Is the Secret Service "Secret?"

In the President's Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect - Ronald Kessler

In this book, the author, Ronald Kessler, takes the reader "behind the scenes" in the lives of several of our presidents.  Many of us have probably wondered (with respect to any of the presidents) "what's the president really like?"  Well, to some extent, this book answers that question.  The viewpoints expressed are those of former Secret Service Agents who served on the presidential protection detail.


I wasn't surprised that President Jimmy Carter was, in the view of the agents protecting him, one of the most aloof and unfriendly presidents. Carter would treat the agents protecting him as servants.  These men were not allowed to make eye contact with him much less greet him with a "good morning" or "good evening."  He expected the agents to carry his bags when he was traveling, something which one agent expressed "is beyond our job description."


On the other hand, one of the agents' favorite presidents was Ronald Reagan - no surprise here.  He treated the men and women who protected him with genuine respect and a sense of humor.


The "crudest" president, by far, was Lyndon B. Johnson who, in private, was foul-mouthed and bigoted and thought nothing of "relieving" himself off the deck of his ranch home in "the rolling hills" of Texas.  This description of Johnson reminded me of a "spoof" book that appeared in the late 1960s:  "Quotations from Chairman LBJ."  At the beginning of this little "red book," which mocked another little red book during the same time period (Quotations from Chairman Mao), Johnson was quoted as saying "Don't spit in the soup, we all gotta eat."


There are many other fascinating revelations in this book and if you did ever wonder "what is he like" you will enjoy this book!