Simply put, Robert DeProspero is the finest protection agent the Secret Service has ever had and, along with Jerry Parr and (surprise!) Jerry Behn, is my favorite agent; a personal hero of mine. This humble blog stands as a tribute to the great former agent [note: Mr DeProspero does not necessarily endorse or espouse any of the views held herein]
Saturday, March 10, 2012
Former Secret Service Agent Dishes On Clinton White House In BookBy Claire Gordon , Posted Mar 9th 2012 @ 6:43PM A former Secret Service agent is stirring controversy with his new memoir that leaks details about former President Bill Clinton. News outlets, from the Washington Examiner to Fox News and The Washington Post, are abuzz over the following remarks Dan Emmett made in his self-published memoir:• He describes Clinton’s staff, which was much younger than that of predecessor George H.W. Bush, as immature and defiant. They treated their White House gigs as “a grand cool adventure,” he writes, and agents like himself as the “hired help.”• On a 1993 trip, Clinton insisted on walking the “Bridge of No Return” that separates North and South Korea, endangering his own life and the fragile peace between the two nations for “a pointless photo op.”
• He also implies that Hillary Clinton is aloof. At one point, he notes in his book that one time Bill and Chelsea said “thank you” after exiting the presidential limousine, while Hilary was “silent.”
The Secret Service understandably isn’t thrilled with the book.
“We do stress to all our employees the importance of not sharing anecdotes about the personal, private moments of the protectees,” Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan told the Washington Examiner. “It causes concern because we don’t want to erode the trust we have with our protectees.”
Emmett, who has protected three presidents over 21 years, says that’s a “standard comment that they give to the media any time,” and may be issued again soon, when John F. Kennedy’s Secret Service agent and Emmett’s personal hero, Clint Hill, releases his own memoir next month. In fact, Emmett says that he deliberately held back salacious detail.
“I sent President Clinton the book,” he said. “I hope he’s not offended by it.”
Emmett admits that he bashed Clinton’s staff. “It’s characteristic of a lot of Democratic presidents to bring in a lot of young people and give them a chance, their friends, or their friends’ kids,” Emmett says. “They’re not on time. They don’t make meetings. They can be defiant.”
But he also says that Clinton’s staff matured over time, as they learned the workings of the White House and the value of the Secret Service. He also emphasizes that those comments weren’t at all about Clinton himself. “These were his young staffers,” he said. “A lot of the time the president doesn’t even know who they are.”
When it comes to that photo of Clinton on the border of North Korea, Emmett says that he didn’t intend his remark as a criticism of Clinton. “His golly gee whiz staff probably thought it would be a good photo op.”
More significant is what this so-called “tell all” doesn’t tell. Emmett excluded hundreds of juicy anecdotes, because Secret Service agents “afford the president two courtesies,” he says, “we’ll sacrifice our lives for him, and we don’t talk about that stuff.”
Emmett, who ran with the president in the mornings and guarded his bedroom door at night, probably could have dished a lot about the man who supposedly recruited state troopers to arrange sexual liaisons. “If you want those kinds of anecdotes,” he says, “read Kessler’s book,” referring to Ronald Kessler’s controversial expose about the Secret Service.
“If the Clintons read my book, they’ll probably think, ‘Why is anyone even making a big deal about this?’ I didn’t talk about Monica, or Whitewater, or Paula Jones.”
Emmett, who was raised on “academics, God, and patriotism,” may not have agreed with Clinton’s politics. But that would never affect his commitment to guarding him, if need be with his life. It wasn’t really about the man at all, he says, but about preserving the office he occupied.
“If the president gets killed, it’s damaging to the country,” Emmett says. “It has ramifications throughout the world.”
Emmett also didn’t disclose a lot of inside details because he worried it would endanger national security. There’s been a lot of media scrutiny into the Secret Service in recent years, including two TV series, “Secrets of the Secret Service” and “Secret Service Secrets.”
“They showed motorcade tactics and the schematics of the president’s limousine, and what kinds of weapons the armor could withstand,” he said. “It’s just totally insane in my mind.”
While these details may not be a problem, he says, “if you collect enough pieces, and put them together, you have a plan,” he said. “And these assassins, these terrorists, they plan.”
He wasn’t going to take any chances with his own book, which he’s sure al Qaeda has already read.
Emmett never wanted to leak a secret or make a partisan jab, because he would never want to entangle himself in what he calls “the mess of Washington.” He may have worked for the government for his entire career, but “I never thought I was working for the government,” he says. “I was working for America.”
Friday, March 9, 2012
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
THE best book EVER written on the Secret Service is available NOW: “Within Arm’s Length: The Extraordinary Life and Career of a Special Agent in the United States Secret Service” by Dan Emmett
Available at Amazon.Com:
http://www.amazon.com/Within-Arms-Length-Extraordinary-Special/dp/1462070728/ref=cm_rdp_productAlso Available at iUniverse:
softcover-http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000455072/Within-Arms-Length.aspxas an E-book-http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000455074/Within-Arms-Length.aspx
Available in late February from Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, Kendall, Nook and others.
Dan Emmett was just eight years old when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The events surrounding the president’s death shaped the course of young Emmett’s life as he set a goal of becoming a US Secret Service agent—one of a special group of people willing to trade their lives for that of the president, if necessary.
Within Arm’s Length narrates the story of Emmett’s journey in this coveted job—from the application process to his retirement as assistant to the special agent in charge on the elite Presidential Protective Division (PPD). Here he discusses some of his more high-profile assignments in his twenty-one years of service, including the PPD and the Counter Assault Team where he provided arm’s length protection worldwide for Presidents George Herbert Walker Bush, William Jefferson Clinton, and George W. Bush.
This memoir describes the professional challenges faced by Secret Service agents as well as the physical and emotional toll that can be inflicted on both agents and their families. Within Arm’s Length also shares firsthand details about the duties and challenges of conducting presidential advances, dealing with the media, driving the president in a bullet-proof limousine, running alongside him through the streets of Washington, and flying with him on Air Force One.
With fascinating anecdotes, Emmett weaves keen insight into the unique culture and history of the Secret Service
The best book on the Secret Service ever written! A must have! Outstanding!
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.
“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
Monday, January 2, 2012
#1 William P. Wood (1865-5/5/1869)
#2 Herman C. Whitley (1869-1874)
#3 Elmer Washburn (1874-1876)
#4 James J. Brooks (1876-1888)
#5 John S. Bell (1888-1890)
#6 A.L. Drummond (1891-1894)
#7 William P. Hazen (1894-1898)
#8 John E. Wilkie (1898-1911)
#9 William J. Flynn (1912-1917)
#10 William Henry Moran (1917-1936)
#11 Frank J. Wilson (1/1/36-12/31/46) FDR/ Truman; Manchester, his own book; deceased
#12 James J. Maloney (1947-1948)
#13 U.E. Baughman (1948-1961)—his own book; deceased 11/78
#14 James J. Rowley (Sept. 1961-1973)—deceased 11/1/92
#15 H. Stuart “Stu” Knight (1973-1981)—retired
#16 John R. Simpson (1981-1992)—Director of U.S. Parole Commission
#17 John W. Magaw (2/2/1992-9/30/1993)—Director of ATF
#18 Eljay B. Bowron (12/7/1993-1997)—Inspector General for the Interior Department
#19 Lewis C. Merletti (6/6/97-11/12/98)—Director of security for the
#20 Brian L. Stafford (3/4/99-2003)
#21 W. Ralph Basham (1/27/03-2006)
#22 Mark J. Sullivan (2006-
PRESIDENTIAL LIMOUSINE (1961 MODIFIED STRETCH LINCOLN CONTINENTAL, SS-100-X, license # GG 300) AND SECRET SERVICE FOLLOW-UP CAR (1956 CADILLAC CONVERTIBLE, SS-679-X, A.KA. “THE QUEEN MARY,” license # GG 678):
11/22/63 UP TO/INC. PARKLAND HOSPITAL- SS-100-X: DRIVEN BY SA WILLIAM R. GREER; SS-679-X: DRIVEN BY SA SAMUEL A. KINNEY;
PARKLAND HOSPITAL TO LOVE FIELD/ C-130 CARGO PLANE:
Kinney places bubbletop and fabric top on SS-100-X with the help of a DPD motorcycle officer; Hickey stands by; Kinney given permission to drive the cars back to Love Field by ASAIC (#3) Roy H. Kellerman
SS-100-X: DRIVEN BY SA GEORGE W. HICKEY, JR. WITH DALLAS SA JOHN JOE HOWLETT BESIDE HIM [Hickey would go on to drive the SS-679-X during the May 1964 Warren Commission reenactments, while Howlett participated in the Commission’s Texas School Book Depository stairway reenactment] SS-679-X: DRIVEN BY SA SAMUEL A. KINNEYC-130: KINNEY, HICKEY, SS-100-X. SS-679-X, + THE 76TH AIR TRANSPORT SQUADRON FROM CHARLESTON (S.C.) AIR FORCE BASE:
CAPT. ROLAND THOMASON (PILOT); WAYNE SCHAKE; VINCENT GULLO; HERSAL WOOSLEY; DAVID CONN; STEPHEN BENING; FRANK ROBERSON
(Kinney finds the back part of JFK’s skull lying in the rear of the car and puts in a phone patch to Dr. Burkley aboard Air Force One hours before “official” limousine inspection)
CARS ARRIVED AT ANDREWS AFB AT 8:00 P.M.
Kellerman tells Chief James J. Rowley (also at AAFB) that the cars should be looked over; independent of this, ASAIC (#2) Floyd M. Boring (also at AAFB) and Deputy Chief Paul J. Paterni have the very same thoughts [note: Paterni would later become involved in the investigation of LHO’s Income Tax Check, along with WFO SAIC Robert Powis (later, Asst. Dir. under Reagan), SAIC J. Leroy Lewis of the Forgery Section, and Dallas SAIC Forrest V. Sorrels]
CARS ARRIVE AT WHITE HOUSE GARAGE AT 9:00 P.M.:
KINNEY DROVE SS-100-X BACK TO GARAGE WITH WFO (Washington Field Office) AND FORMER LBJ AGENT CHARLES E. TAYLOR, JR. BESIDE HIM; HICKEY DROVE SS-679-X BACK TO GARAGE WITH WFO SA’S RICHARD “DICK” E. KEISER AND DONALD F. BRETT BESIDE HIM
“OFFICIAL” LIMOUSINE INSPECTION BEGINS AT 10:10 P.M.:
BORING, PATERNI, KINNEY+ REPRESENTATIVES FROM DR. BURKLEY’S OFFICE (PART OF THE WH MEDICAL STAFF):
CHIEF PETTY OFFICER WILLIAM MARTINELL; CHIEF PETTY OFFICER THOMAS MILLS
ALSO: TAYLOR, IN HIS REPORT TO WFO SAIC HARRY W. GEIGLEIN [CD 80], NOTES THAT HE SAW A “SMALL HOLE” IN THE WINDSHIELD OF SS-100-X (TAYLOR WAS THERE FROM 9:00 P.M. UNTIL 12 MID)
OTHERS WHO SAW/ KNEW OF HOLE:
CHICAGO SA ABRAHAM W. BOLDEN, SR- INTERVIEW 9/16/93; DPD OFFICERS STAVIS ELLIS AND H.R. FREEMAN- CFTR RADIO INTERVIEW, 1976; NEWSMEN RICHARD DUDMAN AND FRANK CORMIER- ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 12/1/63; SPECTATORS EVALEA GLANGES AND CARL RENAS- “JFK CONSPIRACY OF
SILENCE”, PP. 105-106; NICK PRENCIPE, UNITED STATES PARK POLICE MOTORCYCLE OFFICER-“CAR CRASH CULTURE,” PAGES 171 & 173; TWO DIFFERENT CALLERS: TO THE “JIM BOHANNON” RADIO SHOW, 11/22/93, AND TO “LARRY KING” TV SHOW, JANUARY 1992.
OTHERS WHO NOTED OTHER THINGS OF SIGNIFICANCE:
SAIC GERALD A. BEHN- SKULL FOUND IN REAR SEAT (FBI/S&O INTERVIEW, 11/27/63); GREER- CLAIMED TO NOT NOTICE WINDSHIELD DAMAGE AND CHROME DENTING RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM UNTIL AN UNNAMED AGENT POINTED IT OUT TO HIM ON 11/23/63 (2 H 122); KELLERMAN- FELT WINDSHIELD ON 11/27/63, BUT IT “FEELS SMOOTH TODAY”, 3/9/64 (2 H 89); SKULL IN REAR SEAT (2 H 85); FRAGMENTS (2 H 90); WH GARAGE SAIC MORGAN L. GIES- “THE DAY KENNEDY WAS SHOT” BY JIM BISHOP, P. 511, 1992 EDITION; CLINTON J. HILL- BACK OF SKULL IN REAR SEAT (2 H 141)WHP (White House Police/ Uniformed Division of Secret Service) ON SECURITY:
J.W. EDWARDS; J.C. ROWE; [fnu] SNYDER (FROM 3:25 P.M. TO 11:25 P.M.); [fnu] RUBENSTAL (FROM 12:30 P.M. TO 11:00 P.M.); SGT. [fnu] BURKE (7:25 A.M. TO 11:00
P.M.); [fnu] EDMUNDS (11:25 P.M. TO 7:25 A.M.)
WFO AGENTS ON SECURITY:
KEISER (9:00 P.M. TO 12 MID) [Later, became SAIC of WHD, Nixon- Carter]; BRETT (9:00 P.M. TO 12 MID); GILBERT J. PARASCHOS (11/23: 12:01 A.M. TO 8:00 A.M.); MARTIN J. KENNEDY (11/23: 12:01 A.M. TO 8:00 A.M.); FRANK HANCOCK (11/23: 8:00 A.M. TO 12 NOON); CLAUDE E. DAVIS, JR (11/23: 8:00 A.M. TO 5:00 P.M.) [Originally from Charlotte, N.C. office; temporarily assigned to Dallas office 12/23/63 tp 2/2/64 (41 days)] VICTOR J.
GONZALEZ (11/23: 12:00 P.M. TO 5:00 P.M.); JOHN R. SIMPSON (11/23: 4:00 P.M. TO 5:00 P.M.) [Later, SAIC of WHD, Carter era; Director of Secret Service, 1981 to 1992]
FBI INSPECTION BEGINS AT 1:00 A.M. 11/23/63: [SEE 5H71]
ORRIN H. BARTLETT (1:05 A.M. TO 1:55 A.M)- DROVE LIMO OUT OF THE GARAGE BIN A FEW FEET; CHARLES L. KILLIAN (1:05 A.M. TO 4:35 A.M.); CORTLANDT CUNNINGHAM (SAME AS ABOVE); ROBERT A. FRAZIER (SAME AS ABOVE); WALTER E. THOMAS (SAME AS ABOVE)
PRS SAIC ROBERT I. BOUCK- CONTACTED BY GONZALEZ; BY REQUEST, MISC. DEBRIS ON REAR FLOOR OF LIMO SENT TO WFO
PRS PHOTOGRAPHERS JAMES “JACK” K. FOX AND HOWARD K. NORTON
(NORTON HAD BEEN IN AUSTIN ON 11/22)- PHOTOGRAPHED SS-100-X AT 4:00 P.M. ON 11/23/63Limo Clean-Up/ Secret Service actions re: limo at Parkland Hospital:
1) “TheWay We Were-1963: The Year Kennedy Was Shot” by Robert MacNeil (1988, Carrol & Graf), p. 197:”The president’s car was there [Parkland Hospital], still at the point where it had pulled up, and they had taken the president out into that emergency entrance…I remember that the Secret Service men were then STARTING TO MOP UP THE BACK SEAT OF THE BIG LINCOLN THE PRESIDENT WAS PUT IN, and a few minutes later they started putting the fabric top on it. And when I went over to look at it a little closer, one of the agents waved me aside and said, ‘You can’t look.’ Later, of course, it seemed ironic that this wall of protection went up when it of course could do no good…”
2) 21 H 226: Parkland Hospital Orderly Joe L. Richards: asked to get a bucket of water; he complied.
3) 21 H 217: Nurse Shirley Randall: was asked if she “would get someone to come and wash the blood out of the car.” She said that she would, but was so nervous and excited she forgot about it.
4) “Time” Magazine, 11/29/63, p. 24—reporter Hugh Sidey: “A guard was set up around the Lincoln as Secret Service men got a pail of water and tried to wash the blood from the car.”
5) ABC, 11/22/63—reporter Don Gardner:”Outside the hospital, blood had to be wiped from the limousine”;
6) “New York Times”, 11/23/63, p. 2—reporter Tom Wicker:”…the police were guarding the Presidential car closely. A bucket of water stood by the car, suggesting that the back seat had been scrubbed out.”
7) “The Day Kennedy Was Shot” by Jim Bishop, p. 352 [1992 edition]: “…the Secret Service detail was sorry that hospital orderlies had sponged it [the limousine] out.”
8) “The Death of a President” by William Manchester, p. 180n [1988 edition]: “An inaccurate [?] story reported that they washed out the back seat with a bucket of water. Actually, this was contemplated.”
9) “That Day In Dallas” by Richard Trask (1998), page 35 [based off a 7/10/85 interview with Stoughton; same as page 42 of Trask’s “Pictures of the Pain”]—“[Cecil] Stoughton recalls that a man was washing the seat “with a cloth, and he had a bucket. There was blood all over the seat, and flower petals and stuff on the floor.” On page 37 there is a Stoughton photo with the caption “A bucket at his feet, an agent [Kinney] is seen leaning into the back seat of the Lincoln cleaning up some of the gore.” [Same photo, without this caption, appears on page 41 of “Pictures Of The Pain”];
10) “Pictures of The Pain” by Richard Trask (1994), pages 377 and 383 [based off a 5/23/85 interview with Thomas Craven, Jr.]—“The Secret Service cleaning the blood out of the car—the flowers still lying in the back seat—and just chaos until the police figured out what was happening, and then they started to push us off.”
11)-12) 18 H 731-732—SS Agent Sam Kinney; 18 H 763-764—SS Agent George Hickey:
The two agents who put on the bubbletop—with the assistance of a DPD motorcycle officer—at Parkland: they are pictured in the infamous photos/films of the bucket beside the limousine: “JFK Assassination File” by DPD Chief Jesse Curry, p. 36 (see also p. 34: same photo, different angle in UPI’s “Four Days”, p. 25); Texas News newsreel (“Kennedy In Texas” video); WFAA/ ABC video 11/22/63; Cooper/ Sturges film; “Reasonable Doubt” by Henry Hurt (1985), p. 84;
13) 10/14/98 letter to Vince Palamara from Henry Burroughs— “The limousines that had carried the Presidential party and the Vice-Presidential party were askew. An agent with a stainless steel hospital bucket was cleaning up the rear seat of the President’s limousine. Flowers were strewn over rear seats of both limos.”
14) DPD Bobby Joe Dale—“No More Silence” by Larry Sneed (1998), pp. 135-136″…the President was on the gurney beside the car, and they were wheeling him in. At that time, it was obvious that nobody could have survived a wound like that…Blood and matter was everywhere inside the car including a bone fragment which was oblong shaped, probably an inch to an inch and a half long by three-quarters of an inch wide. As I turned it over and looked at it, I determined that it came from some part of the forehead because there was hair on it which appeared to be near the hairline. There were other fragments around, but that was the largest piece that grabbed my attention. What stood out in my mind was that there was makeup up to the hairline. Apparently he had used makeup for the cameras to knock down the glare. It was fairly distinct where it stopped and the wrap of skin took up. Other than that, nobody messed with anything inside the car in any manner, shape, or form. Nobody said, “Clean this up!” We then put the top up and secured it.”
15) 2/26/78 HSCA interview of Kinney—“someone wanted to wash the (Presidential) car [at Parkland]. I said no one touch.”
16) 18 H 801: Hurchel Jacks, Texas Highway Patrolman assigned to drive LBJ’s car in Dallas motorcade—“ We were assigned by the [Secret Service] to prevent any pictures of any kind to be taken of the President’s car or the inside.” 8/31/98 letter to author from Mrs. H.D. (Bobbie) Jacks, widow of Hurchel Jacks (Jacks passed away 12/19/95): “…he guarded Kennedy’s car to make sure that no photos were taken.” (See also “Encyclopedia of the JFK Assassination,” page 121)
17) CD 3 Exhibits: Milton Wright, Texas Highway Patrolman assigned to drive Mayor Cabell’s car in the Dallas motorcade—“…we were instructed to keep the news media away from the car.”
18) DPD James W. Courson & DPD Stavis Ellis—told author Larry Sneed about an incident whereupon a Secret Service agent destroyed the film of a young boy who took pictures of the limousine at Parkland [“No More Silence”, pages 130 & 148].Skull Fragments:
FIRST LADY JACKIE KENNEDY—5 H 180 / testimony [see also “Murder From Within” by Fred Newcomb and Perry Adams (1974), pp. 138-139: what comes from the unedited transcript is in parentheses]—“And just as I turned and looked at him, I could see a piece of his skull (sort of wedge-shaped like that), and I remember it was flesh colored (with little ridges at the top). I remember thinking he just looked as if he had a slight headache. And I just remember seeing that. No blood or anything. And then he sort of did this [indicating], put his hand to his forehead and fell in my lap… [Reference to wounds deleted]”—! 4/11/72 declassified testimony excerpts (as reproduced in “Post Mortem” by Harold Weisberg, pp. 380-381 [Groden quotes this in the program “JFK: An Unsolved Murder”, KRON, 11/18/88, which was repeated in “JFK: The Case for Conspiracy” video 1993,as well as “The Killing of a President”, p. 38)—“I was trying to hold his hair on. But from the front there was nothing. I suppose there must have been. But from the back you could see, you know, you were trying to hold his hair on, and his skull on.” 1/29/63 interview with writer Theodore H. White: his notes released 5/26/95—“I could see a piece of his skull coming off; it was flesh colored not white—he was holding out his hand—and I can see this perfectly clean piece detaching itself from his head; then he slumped in my lap…” SAIC GERALD A. BEHN- SKULL FOUND IN REAR SEAT (FBI/S&O INTERVIEW, 11/27/63)[Behn: 9/27/92 interviews (3) by Vince Palamara; deceased 4/93]; KELLERMAN-; SKULL IN REAR SEAT (2H85); CLINTON J. HILL- BACK OF SKULL IN REAR SEAT (2H141); THREE pieces of skull found by none other than ASAIC FLOYD BORING during the “official” Secret Service limousine inspection late on 11/22/63(CD 80. p.3), four hours before the FBI did the same- this is separate from the finding made by Kinney on the C-130 will en route to Andrews Air Force Base; the “Harper fragment” CD 5, pp. 150-151, CD 1269 and FBI 89-43-479 (11/25/63); DPD STAVIS ELLIS: 9/8/98 letter to Vince Palamara—“Yes, I did see a hole in the limousine windshield at Parkland Hospital. I did not see the bone fragment. The officer on the escort with me said there was one fragment, approximately 6 or 7 inches around.” DPD BOBBY JOE DALE:”No More Silence” by Larry Sneed (1998), pp.135-136″…the President was on the gurney beside the car, and they were wheeling him in. At that time, it was obvious that nobody could have survived a wound like that…Blood and matter was everywhere inside the car including a bone fragment which was oblong shaped, probably an inch to an inch and a half long by three-quarters of an inch wide. As I turned it over and looked at it, I determined that it came from some part of the forehead because there was hair on it which appeared to be near the hairline. There were other fragments around, but that was the largest piece that grabbed my attention. What stood out in my mind was that there was makeup up to the hairline. Apparently he had used makeup for the cameras to knock down the glare. It was fairly distinct where it stopped and the wrap of skin took up. Other than that, nobody messed with anything inside the car in any manner, shape, or form. Nobody said, “Clean this up!” We then put the top up and secured it.” DPD JAMES W. COURSON: “No More Silence” by Larry Sneed (1998), pp. 127-131+photos] “The driver immediately got out into the center lane with me on his left rear and another officer on the right. Mrs. Kennedy had, by that time, gotten back down in the seat and was holding the President’s head in her lap. I was able to see that his head was horribly mangled. Skull, brain, and blood material was all along the seat…Flowers were scattered all around the car… Two other officers and I helped take the President out of the car and put him onto the stretcher. From what I was able to see of the wound, the damage seemed to be in the right rear of his head, but it was hard to tell because there was so much blood. The back part of the skull seemed to be laying over the forehead. I didn’t actually see an exit wound since I saw only the back part of his head”; DPD H.B. McCLAIN: “No More Silence” by Larry Sneed (1998), p.164: “I figured at the time that the wound was fatal. Part of the skull was laying on the floorboard. Blood and brain material was splattered all over as if a ripe watermelon had been dropped. It was a pretty gory scene.” FBI AGENTS SIBERT & O’NEILL AT THE AUTOPSY +FBI AGENT VINCENT E. DRAIN: “No More Silence” by Larry Sneed (1998), p. 246 “When I arrived in the trauma room, the doctors were working with President Kennedy. They were trying to do what they could to stop the gurgling sound he was making by performing a tracheotomy on him. Despite the fact, as I later learned, that he was dead, his body reflexes were still working. I wasn’t up close to the body, but I could still see fairly well the large amount of blood from the head wound. The head was badly damaged from the lower right base across the top extending across the top of the ear. It appeared to me as though the bullet traveled upward and had taken off the right portion of his skull. It may have been the security officer or one of the other officers who gave me a portion of the skull which was about the size of a teacup, much larger than a silver dollar. Apparently the explosion had jerked it because the hair was still on it. I carried that back to Washington later that night and turned it over to the FBI laboratory.”3 DEPUTY SHERIFFS SEYMOUR WEITZMAN: found a small piece of skull in the plaza—7 H 107; JACK FAULKNER: “No More Silence” by Larry Sneed (1998), pp. 215-223+photos: page 216] “As we were crossing Elm Street, [A.D.] McCurley picked up a white piece of bone near the north curb. He asked me, “Do you suppose that could be part of his skull?” I said, “There’s no blood on it,” and he put it down. Later, we got to thinking, and somebody said your skull doesn’t necessarily have to be touching something that’s bloody. We went back and looked for it later but never found it. To this day, I believe it was a piece of John Kennedy’s skull.” AND AL MADDOX: “No More Silence” by Larry Sneed (1998), pp. 507, 517+photo: page 509] “…I also saw human tissue lying in the street which was being wiped and cleaned up at the time. That was right about where the President was said to have been hit. I also saw one of the motorcycle officers who was splattered with blood.” 3 SPECTATORS—CHARLES BREHM: saw the skull fragment fly back and to the left of where he was standing—: NBC 11/22/63 (familiar newsreel interview); Mark Lane “Rush To Judgment” film 1967 (clip repeated in Lane’s “Two Men In Dallas” video); DPD JOE CODY: “No More Silence” by Larry Sneed (1998), page467: “…we jumped in our car and arrived at the scene where Kennedy was shot and killed in just three or four minutes. By that time, it was probably ten minutes after the shooting. While we were there, I searched the plaza and found a bone lying in the gutter that apparently came out of the back of the President’s head.” AND POSTAL INSPECTOR HARY HOLMES: “Murder From Within” by Fred Newcomb and Perry Adams, p. 213 (based off an early 1970’s interview)— “A postal inspector [Holmes] picked up a piece of skull from the Elm St. pavement. He said it was as “…big as the end of my finger…” Furthermore, it was one of many: “…there was just pieces of skull and bone and corruption all over the place…” He later discarded it [!]”
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
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