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


District of Columbia

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.]


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.

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."

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.

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