Title: In The President’s Secret Service: Behind The Scenes With Agents In The Line Of Fire And The Presidents They Protect
Author: Ronald Kessler
Pages: 265, paperback
What I Thought: It was a pretty interesting read. It alternated between stories about the different presidents and the background/history/culture of the Secret Service.
The book delves into how the Secret Service is understaffed, and cutting corners in protecting the president, vice-president, and other VIP’s. There are quite a few mentions of the Secret Service bowing down to the people they protect. There’s a story of how Mary Cheney (one of Dick Cheney’s daughters) had one of her agents removed from her detail because he wouldn’t drive her friends to a restaurant.
The whole cutting corners thing is a bit scary: there were several instances throughout the book where it’s mentioned that crowds were allowed into events without going through the magnetometers, which were shut off early in order to get the crowds through.
There were a lot of stories from past and present agents, and it gave some insight onto what they thought of the presidents and the agency they work for.
I actually found the anecdotes really interesting: Jimmy Carter would go into the oval office early in the morning to make people think he went into work early…and then take a nap. Or how Nancy Reagan didn’t like it when her California friends got their magazine subscriptions before she did.
Rating: 3 out of 5. It wasn’t organized well, and it was somewhat difficult to find the info I wanted. It was also repetitive, especially in regards to how the secret service is cutting corners and how management treats the agents. However, it did give insight into what it’s like to be a secret service agent (at least to a certain degree), and the timeline of the secret service was pretty useful.
I’m not sure how much of it I’ll end up using, but it was a pretty good read.