IN THE PRESIDENT'S SECRET SERVICE: BEHIND THE SCENES WITH AGENTS IN THE LINE OF FIRE AND THE PRESIDENTS THEY PROTECT (Three Rivers Press, on sale August 3, 2010), Kessler penetrated the wall of secrecy that surrounds the U.S. Secret Service for the first time and portrays the dangers that agents face, how they carry out their missions, how they are trained, how they spot and assess potential threats, and much more.
Ronald Kessler reveals in the new edition of IN THE PRESIDENT'S SECRET SERVICE:
· Threats against President Obama have became so disturbing that the FBI has established a Presidential Threat Task Force to gather, track, and evaluate assassination threats that might be related to domestic or international terrorism.
· Threats against Obama rose by as much as 400 percent compared with when President Bush was in office. At the same time, the Secret Service has been “spinelessly” acceding to requests by Obama administration officials for Secret Service protection in instances where there are no threats against them. As a result, 40 Obama administration officials and White House aides are under Secret Service protection, compared with 32 under George W. Bush. Kessler says that no one outside of the government has heard of most of them, but they have one thing in common: They enjoy being chauffeured free of charge by the Secret Service.
· The expansion in protection has occurred while the Secret Service is jeopardizing the president's safety by cutting corners because of understaffing.
· The new edition explains how Secret Service deficiencies led to the intrusion by Michaele and Tareq Salahi at the White House State Dinner. It recounts how Kessler obtained a scoop on the fact that the Secret Service, during its investigation of the incident, found that a third uninvited guest attended the dinner. Two hours after Kessler's story ran on Newsmax.com, the Secret Service confirmed it.
In addition, IN THE PRESIDENT'S SECRET SERVICE discloses assassination attempts that have never before been revealed. Kessler shares insider accounts of past assaults that have put the Secret Service to the test, including a heroic gun battle that took down the would-be assassins of Harry S. Truman, the devastating day that John F. Kennedy was killed in Dallas, and the swift actions that saved Ronald Reagan after he was shot. Kessler also exposes how Secret Service management in recent years has betrayed its mission by cutting corners, risking the assassination of President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and future presidential candidates.
Based on exclusive interviews with more than one hundred current and former Secret Service agents, IN THE PRESIDENT'S SECRET SERVICE also reveals:
· Because the Secret Service has been cutting corners since its absorption by the Homeland Security Department, when Vice President Joe Biden threw the first pitch at the first Baltimore Orioles game of the 2009 season, the Secret Service did not screen any of the more than forty thousand fans, stunning agents on his detail and the agency's Baltimore field office. Contrary to Biden's claims, he compromised the location of a secret underground bunker built to protect the vice president.
· When he was President George W. Bush's Treasury secretary, John Snow traveled to his hometown of Richmond almost every weekend and saw a woman agents believed was his mistress, incurring huge expenses for taxpayers because the Secret Service had to accompany him.
· Vice President Spiro Agnew, a champion of family values, had extramarital affairs while in office.
· George W. Bush's daughters, Barbara Bush and Jenna Bush Hager, gave their Secret Service details a hard time and would try to lose their agents.
· Based on a psychic's vision that a sniper would assassinate President George H. W. Bush when he arrived in Enid, Oklahoma, to give a speech, the Secret Service changed his motorcade route.
· To make the press think he came to work early, Jimmy Carter would walk into the Oval Office at 5 a.m., then nod off to sleep. Carter refused to allow the military aide with the nuclear football to stay near his home in Plains, Georgia, jeopardizing the nation's safety when he was staying there.
· Lyndon Johnson would order Secret Service agents to drive on crowded sidewalks so he could make an appointment on time. Johnson would urinate in front of the press corps, which included women reporters. He had a stable of women with whom he had sex at the White House and at his ranch.
· Vice President Dick Cheney's daughter Mary, who was guarded by the Secret Service along with her baby, demanded that the Secret Service shuttle her friends to restaurants. When her detail leader objected, she had the agent removed.
· At a Halloween party, Jenna Bush's now-husband, Henry Hager, became so inebriated that the Secret Service wound up taking him to Georgetown University Hospital. Another time, he became drunk with Jenna in a Georgetown bar and picked a fight with several other patrons. The Secret Service had to intervene to avoid a brawl.
· Because of objections by the wife of the secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, the Secret Service stopped performing checks on workers cleaning the Chertoffs' home, even though agents knew that many of the workers were illegal immigrants.
· In contrast to John McCain, Barack Obama - code-named Renegade - and Michelle Obama - code-named Renaissance - treat agents with consideration and respect. Contrary to Obama's repeated claims that he is giving up smoking, he has continued to smoke regularly.
· When Gary Hart was running for president and before his affair with Donna Rice was revealed, his friend Warren Beatty would arrange to have one or two stunning young models or actresses meet him at Beatty's house in Beverly Hills. As Secret Service agents watched through a fence, the women would remove their bikini tops and hop in an outdoor hot tub, then spend the evening with the married presidential candidate.
· Under pressure from presidential candidates or the White House, the Secret Service will shut down magnetometer screening for weapons at major events so as not to inconvenience stragglers when the president or a candidate is about to speak.
· While Secret Service agents are often heroic, the agency uses subterfuge to make them seem more so. When members of Congress and other VIPs visit the Secret Service training facility, the agency presents scenarios where agents respond to a threat. While the demonstration is billed as spontaneous, it is secretly rehearsed.
· In recent years, the Secret Service has equipped agents with outmoded firearms, so they could be outgunned. The service has driven away experienced agents through senseless transfer policies and reduced to almost nothing firearms requalification, physical training, and agent testing. Given such laxity, “It's a miracle we have not had a successful assassination,” a current agent says.
Since an assassination jeopardizes democracy itself, few agencies are as important to the United States as the Secret Service. Only Secret Service agents know the real story about our nation's leaders, and Ronald Kessler is the only journalist who has gained their trust. In importance to the country and in revelations about our nation's leaders, IN THE PRESIDENT'S SECRET SERVICE is unique.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ronald Kessler is the New York Times bestselling author of eighteen nonfiction books, including The Terrorist Watch, Inside the White House, The CIA at War, and The Bureau. A former Washington Post and Wall Street Journal reporter, Kessler has won seventeen journalism awards.