You know, they're convinced that, you know, 45 terrorists are storming the gates; they have to do it. That's why we're all so taken care of.

Anything, any little old thing, can trigger that deal. And I remember the first time that happened. I didn't know it. I was up on the third floor of the White House, and the Residence is on the second floor, and I didn't know what happens. So what happens is, the elevator stops, and the SWAT team occupies the staircase with their semiautomatic weapons.

So they're all looking for somebody that's invading the White House. I come tromping down the staircase to the third floor; this guy comes rushing up on the second floor. I look up, and there he is with his weapon pointed at me, and I thought: This would be a heck of a note for the Secret Service. [Laughter] "Clinton killed by agent protecting the President." [Laughter] That poor—I think he still has nightmares about that. [Laughter]

We're all laughing about it, but this is a hard job. And it's an important job. And it's important, the protections that are provided to other people and all the other things the Secret Service does, and I want to say more about that in a moment. But especially, I want everyone to know—I want Larry and Donny and all the people on PPD and all their predecessors to know how profoundly grateful I am for the way my wife and my daughter and I have been treated and genuinely cared for and protected, whether we like it or not. It has made an enormous degree of difference in the confidence with which I think the American people can express toward their Government, and we are all in your debt.

I also want to thank you for naming this building after the 32 brave men and women who gave their lives in guarding our democracy and in whose memory the building now stands. Ten of those 32, I'm sad to say, lost their lives during my Presidency, including the 6 in the Oklahoma City bombing, one of the most difficult events in my life.

You have honored their memory in two ways: First, by naming this building in their honor; and second, by using this building to continue your mission and their mission. Most people know the Secret Service as these sort of mysterious, stone-faced figures that are either steely eyed or masked behind sexy sunglasses, protecting Presidents and visiting world leaders. They don't know much about the ongoing efforts of the Secret Service to protect the integrity of our financial system, but that's a proud history that stretches back 130 years now.

When our country was awash in counterfeit currency after the Civil War, America turned to the Secret Service. When three Presidents were assassinated in four decades, America turned to the Secret Service, broadening the mandate at the beginning of this century to include protective duties.

Now, with the new challenges we face in a new and rapidly changing world, America still turns to the Secret Service. You are out there every day, fighting telecommunications fraud, credit card fraud, computer crimes, counterfeiting, abuses of Government programs, taking on your investigative and protective assignments across the country and all around the world.

Regardless of the times or the tasks, there has always been a thread of honor and integrity, trust, and true confident performance, also, a remarkable ability to adapt to change and challenge. Those values are symbolized in this building. It is a solid, solid building, standing on a firm foundation but looking toward the future.

So, today, I'm honored to join you in dedicating this building and honoring the memory of those who gave their lives for what you do every day and in saying a special, special word of profound appreciation for the many sacrifices so many have made for me and my family and our country.

Thank you very much.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
NOTE: The President spoke at 4:47 p.m. in the Conference Center. In his remarks, he referred to Rev. Monsignor Peter J. Vaghi, pastor, St. Patrick's Church, who gave the invocation; and Debra L. Worley, headquarters consolidation project manager, and Larry Cockell, Special Agent-in-Charge, Presidential Protective Division, U.S. Secret Service.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Citation: William J. Clinton: "Remarks Dedicating the United States Secret Service Memorial Building," October 14, 1999

Read more at the American Presidency Project: William J. Clinton: Remarks Dedicating the United States Secret Service Memorial Building http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=56714#ixzz1fI07ve34

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Rating the Secret Service books, videos, and dvds- thumbnail sketchs by Vince Palamara (saving the best for last)

Rating the Secret Service books, videos, and dvds- thumbnail sketchs by Vince Palamara (saving the best for last)
Note: My reviews of each book differentiate between entertainment value, overall worth, and if the book is a specialty item; meaning, it has a narrow appeal (i.e. a book about a specific agent and his narrow view and time served in the agency). Also, please keep in mind that these are my thoughts circa late 2011---I may have been a little more forgiving at the time of publication several years back. I now take into account how well a book has aged, as well as entertainment and information factors.


Rating the Secret Service books, videos, and dvds- thumbnail sketchs by Vince Palamara (saving the best for last)
(in no order)

1) "In The President's Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect" by Ronald Kessler (2009)

There are currently 301 reviews on Amazon.Com for this book, with an aggregate average of 3.0 (1.0 being awful and 5.0 being great). Needless to say, the reviews vary widely; a very mixed bag. While I originally gave the book a 5 star rating, time has not been kind to this work---a 2.5 to 3 stars for depth of research would be more appropriate (at the time, I was swayed by the ENTERTAINMENT factor). What is most exasperating: JUST 5 PAGES FOR THE ENTIRE JFK ERA (LIFE AND DEATH)?!?!? In addition, Mr. Kessler unfortunately accepts at face value the whole notion of "JFK-as-scapegoat" for his very brief foray into the assassination, not letting the readers know that many NAMED agents are on the record (and have been for years) as debunking the whole idea that a) President Kennedy was difficult to protect, b) was reckless in his views on security, or c)that he ordered the agents off his limousine. The Special Agent in Charge of the White House Detail, Jerry Behn, as well as his assistant, Floyd Boring, not to mention MANY others (Rufus Youngblood, Winston Lawson, Bob Lilley, Art Godfrey, Sam Kinney, Sam Sulliman, Frank Stoner, Jerry O'Rourke, etc. etc. etc.) stated forcefully to myself, in no uncertain terms, that JFK was NOT difficult to protect, was in fact easy going, and NEVER ordered the agents off his limousine! To sum it up: you can have Oswald all by himself in the window shooting and no conspiracy and, yet, if the agents would have performed as they normally did, President Kennedy would have lived. THAT is the real story of November 22, 1963.

Also, many agents (perhaps out of necessity) are left unnamed, which can be frustrating to researchers and inquiring minds. In that regard, there are NO SOURCE NOTES OR END NOTES! Being that the book is a rather slim size (288 pages), especially for a work covering decades of intrigue, I am suprised at the lack of attribution.

Finally, although I personally love it (!), the book sometimes comes across as a Kitty Kelley/ C. David Heymann affair rather than a work of serious scholarship. I am specifically refering to the lurid tales of sex and drinking alleged by several (often unnamed)agents. I can see why Director Sullivan, Nick Trotta, and many of the agents who fully participated in this project felt betrayed. I have corresponded with Kessler and I was almost in his book but he was unable to locate me at the time (!)

Entertainment: 5.0; Overall: 2.5-3.0



2)"The Echo From Dealey Plaza: The true story of the first African American on the White House Secret Service detail and his quest for justice after the assassination of JFK" by Abraham Bolden (2008)



I highly recommend this seminal work from former Secret Service hero Abraham Bolden. The book is very well written and gripping in its narrative. Whether one views the JFK assassination as the work of one man (who beat the conspirators to the punch) or the work of a deadly conspiracy, Bolden's book holds up in any case, for it is the tale of injustice done to him, as well as the detailing of prior threats to President Kennedy's life.

As one who has studied the Secret Service and President Kennedy's life and death in great detail, I find this book fascinating and indispensable. What more can I say? Get this asap! Publishers Weekly said: "Conspiracy theories haunt the Kennedy assassination; Bolden offers a new one, concerning discrimination and evidence suppression. Becoming, in JFK's words, the Jackie Robinson of the Secret Service, Bolden joined the White House detail in 1961. Already beset by racism (he once found a noose suspended over his desk), his idealism is further shattered by the drinking and carousing of other agents. Soon after the assassination, he receives orders that hint at an effort to withhold, or at least to the color, the truth. He discovers that evidence is being kept from the Warren Commission and when he takes action, finds himself charged with conspiracy to sell a secret government file and sentenced to six years in prison, where both solitary confinement and the psychiatric ward await. That there was a conspiracy to silence him seems unarguable, but Bolden's prose is flat; so is his dialogue. This story is more enthralling than Bolden's telling of it, but the reader who sticks with it will enter a world of duplicitous charges and disappearing documents fit for a movie thriller."

I have spoken to and corresponded with Bolden on many occasions and I find him credible; a good guy.

28 Amazon.Com reviews, mostly positive; 4.5 aggregate

Entertainment: 5.0; Overall: 5.0; SPECIALTY BOOK (former JFK era agent and his quest for justice)



3) "Riding With Reagan" by John Barletta (2005)


Barletta has written a warm, well-written and touching book about President Reagan, especially Reagan's time on his ranch, as Barletta is a former Secret Service agent who often rode with the President, thus, the title of the book. That said, Barletta definitely wears his admiration for Reagan on his sleeve, which may be a little much for some. There is a fair amount of the inner workings of the Secret Service and their protection of Reagan.

I have corresponded with Barletta and he is most definitely an advocate for Reagan's greatness which, depending on your point of view, is either a good thing or a bad thing LOL

27 Amazon.Com reviews; 5.0 aggregate

Entertainment: 5.0; Overall: 4.0; SPECIALTY BOOK (Pro-Reagan agent and his biased look at his time protecting the president on the ranch)

4) "Standing Next to History: An Agent's Life Inside the Secret Service" by Joseph Petro (2005)


Joe Petro has written a fascinating account of life in the Secret Service-especially protecting President Reagan-in "Standing Next To History." If the Secret Service were embarrassed (and they WERE) by fellow agent Dennis V.N. McCarthy's "Protecting The President," not to mention Marty Venker's "Confessions Of An Ex-Secret Service Agent," [more on those books in a moment] they won't be with Petro's tome. It reads like Petro was careful not to make waves with his colleagues.

From Booklist
Former Secret Service agent Petro protected Henry Kissinger, Nelson Rockefeller, Gerald Ford, Walter Mondale, Ronald and Nancy Reagan, Dan and Marilyn Quayle, and Pope John Paul II. His memoir of 20-plus years standing post or watching crowds is replete with anecdotes arranged to show what the Secret Service does. Petro stresses the friction inherent between safety and public visibility, and illustrates that point by recounting the negotiations that occurred between those being protected and the men and women with the earplugs and impassive visages. Petro introduces this main topic with an account of his arrangement of a Reagan trip to a baseball game, and sustains it though various settings, whether an international summit conference or a restaurant. More personally, the author confides his recruitment to the Secret Service and his investigations, such as infiltrating John Kerry's antiwar group. True to the Secret Service's ethos of confidentiality, Petro shies from gossip but imparts just enough to imply his opinions of the people he guarded, which is the part that will be of most interest to his readers.

Definitely one of the better Secret Service books.

58 Amazon.Com reviews, mostly postive; 4.5 aggregate

Entertainment: 5.0; Overall: 5.0

5) "Get Carter: Backstage in History from JFK's Assassination to the Rolling Stones" By Bill Carter (2006)


Former JFK era agent Bill Carter has written a decent (but obscure) book that, while it most definitely has its moments, it has not aged well already. The non-Secret Service related chapters are definitely an acquired taste. Carter supports the Warren Commission version of events and does offer some decent anecdotes from his days with the agency.

9 Amazon.Com reviews; 5.0 aggregate

Entertainment: 2.5-3.0; Overall: 2.5-3.0; SPECIALTY BOOK (former JFK era agent who was also in the Rolling Stones entourage)



6) "Looking Back and Seeing the Future: The United States Secret Service, 1865-1990" by Association of Former Agents of the United States Secret Service [AFAUSSS](1991)


I was lucky to have been supplied a copy of this fascinating, somewhat private publication by the late PRS agent Frank Stoner; an expensive used copy will sometimes crop up on Amazon. Although there are a trove of very nice pictures, the work is largely dated and biased via the late Agent/ Historian Harry Neal's point of view.

Entertainment: 2.5; Overall: 2.5


7) "American Gunfight: The Plot to Kill President Truman-and the Shoot-out That Stopped It" by Stephen Hunter and John Bainbridge, Jr (2005)


Definitely a specialty item, as this book deals exclusively with the 11/1/50 assassination attempt on President Harry Truman. This was a major release with help from the Secret Service, then (Boring, Mroz, etc) and now (Historian Mike Sampson). Warts and all, I would say this is the definitive book on the attempt on Truman's life, although the reviews on Amazon are decidedly mixed.

38 Amazon.Com reviews; 3.5 aggregate

Entertainment: (2.5-)3.0; Overall: 3.5 (-4.0); SPECIALTY BOOK (11/1/50 Truman attempt and the agent's responses and reactions)


8) "The Kennedy Detail" by Gerald Blaine and Lisa McCubbin; Foreword by Clint Hill (2010)



Oh, my: where do I begin? I have pontificated many times over about the book's inherent bias, fabrications, twisted views, etc., not only here but on Amazon, You Tube, and my CTKA review:

http://www.ctka.net/reviews/kennedydetailreview.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbD1shPmla8

(note: I am the unnamed Secret Service expert on pages 359-360 and I have answered his criticisms many times over)

Blaine states that this was "a book that had to be written." I would add: "yeah, it had to be written...because of my 22-page letter to Mr Hill that greatly alarmed you both." [I spoke to Blaine and many of his colleagues long before his book appeared] Blaine is a past President and last surviving founding member of the AFAUSSS; 'nuff said.

172 Amazon.Com reviews [although many of the 5 star reviews are from former agents, colleagues, and friends]; 4.0 aggregate

Entertainment: 3.5; Overall: 2.5 (1.0 for 11/18/63 and 11/22/63 falsehoods; 3.0 or better for the non-controversial aspects of the book)


9) "Special Agent A Quarter Century With The Treasury Department And The Secret Service" by Chief Frank J Wilsom and Beth Day (1965)



Definitely a dry and dated book. No index hinders research, although there are definitely items of interest to be found within.

Entertainment: 2.0; Overall: 2.0-3.0


10) "20 years in the Secret Service: My Life with Five Presidents" by Rufus Youngblood (1973)



Definitely NOT dry, Rufe's fine book could be considered dated, but that would be unfair to him and his book. Rufus Youngblood told me that his ghost writer was Richard Hardwick, duly thanked on page 5. That said, Rufe (and co.) wrote a nice book about his time serving 5 Presidents, with particular emphasis on LBJ, the President who called Youngblood "the dearest of all" agents. It's funny, thought-provoking, and well-written. As the leading civilian authority on the U.S. Secret Service, I am impressed, as I was with Rufe (rest in peace, my friend). One of the better Secret Service books, despite its age and his belief in the Warren Commission's findings.

Entertainment: 5.0; Overall: 4.0-5.0
11) "Secret Service Chief" by U.E. Baughman (1962)


I modestly recommend this book by JFK's first Secret Service Chief, Urbanus Edmund "U.E." Baughman (who was replaced as Chief in late 1961 by the SAIC of the WHD, James J. Rowley). The book is readable and pretty well put together. There are many examples of rich irony throughout: Baughman receiving the call to become Chief on November 22 [1948]...Baughman is, ahem, "retired" by a President who would meet his ultimate fate on November 22 [1963]...Baughman waxes on about the virtues of Richard Nixon for President at a time when Tricky Dicky was dead in the water, politically speaking...etc.

Entertainment: 2.5; Overall: 3.0


12) "Dar's Story: Memoirs of a Secret Service Agent" by Darwin Horn (2002)

Darwin Horn is a nice guy with whom I corresponded with quite a bit a few years back. Unfortunately, his book does not age well and, to be honest, was rather dry and clinical at the time. Former Agent Walt Coughlin told me his book was "ok"...that would be my assessment now. Horn just did not have that exciting of a career or background to warrant a book.

Entertainment: 2.0; Overall: 2.5


13) "Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan" by Del Quentin Wilber (2011)



As someone who has also spoken to the great Jerry Parr, a true hero from 3/30/81, as well as a gaggle of other former agents from the FDR-Reagan era, let me tell you, in no uncertain terms: this book is outstanding, Anyone who gives it less than 5 stars needs his/ her head examined. As the leading civilian authority on the United States Secret Service, I was very much impressed with the research, writing, and narrative; incredible. Just how close we came to losing yet another president is made manifest in this terrific work. In fact, this book is a true tale of heroism, in stark contrast to the gross lies and profiteering of "The Kennedy Detail", falsely blaming JFK for his own death. Unlike that sad chapter in American history, THESE agents reacted properly, did not seek to blame the President for their collective ineptitude, nor did they seek to profit from their actions. Buy this book a.s.ap.!

I have spoken to and corresponded to Del several times since publication; great guy, as well.

101 Amazon.Com reviews, overwhelmingly 5 star/ positive (not one 1 star review!); 4.5 aggregate

Entertainment: 5.0; Overall: 5.0; SPECIALTY BOOK (albeit a great and recommended one: the 3/30/81 assassination attempt on President Reagan, with the agent's reactions and responses. Like Hunter's 11/1/50 book, above, the definitive book on the 3/30/81 attempt, but a better read)

14) "Protecting the President: The Inside Story of a Secret Service Agent" by Dennis V.N. McCarthy and Philip W Smith (1985)


The late Dennis (no relation to Tim) McCarthy (with some help from his co-author, Philip W. Smith) wrote this book. While it reads very well, is funny, informative, and even has a nice photo section, to boot, the Secret Service was NOT pleased with this book. Former Agents Walt Coughlin, Darwin Horn and Bob Snow told me the book was an embarrassment, with Coughlin adding that McCarthy "never could carry his weight." In hindsight, although he received a medal, Dennis McCarthy's role that fateful day on 3/30/81 was relatively minor, especially in comparison to the bravery (and bloodshed) of Jerry Parr, Tim McCarthy, Drew Unrue, and Ray Shaddick, among others [see "Rawhide Down", above]. In fact, on the video "Inside The Secret Service," an actor portraying a threat to the President is shown reading a copy of this book (!) and, if that weren't enough, a still photo of the four agents decorated for valor for their heroics---Parr, Shaddick, McCarthy, and TIM McCarthy---is depicted with DENNIS McCarthy cropped out and not even mentioned!

Entertainment: 4.0-5.0; Overall: 3.0-4.0 (keeping in mind the reservations noted above. Some in the Service would say 1.0!)

15) "Confessions of an Ex-Secret Service Agent: The Marty Venker Story" by George Rush (and Marty Venker) (1988)


Along with Dennis McCarthy's book, above, this is the OTHER book that gives the Secret Service fits...and for good reason. That said, I get a kick out of Marty Venker: he is alot like one of his evident heroes, Brooks Keller (the wild former agent chronicled briefly in both his book and Dennis McCarthy's). Venker's book, actually 'written' by George Rush, is a funny yet informative chronicle of a square peg in a round hole---Venker, the wild child, trying to conform to rigid, structured, pressure-packed duty as a Special Agent. The lack of an index will frustrate you (at least in the paperback), but there are many nice nuggets and anecdotes to be found here.

George Rush was asked to work on an article, and met Marty Venker. They turned on the tape recorder and listened to his memories. The result was an article for "Roling Stone" magazine. More talks and recordings led to this book. Seventeen chapters cover his experiences over the ten years in the Secret Service during the 1970s, and afterwards. An interesting read.

Entertainment: 4.0-5.0; Overall: 3.0-4.0 (once again, keeping in mind the reservations noted above. Some in the Service would say 1.0!)

16) "Reilly of the White House" by Michael Reilly (1947)

A dry and dated book from the SAIC of FDR's Detail (who replaced Colonel Edmund Starling). This has historical importance, so I would not be too hard on it, overall. Members of the late Mike Reilly's family have contacted me through the years.

Entertainment: 2.0-3.0; Overall: 2.0-3.0


17)"Starling of the White House: The story of the man whose Secret Service detail guarded five presidents from Woodrow Wilson to Franklin D. Roosevelt" by Colonel Edmund Starling (1946)


Yet another somewhat dry and dated book, albeit one that is slightly superior to Reilly's book, above. Interestingly, Starling's book has 8 Amazon.Com reviews with a 4.5 aggregate (the book has recently seen new life in a reprinted version, as well as turning up in used condition). Starling is a legend in Secret Service lore...and rightfully so.

Entertainment: 3.0; Overall: 3.0

18) "The Secret Service: The Hidden History of an Engimatic Agency" by Philip Melanson (2002; revised and expanded version, 2005)



The late Philip Melanson was a prolific author and colleague--in fact, I am IN this book on several pages, as well as the bibliography. This book was greatly improved, in my opinion, when Melanson got rid of the co-author from the original 2002 edition (Peter F Stevens [21 Amazon.com reviews, 3.0 aggregate; very mixed]) and revised and expanded the work for the 2005 release (10 Amazon reviews, 4.0 aggregate). Here is my Amazon.Com review:

New & improved...sort of (4.5 stars, anyone?)


As the leading civilian authority on the U.S. Secret Service, I was much looking forward to the REVISED AND EXPANDED version of this book, as ***my*** own book ("The Third Alternative-Survivor's Guilt: The Secret Service & The JFK Murder" [1993-1998], now massively expanded and updated as "Survivor's Guilt: The Secret Service & The Failure To Protect The President", available now!)was listed in the original version and it is obvious Melanson made good use of my material for his chapter on the JFK assassination entitled "Losing Lancer." [pages 74, 77, 80, 87, 343-344 (endnotes), 358 (bibliography), & 371 (index) ["etc."]

Well, Melanson evidently heard all the first-edition bad reviews regarding editing and typos and the like: gone is his co-author, Peter F. Stevens. Also, he added a nice new cover and TWO new chapters, as well as sourcing former agent Joseph Petro's excellent 2005 book entitled "Standing Next To History." (It still says "the authors" [plural] in the Bibliography and, from the larger font, you can tell that Petro's book was added!]

That said, I highly recommend this book (as I did with regard to the poorly edited/ proofread first edition)---still alittle bit of a "dry" text, but he listened to all the criticisms regarding STYLE. And, while I achieved a world's record---SIXTY SEVEN former agent interviews (the old record was by the HSCA: 44)---Melanson did interview a handful of former agents (such as Winston Lawson, also interviewed numerous times by myself)and his book serves as a good general overview---using mostly secondary sources--- of the (history of) the Secret service, 1865-2005 (while my work focuses more on the FDR-Reagan days, with special emphasis on the JFK/ LBJ years...and alot more PRIMARY research). For the record, my work is now credited on pages 72, 74, 77, 85, 388, 389, 408, 424 ["uncredited": pages 59, 60, 70, 71, 73, 75-76]

Potscript: Melanson writes on page 61: "Some of the agents, THOUGH NOT WINSTON G. LAWSON, lied to the Warren Commission about how thorough they were [my emphasis]." It is obvious that Melanson didn't want to ruffle Lawson's feathers, as he interviewed him and probably feared he would take exception to that!

If you want an extremely thorough, take-off-the-gloves approach to the Secret Service, get my 276-page book "Survivor's Guilt: The Secret Service & The Failure To Protect The President." In the meantime, Melanson's 30 pages regarding 11/22/63 should suffice...and the rest of the book, now mostly improved and expanded, should still be a good start for anyone interested in the U.S. Secret Service.
---
Former JFK era agent Tony Sherman highly recommended the book to myself (evidently forgeting, for the moment, that I was IN the book!), and it was a major, over-the-counter release. However, like Kessler's controversial book, above, the reaction has been mixed and there are flaws. Still, recommended, nonetheless.

Entertainment: 4.0; Overall: 4.0


19) "Murder From Within: Lyndon Johnson's Plot against President Kennedy" by Fred Newcomb and Perry Adams (1974; new edition 2011)



My Amazon.Com review:

Important, seminal work, regardless of your take on one aspect of this great book

The entire research community is so indebted to Fred Newcomb: he gave us the body alteration theory (years before David Lifton), cogent criticisms of the Secret Service (while I was in diapers!), analysis of the LHO backyard photos (later made famous by Jack White), the Dodd/ Seaport Traders theory (in "Reasonable Doubt" and "Ultimate Sacrifice", among others), and, although I do not believe it, the Greer-shot-JFK theory (years before William Cooper et. al.). This book, the new and improved edition, reads well and even has good comments about JFK's foreign policy (Vietnam). I am a proud owner of an original. Do NOT let your feelings about the Greer-shot-JFK theory deter you from getting this important, seminal volume asap---there is ALOT of good, pioneering work contained herein. We are all indebted to Tyler Newcomb, Fred Newcomb, and Perry Adams. Buy this asap!

Entertainment: 4.0; Overall: 4.0; SPECIALTY BOOK (pro-conspiracy book that, on the plus side, demonstrates Secret Service malfeasance on 11/22/63 but, on the negative side, also included the absurd driver-did-it theory)


20) "Last Word: My Indictment of the CIA in the Murder of JFK" by Mark Lane (2011)


My Amazon.Com review:
FANTASTIC! GET THIS A.S.A.P.! THE KENNEDY DETAIL DEBUNKED!

Attorney Mark Lane thoroughly destroys Gerald Blaine & Lisa McCubbin's book "The Kennedy Detail": on the merit of this alone, every person who purcashed and/ or read that book needs to read this as the antidote. Lane saves his best JFK work for last with his appropriately titled tome "The Last Word", a book that joins Jim Douglass "JFK & The Unspeakable" and Douglas Horne's 5-volume series "Inside The Assassination Records Review Board" in the "holy troika" of essential, must-read (and own) Kennedy assassination books. Lane skillfully takes apart Vincent Bugliosi's magnum opus on the Oswald-did-it side entitled "Reclaiming History" and, most of all, Gerald Blaine's fraudulent "JFK-told-us-not-to" book "The Kennedy Detail"---for the latter, Lane used my research materials, for which I am most grateful. In addition, Lane adds further credibility to the tale of former Secret Service Agent Abraham Bolden and his book "The Echo From Dealey Plaza." It never ceases to amaze me how much great literature and research has come forth in the last 5-10 years. Mark Lane's book "The Last Word" adds to his legacy greatly. Get this one asap---Bugliosi, Blaine, and the CIA have a lot to answer for! Highly recommended; fantastic!

17 Amazon.Com reviews, 4.0 aggregate

Entertainment: 4.0; Overall: 4.0 (5.0 for Secret Service related chapters); SPECIALTY BOOK (pro-conspiracy book that does debunk "The Kennedy Detail" and adds support to Bolden's book, above)


21) "Robert DeProspero" (2011)


A currently out-of-print slim volume that contains my Wikipedia article on Robert DeProspero, as well as several other former agents (and my contributions!).

Robert Lee DeProspero was a respected United States Secret Service agent, serving from 1965 to 1986. He is notable for serving on the Presidential Protective Division (PPD) during a large part of the Reagan administration, and for heading that division towards the end of his tenure.DeProspero attended West Virginia University, where he earned a Bachelor's Degree in physical education in 1959 and a master's degree in education in 1960.DeProspero devised several very important and innovative security measures during his time in the Secret Service that are used today: the "hospital agent" (stationing an agent at the nearest primary trauma hospital on a presidential movement), as well as the creation of metal detector checkpoints to screen every individual who could get a view of the president.

Entertainment: 2.5; Overall: 3.0

22) "United States Secret Service Agents" (2011)

Another currently out-of-print slim volume that contains my Wikipedia article on Robert DeProspero, as well as several other former agents (and my contributions!).


Entertainment: 2.5; Overall: 3.0

23) "Saving Mrs. Kennedy: The Search for an American Hero" by Harvey Sawler (2005)


I highly recommend this well written novel about Secret Service agent Clint Hill. Hill is the agent who was awarded a Medal for protecting Mrs. Kennedy on that fateful day in Dallas on 11/22/63. This book is a very fine novel covering this brave and dedicated public servant. However, this book is very FACTUAL, too: while it uses the novel format, this is only as a device to lay out the facts. There is also a Foreward from former Chair of the Assassination Records Review Board, Judge John Tunheim, as well. The author went to a great deal of effort to flesh out the details of Hill's life (contacting Concordia College friends and professors, as well as family and friends, although it appears that the elusive Mr. Hill himself did not cooperate [I did speak to him, but that is another story]).

Entertainment: 5.0; Overall: 3.0; SPECIALTY BOOK (novel re: Clint Hill)


24) "The U.S. Secret Service: Protecting Our Leaders" by Connie Colwell Miller (2008)

A nice KID's book on the Secret Service

Entertainment: 3.0; Overall: 2.5-3.0

25) "Introduction to Executive Protection" by Dale L. June (1998)

Product Description: An Introduction to Executive Protection provides beginners in the occupation of executive protection with the tools they need to know and appreciate the profession; to enable them to realize what is expected when they are placed in positions of confidence and trust; and to understand the implications of being responsible for the safety and lives of others.
This guide emphasizes the basic elements of executive protection which are often neglected or overlooked in practical application, even by professional schools of executive protection instruction which sometimes mistakenly assume all enrollees are practiced journeymen. In addition to practical and technical considerations of the profession, "executive protection" means working with people on a personal level. The author draws on his extensive and varied experience in the field to share events that inform and enlighten students of executive protection and teach them how to best avoid endangering those they protect.

My short Amazon.Com review:

Excellent book on executive protection

As the leading civilian authority on the U.S. Secret Service, I highly recommend this book from distinguished former agent Dale June. It is well written and very informative. Simply put, you cannot go wrong in purchasing this volume. I was a little disappointed with the 11/22/63 "whitewash", but that was to be expected, quite frankly (what is Mr. June going to say : "My colleagues screwed up in Dallas?"). Get this!

Entertainment: 2.0; Overall: 4.0

26) "The United States Secret Service" by Walter S. Bowen & Harry Neal (1960)


I believe that this book, though valuable for the time it was written, is dated and dry by today's standards. Obviously, a lot has transpired since this was written over four decades ago. Still, some worthwhile information for the Secret Service enthusiast out there.

Entertainment: 2.0; overall: 3.0


27) "Secret Service Agent: And Careers in Federal Protection (Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Careers)" by Gerry Souter (2006)

I highly recommend this great "starter" book on the agency. There are nice graphics and the book, albeit short in length, is well written and incisive. That said, this is, like Connie Miller's book (above), a KID's book.

Entertainment: 3.0; Overall: 2.5-3.0


28) "Definitive Proof: The Secret Service Murder of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy" by Dan Robertson (2006)


My Amazon.Com review:

Lots of good information, sincere intent...wrong conclusion


I commend Dan Robertson for a well written and researched book. There is a lot of good information on the Secret Service and their role, innocent and otherwise, on 11/22/63 during the JFK assassination, as well as before and after (Robertson makes good use of my material, as well as doing some original research, too). There is no doubt: Robertson's intent was sincere; he's no loony but a successful, intelligent lawyer. That said, the ultimate conclusion of the book, that Secret Service driver William R. Greer shot JFK, is simply not supported by any credible evidence (and the allegation is hardly a new---and unknown---one: Fred Newcomb, Perry Adams, Lars Hansen, and William Milton Cooper, among others, espoused this decades ago, and many 'common folk' are much aware of this fringe theory). Still, this book is a worthwhile addition to the collection (and for anyone interested in the Secret Service and JFK).

Entertainment: 3.5; Overall: 3.5; SPECIALTY BOOK (pro-conspiracy book that, on the plus side, demonstrates Secret Service malfeasance on 11/22/63 but, on the negative side, also included the absurd driver-did-it theory)



29) "Secret Service Agent (Uniformed)" by Jack Rudman (2004)

From my Amazon.Com review: This is a very dry, clinical book (5 stars for content, 2-3 stars for "readability": it's for those wishing to join the UD---Uniformed Division---of the USSS!). Hey, SAIC of PPD (for George W. Bush) Nick Trotta started out this way---the UD division is very important.

Entertainment: 2.0; Overall: 2.5


30) "Whitewash II: The FBI-Secret Service Coverup" by Harold Weisberg (1967)


From my Amazon.Com review: While I have the original edition, this nice "update" of sorts is a welcome addition to the collection. That said, this book IS a little dated and not as earth-shattering as Mr. Weisberg's other seminal works. Still, I recommend it nonetheless.

Entertainment: 2.5; Overall: 2.5; SPECIALTY BOOK (pro-conspiracy book)


31) "Not On The Level" by Michael V Maddaloni (2006)

From my Amazon.Com review: Wow! What a page turner "Not On The Level" is! I am very impressed with this well-written, entertaining, and thought-provoking book by former Secret Service agent Mike Maddaloni. Uncle Tony and Uncle Sal will be burned into your brain, while Joe De Falco's narration pulls it all together. Get this book asap!

I corresponded with Maddaloni several times.

Entertainment: 4.5; Overall: 3.0; SPECIALTY BOOK (a novel from an agent who served on PPD Carter-Reagan)

32) "To Be a U.S. Secret Service Agent" by Henry Holden (2006)


While somewhat akin to Souter's and Miller's KID'S books on the Secret Service, this slightly longer work has great graphics and is actually written with adults in mind, as well.


Entertainment: 3.0; Overall: 3.5


33) "The United States Secret Service in the Late War" by LaFayette C Baker (1895?)

Ancient book, very dry and dated.

Entertainment: 1.5; Overall: 2.5


34) "American Secret Service agent" by Donald Wilkie (1934)

ditto on all counts


35) "Politics of Protection: The U.S. Secret Service in the Terrorist Age" by Philip Melanson (1984)

Get Melanson's 2005 work instead. This is somewhat dated and made completely redundant by his later work.


36) "The Dark Side of Camelot" by Seymour Hersh (1997)


From my Amazon.Com review:

worth it for the comments of former Secret Service agents Newman, Sherman, McIntyre & Paolella


I recommend this book [a massive best-seller] primarily for the comments of former Secret Service agents Larry Newman, Tony Sherman, Tim McIntyre, and Joe Paolella, all of whom I also spoke to and/ or corresponded with. Like what they say or not, it is also supported by what others have said, including the comments to myself from former SAIC of PRS Robert I. Bouck on 9/27/92, among others. (Hersh also interviewed Bouck and Marty Underwood, both of whom I ALSO spoke to, as well)

Entertainment: 4.5; Overall: 3.5; SPECIALTY BOOK (worth it for the agent's comments re: JFK that Blaine avoided)


37) "In Crime's Way: A Generation of Secret Service Adventures" by Carmine Motto (1999)


Book description: A retired Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service's special anti-counterfeiting detail in New York and author of the bestseller Undercover, Carmine J. Motto has lived a long and storied life. From witnessing a triple execution at New York's notorious Sing-Sing prison to thwarting an assassination attempt on the life of Harry Truman, Motto's name would make the list of any Law Enforcement Hall of Fame. In fact, so renowned are his exploits, that they were portrayed in a 20th Century Fox motion picture starring Burt Lancaster as Motto (Mr. 880).

Now, readers can learn all about the real-life experiences of this "Top Cop." In Crime's Way: A Generation of Secret Service Adventures, is a series of true, authentic and fascinating stories of Motto's 60 years in law enforcement bringing counterfeiters, conspirators and scoundrels to justice. Follow his colorful career from police officer to secret service agent as he tells about being a cop in New York the night of the famous Orson Wells's "Invasion from Mars" radio broadcast, tracking a suspect who murdered his parents for their life insurance, or showing up to arrest a suspect, only to find himself as the witness for the man's marriage.

While the book is written by and is about Motto, he is not the central character, but can be viewed almost like a narrator. Motto observes and participates in the action, but the real story is about the people he encounters. Most are presented in their own environment and situations of their own making as a result of their pursuit of an "easy dollar." No hot pursuits, exploding cars, or gun battles here. With his remarkable aptitude for story telling, Motto has preserved actual stories of life and the underworld as he saw it from his position as a renowned counterfeit investigator.

Review by fellow author and agent Dale June: When I was asked by the publisher and Mr. Motto to help in preparing this book for publication and to write this forward, I was more than pleased, I was honored. This, for me, has been like traveling through a time tunnel and sharing moments, as an unseen observer, in the life of people as they matched wits with a legend of the U.S. Secret Service...If there is ever such a thing as a Hall of Fame for Law Enforcement, Carmine J. Mottos name will be there.
-Dale L. June, Co-Author, Undercover, Second Edition

From my Amazon.Com review:

Carmine and Robert Motto [served in Chicago office with Bolden: see his book]: brothers in the Secret Service



I highly recommend this thriller of a book. Very well written as well. For True Crime ethusiasts. For the Secret Service enthusiasts, some interesting background---
Robert J. Motto, 88, a former Secret Service agent who protected five
presidents in his 21-year career, died Tuesday, March 19, 2002, in his
Downers Grove, Illinois, home after a heart attack. Born in Brooklyn,
N.Y., Mr. Motto attended City College of New York and served in the
U.S. Army from 1942 to 1946 in counterintelligence. After the war, he
was an investigator with the U.S. Postal Service in New York. Mr.
Motto joined the Secret Service in 1949 and over the years worked in
field offices in St. Louis, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Springfield and
Washington, D.C. He retired in 1970 as the assistant to the special
agent in charge of the Chicago field office. Mr. Motto and his late
brother Carmine, also a Secret Service agent, were renowned for their
undercover work, colleagues and family members said. "Both my dad and
my uncle were very, very low-key people," said Mr. Motto's niece,
Irene Kaufman. "I think that's what helped them both be very
successful undercover agents."

Entertainment: 4.0; Overall: 3.0; SPECIALTY BOOK (Motto's narrow lens on Secret Service items)


38) "Mortal Error: The Shot That Killed JFK, A ballistics expert's astonishing discovery of the fatal bullet that Oswald did not fire" by Bonar Menninger (and Howard Donahue) (1992)


From my Amazon.Com review:

good book about the shot LHO DIDN'T fire, silly on who he thinks did it

Secret Service agent George W. Hickey, jr. did not and could not have accidentally shot JFK from the follow-up car--among other reasons, the Bronson film and the numerous eyewitnesses debunk this notion. That said, this book is very worthwhile for ballistically proving that LHO did not fire the fatal shot. I spoke to and corresponded with the late Howard Donahue, the true author of this book (Bonar Menninger was merely the writer, so to speak). Interesting are the passing comments by many of the agents I also spoke to who debunk his theory of Hickey shooting JFK: Sam Kinney, Jerry Behn, Floyd Boring, James Rowley, Richard Johnsen, and Win Lawson.


Entertainment: 3.0; Overall: 2.5; SPECIALTY BOOK (silly theory that JFK was accidentally killed by Agent Hickey)


39) "JFK: Breaking the Silence" by Bill Sloan (1993)


From my Amazon.Com review:

Good book, worth it for former Secret Service officer John Norris and former agent Robert Steuart's comments

As confirmed to myself from the author, Bill Sloan, the unnamed agent at the beginning of the book who spoke with much trepidation was former Dallas office agent Robert Steuart (I spoke to Steuart in 1992 and 1993). Although good, the best parts of the book are the aforementioned comments from Steuart as well as the chapter on former Secret Service officer John Norris (since deceased). [I spoke to Norris, as well]

Entertainment: 4.0; Overall: 3.0; SPECIALTY BOOK (pro-conspiracy book with two Secret Service related chapters)


40) "The Story of the Secret Service" by Ferdinand Kuhn; Foreword by U.E. Baughman (1957)

I modestly recommend this 1957 book by Ferdinand Kuhn (pen name?). This book is not to be confused---as I and others have been---with the 1971 Grossett and Dunlap book of the same title, written by former Secret Service agent Harry Neal. As for this book, it is dry and dated, but it is worth it for a few items (and the foreward by former Chief U.E. Baughman).

Entertainment: 2.0; Overall: 2.0


41) "In the Line of Fire" novel by Max Allan Collins (1993)

From my Amazon.Com review:

Nice novel (that the movie was based off of)...but the movie is better. That said, this is an enjoyable read and the story does indeed come to life. It is just very hard to compete with Clint Eastwood, John Malkovich, and Renee Russo!

Entertainment: 4.0 (movie: 5.0); Overall: 3.0; SPECIALTY BOOK (novel)



42) "In The Line Of Fire" movie/ dvd (1993)

I highly recommend this very entertaining thriller starring the great CLINT Eastwood as CLINT Hill (sort of). For the Secret Service enthusiast, there is great bonus footage from several of the technical consultants such as former Secret Service agents Robert Snow (I corresponded with him), Jerry Parr (protected Reagan on 3/30/81; I spoke to him), Hubert Bell, etc. Get this!

Entertainment: 5.0; Overall: 4.5; SPECIALTY ITEM (movie made with Secret Service help)


43) "Death Of A President" by William Manchester (1967)

I modestly recommend this classic and controversial book for the many Secret Service/ primary witness interviews Manchester conducted between 1964-1965 (he spoke to 20+agents; I spoke to 80+). That said, several agents I spoke to, three of whom also spoke to Manchester, including Rufus Youngblood, Sam Kinney, and Jerry Behn, among others, denounced this book. Most importantly, ASAIC FLOYD BORING IS QUOTED IN THE BOOK BUT WAS NOT INTERVIEWED FOR IT (AS VERIFIED BY BORING TO MYSELF) AND HE VEHEMENTLY DENIES THE VERACITY OF THE INFO. ATTRIBUTED TO HIM!!

Entertainment: 4.0; Overall: 4.0; SPECIALTY BOOK (11/22/63)


44) "The Day Kennedy Was Shot: An Hour-by-Hour Account of What Really Happened on November 22, 1963" by Jim Bishop (1968)


From my Amazon.Com review:

ANOTHER CLASSIC BUT FLAWED BOOK.

I recommend this book for its classic status. That said, there are several errors throughout and, like Manchester before him, Bishop has an obvious lone-nut bias. I know for a fact that Bishop spoke to former Secret Service agents Bill Greer and Jim Rowley...beyond that, it is hard to tell who (if anyone) else.

Entertainment: 3.5; Overall: 3.5; SPECIALTY BOOK (11/22/63)


45) "The Men Who Killed Kennedy" by Nigel Turner (video/ dvd) (1988;1991;1995;2003)


From My Amazon.Com review:

Amazing series (I was on part 7) :)


You have to own this whole set (parts 1-9). Flawed but indispensable; Nigel Turner has done it again (and again). Excellent films/ photos and primary witnesses, too.

Entertainment: 5.0; Overall: 4.5; SPECIALTY ITEM (11/22/63)


46) "Stalking the President: A History of American Assassins" video (1995)


I modestly recommend this video, as it is a decent overview of past assassinations. I did not care for the annoying "official" story re: 11/22/63 and Oswald but, other than that, this serves as a nice primer on the history of political violence in our country.


Entertainment: 3.0; Overall: 3.0


47) "Dangerous World: The Kennedy Years" ABC/ video 1997


(BASED ON SEYMOUR HERSH'S BOOK, ABOVE)


I modestly recommend this video, as it contains the on-camera comments of former Secret Service agent's Tony Sherman, Larry Newman, Joe Paolella, and William "Tim" McIntyre, all of whom I have spoken to and/ or corresponded with myself. That said, I do not endorse Seymour Hersh's book, per se...but there is much of value in what these agents have to say.

Entertainment: 5.0; Overall: 4.0


48) "Presidential Limousines" video (1996)

I highly recommend this video for the great video/ film footage of the many presidential limousines and the Secret Service detail accompanying them. You will see SAIC's Ray Shaddick, Bob DeProspero, Jerry Parr, and others. I spoke to both the producer, Rick Boudreau, as well as the one Secret Service agent listed in the credits, Sam Kinney. Get this!

Entertainment: 5.0; Overall: 5.0


49) "The Story of the Secret Service" by Harry Neal (1971)


From my Amazon.Com review:

I'm confused...

As the leading civilian authority on the U.S. Secret Service, I am confused about this book: there is a book in my possession entitled "The Story of the Secret Service" by FERDINAND KUHN, with a foreward by then-Secret Service Chief U.E. Baughman...is THIS the same book (and is KUHN a penname for NEAL)? The book I have was published in 1957 by Random House. However, when I ordered it here, I received not the 1971 "Neal" book with the same title, but this one...? That aside, this book is o.k.; no great shakes. It's very dry and dated. For the curious only.

Entertainment: 2.0; Overall: 2.5


50) "Secret Service History, Duties and Equipment" by C.B. Colby (1966)


From my Amazon.Com review:

Decent short book for the young (and old)


I reluctantly impose a 3-star rating on this work. It may be short, dated, and intended for a young audience, but it DOES have some good moments, especially the photographs (I especially like the one of Stu Knight and Art Godfrey at target practice on page 20). For the Secret Service enthusiasts out there only.

Entertainment: 2.0; Overall: 2.0



51) "What Does a Secret Service Agent Do?" by W. Hyde (1962)

From my Amazon.Com review:

Good but dated book on the Secret Service; ironic, too


I feel this book, while certainly having its moments, is alittle dated and under-developed. There are some eerie moments in this work, too, especially considering it was written in 1962, the year before JFK's assassination---a picture from the supposedly apolitical Secret Service headquarters with the picture of Ike that contains the sticker "I Miss IKE" (what, don't like JFK too much, huh?), as well as some of the comments made between pages 26-30. Buy this if you are curious.

Entertainment: 2.5; Overall: 2.5



52) "Secret Service In Action" by Harry Neal (1980)


I was disappointed with this error-ridden book by the legend-in-his-own-mind Harry Neal. There IS some surprisingly good information on former Director H. Stuart "Stu" Knight. It has its moments, I guess...but needed a co-writer to flesh out the style and especially the FACTS.

Entertainment: 1.5; Overall: 1.5


53) "U S Secret Service (Know Your Government)" by Gregory Matusky (1988)

I modestly recommend this work, especially for those with a keen interest in the Secret Service. There are some fine photographs and, with a nice introduction by Arthur Schlesinger, you just can't lose. It's alittle dated, but it's still essential. Get it! P.S. That is agent Ron Pontius beside LBJ on page 66

Entertainment: 2.0; Overall: 2.5


54) "The Secret Service Story" by Michael Dorman (1967)

I reluctantly give this partial propaganda a 3-star rating, largely for the GOOD, non-propaganda information contained within. Dorman, a staunch government friend and anti-Garrison advocate, had Secret Service help with this book...which definitely tainted the results in the JFK areas of the book. If you are a Secret Service enthusiast, you have to get it, though; it's that simple.

Entertainment: 2.5-3.0; Overall: 3.0



55) "Secret Service: Life Protecting the President (Extreme Careers)" by David Seidman (2003)


I was greatly surprised and impressed with this "kids" book about the Secret Service. Some very good information about the modern Secret Service is captured in good detail. In addition, there are several nice photographs included. Buy it!

Entertainment: 3.0; Overall: 3.0


56) "The U.S. Secret Service (Your Government: How It Works)" by Ann Gaines (March 2001)


Author Ann Graham Gaines should be commended for putting together, along with Senior Consulting Editor Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., such a fine volume on the Secret Service. The funny thing is: this book may be intended for a young audience, but is actually quite appropriate for an older readership, as well! Richly illustrated with some rare photographs, I only feel it appropriate, as the leading civilian authority on the U.S. Secret Service, to say: buy this!

Entertainment: 3.0; Overall: 3.0


57) "Secret Service (High Interest Books: Top Secret)" by Mark Beyer (2003)


Richly illustrated, well written, and very informative, Mark Beyer does a fine job of providing a "Cliff Notes" tome about the Secret Service that is especially geared for the young. That said, this book is surprisingly good and can even find an audience with people of all ages. As the leading civilian authority on the U.S. Secret Service, I was not disappointed (despite the slim number of pages). ;-)

Entertainment: 2.5-3.0; Overall: 2.5-3.0


58) "Secret Service" History Channel 4-video set 1995



I must say I am very enthusiastic in my praise for this 4-video set about the Secret Service. A nice cast of characters---former agents Clint Hill, Jerry Parr, Rufus Youngblood, & Larry Beundorf among them---really makes this series come alive. In addition, very nice archival footage is used appropriately throughout. In particular, the segments on FDR, JFK, and Reagan shine the most. Highly recommended!

Entertainment: 5.0; Overall: 4.5


59) "Inside The Secret Service" Discovery Channel video (1995)



My Amazon.Com review:

I must say I was somewhat impressed with this particular program. Specifically, the producers should be thanked for getting former agents' Winston Lawson and Floyd Boring on camera (at that time in 1995, this was their first appearance on tv/ video). Also, the program does a nice job (visually) with telling the story of the Secret Service from the 19th century up to/ inc. the 3/30/81 attack on Pres. Reagan (esp. former SAIC Jerry Parr's comments). It is also nice to see future SAIC Bobby DeProspero hanging on to the limousine during Reagan's first inaugural prade (he was then an asst. to Parr). The program drops a notch when discussing counterfeiting, investigations, and training, but not enough to sway my five-star review. Buy it.

Entertainment: 4.0; Overall: 3.5-4.0


60) "National Geographic: Inside The U.S. Secret Service" dvd (2004)


From my Amazon.Com review:

A reluctant 5 stars...read on


While I think this dvd is highly entertaining and informative, and while I also think the layman out there will truly enjoy it, for the very well informed like myself (I am the leading civilian authority on the Secret Service, especially with regard to the period from FDR to Reagan), I have some mixed emotions. For one, like the 1995 History Channel and 1995 Discovery Channel documentaries (both available only on vhs), this was an officially-sanctioned production, so, needless to say, trade secrets and controversy are kept to a bare minimum, to put it mildly. Second, while Clint Hill appears on all 3 productions, I feel even more could have been said by him about not only the events of 11/22/63, but with regard to the JFK/ LBJ years, in general (he DOES state that the back of the head behind the right ear was gone, thus corroborating his own 1963 SS report and 1964 WC testimony; it's good to hear him actually say the words). In addition, as with the Discovery Channel production (and the 1996 PBS special re: Truman), former ASAIC/ #2 agent under JFK Floyd M. Boring makes a noteworthy appearance, but, as with his other two appearances, only to deal with the infamous 11/1/50 Blair House assassination attempt on President Truman; nothing about his role as planner of the Texas trip and so forth.

In addition to the "usual suspects" (Hill, Boring, Jerry Parr), it would have been nice to seem some new faces like Joe Petro (with a book out right now) and Robert DeProspero (SAIC during part of the Reagan years, between Parr and Shaddick).

Still, for 90-99% of the viewing audience, you will find much to like about this documentary, arguably the best of the 3, although I feel the 1995 History Channel documentary is the best for the early days of the Secret Service. For the JFK years, please read "Murder In Dealey Plaza" by Fetzer and "The Secret Service" by Melanson, as well as "Survivor's Guilt: The Secret Service & The Failure To Protect The President" by yours truly
--
Probably the best Secret Service documentary to date

Entertainment: 4.5; Overall: 4.0-4.5

61) "Secrets of the Secret Service" Discovery Channel video/ dvd (2009)



A real mixed bag here---some good, some not so good. Former agents Funk and Petro perhaps gave compromising, error-laced comments, but it was good to see the 11/22/63 Love Field agent recall video and the relatively-correct spin on what it depicts.

Entertainment: 3.5; Overall: 3.0-3.5



62) "Walking With Presidents: Stories From Inside The Perimeter" by Michael Endicott (2009)


Michael Endicott graduated from St. Martin's University in 1965. He was a Special Agent with the United States Secret Service from 1965–1985. He was assigned to President Nixon and Secretary of State Kissinger and was Operations Supervisor to Vice Presidents Rockefeller and Mondale. He was also head of former President Nixon's detail from 1979–1985. When Nixon relinquished his government provided Secret Service detail, Mr. Endicott retired and took responsibility for Nixon’s protection under his own company, Endicott Associates, and became a Special Assistant to Richard Nixon, traveling with him as Staff Assistant in meetings with world leaders and high government officials.

This is a decent book that certainly has its moments, while it's pro-Nixon feel may turn off some readers.

Entertainment: 3.0; Overall: 3.0

63) "Survivor's Guilt: The Secret Service & The Failure To Protect The President" by Vince Palamara [reviewer] (1993/2006)


My book is listed in many other book's bibliographies (Vincent Bugliosi,Philip Melanson, Phillip Nelson, etc.) , as well as being referenced in the actual text of many more (Mark Lane, Noel Twyman, Harry Livingstone, William Law, etc). Since I feel it is crass to review one's own book, I will just say this: warts and all, it is the antidote to "The Kennedy Detail". After being available in softcover (self-published [1993-1996; 1998-2006] JFK LANCER [1997-1998]), the book was made available as a free online work in 2006:

http://www.assassinationresearch.com/v4n1.html

See also:

http://www.assassinationresearch.com/v4n2.html

SPECIALTY ITEM (11/22/63)


64) "Behind Closed Doors With The Secret Service" by Joan Lunden (2000)

Pretty cheesey production alleging to depict the "behind the scenes" of the agency. While it has its moments, it left this reviewer cold.

Entertainment: 2.0; Overall: 2.0


65) "Secret Service Files" National Geographic dvd (2011)


Product Description: With unprecedented access, National Geographic goes behind the scenes with Secret Service agents as they work each day to protect the president, foreign leaders, and even our economy.
In four programs, we'll go inside a counterfeit sting operation in Miami, search for a cyber theft mastermind in New York City, shadow undercover agents deep within the Bogota criminal underworld, and go where no cameras have gone before to reveal the extreme security measures taken to prepare for the Annual General Assembly of the United Nations.

Verdict: skillfully done with the best of intentions, but perhaps TOO much is revealed for comfort.

Entertainment: 3.0; Overall: 3.0


66) "The President's Book of Secrets" History Channel dvd (2010)



A decent, entertaining program which includes a segment with former agent Joe Petro exclaiming a few times that he is "not at liberty to discuss" certain security measures...he finally caught on. :-)

I was almost on this program---the producer contacted me earlier in 2010 but we could not agree to terms as far as travel costs, etc.

Entertainment: 3.5-4.0; Overall: 3.0


----------------------------------
Saving the best for last...


67)"Within Arm's Length" by Dan Emmett (2012) [NOT RELEASED YET; PRELIMINARY THOUGHTS AS OF 11/28/11-MORE TO COME]



I must say, in all candor, after having read all the good, not so good, pathetic, and "kiddie" books on the Secret Service, many of which are dry, clinical, dated, or pontificate on and on about positive or negative feelings about certain protectees, this work stands head and shoulders above the rest; a breath of fresh air...a refreshing change. Only Petro's book competes, which really says alot coming at this late juncture. Emmett has a very fine and distinguished background (Marine Corps Officer, Secret Service [Reagan to Bush, serving on CAT and/ or PPD for Bush #41-Bush #43, rising to the position of ATSAIC], CIA, Adjunct Professor, Consultant)to write such a tome; perhaps that is the difference (even his wife has a fairly distinguished background as an agent herself). The book is very well written and put together, especially for a first time author (the work also includes some nice graphics depicting Emmett with Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, & George W Bush, as well as Ted Kennedy). What I especially like about this book is that you really visualize what the author is depicting in text---you almost feel like YOU have lived through the fascinating situations outlined. Much more to come...this is just a short, thumbnail sketch (halfway through reading at the moment). BUY THIS WHEN IT IS RELEASED ASAP!

Entertainment: 5.0; Overall: 5.0; TIED WITH PETRO'S FOR BEST OVERALL SECRET SERVICE BOOK BUT SURPASSES IT FOR BEING EVEN MORE UP TO DATE AND CURRENT WHILE COVERING MORE INTERESTING GROUND