With all the talk of Michael Wolff’s book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” that burned up the news cycle last week, notice of another new book seemed to slip by, relatively unnoticed.
While you’re building up your reading list, you may want to add, “Secrets of the Secret Service: The History and Uncertain Future of the Secret Service,” by Gary J. Byrne.
Byrne is a former Uniform Division officer who served President Bill Clinton, and was at the center of the Monica Lewinsky scandal of the 90s.
The new book offers a lot of secret tidbits from the Clinton years.
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Byrne claims that Clinton would sneak out of the White House for trysts with some well-known, and even “lesser-known” mistresses.
The stories are of the salacious nature that pretty much defines what we know about Bill Clinton.
He definitely abused his Secret Service detail, in order to carry on with his affairs, but in at least one instance, it nearly cost an agent his life.
Identified only as “Reverend,” Byrne wrote that the driver and two others were injured and that the rest of Clinton’s motorcade drove on, leaving D.C. Police to clean up the mess. At the time, the police did not know that Clinton was being chauffeured around Washington incognito.
Afterward, according to the book, the agency tried to block payments to “Reverend” until he threatened to go to court where the details would be revealed. Still, the affair cut into the agency’s morale. Wrote Byrne in the book provided to Secrets:
“Word of what had happened to Reverend spread like wildfire through the Uniformed Division because any UD officer could have been in Reverend’s place. And although many would take a bullet for the president, what was the risk for? Were Clinton’s sordid personal affairs worth an officer’s life? Was that the duty we had signed up for, the reason we spent so much time away from our families?”
The first problem faced in the new Clinton White House was President Clinton’s desire to have the Secret Service act as the Arkansas State Police had acted, and to be his cover.
They did, to an extent, but not completely.
For example, when Clinton tried to sneak out alone in a car driven by a longtime aide, the Uniformed Division officer at the front gate wouldn’t open it, and asked for backup.
Byrne quotes the unnamed officer’s call for help: “You better get me some help up here. I just caught Bruce Lindsey trying to drive out West Exec. with the president with a raincoat over his head.”
Clinton often attempted to slip out, incognito, in order to carry on in his affairs. It wore on the Secret Service, who took their jobs seriously. They finally agreed to pared down motorcades.
“If the president could not completely duck his detail, he would at least take them ‘off the record,’ or OTR. Sometimes this was done for highly honorable reasons, such as when President Clinton, without fanfare, along with many other top military leadership, visited the grieving widow of a fallen high-ranking military official. But the freedom of OTRs under this president was soon to be abused and, in one instance, nearly cost an officer his life. President Clinton used the OTRs to visit the well-known and lesser-known mistresses he frequented outside the complex, meaning the ones who did not have access to the White House,” wrote Byrne, without mentioning Lewinsky, a Clinton intern.
Yeah. That’s not ethical, or safe.
It was during one of these sneak-away OTRs that the agent known as “Reverend” was severely injured.
“Due to the haphazard, improvised, and extremely dangerous way the motorcade was operating, the tail car was T-boned by a civilian car correctly crossing the intersection at a green light. It wasn’t that Reverend’s car just missed the red light. But many of the cars in front of him had missed the light as well, and he had simply followed through. The car that hit him had not been stopped and waiting at the intersection; the civilian driving it had accelerated to full speed from a significant distance away. For the civilians, the light had long been green. Reverend was severely injured, as were another officer and two civilians. The convoy continued on. Metro PD was alerted, and that’s when it learned that the Secret Service had been operating throughout D.C. in such a dangerous fashion,” he wrote.
I’ve seen a lot of cars take that risk, running red lights just because the cars ahead of them skirt under them. It got this agent.
Byrne added, “Reverend was hospitalized with a severe traumatic brain injury. It was significant enough that he was pulled from duty pending his recovery and even then would return only on ‘light duty’ status. In an unfortunate mix-up and evidence of the Secret Service’s horrible management.”
Another story is about Clinton’s habit of traveling without his wedding ring, when he was out on those OTRs (Sounds a lot more respectable than “booty call,” doesn’t it?).
While at a major airport, on his way to board Air Force One, Clinton realized he’d left his wedding ring at the hotel. In a panic, he ordered the motorcade to turn around and go back. There was no way he was going to be seen boarding the plane with no first lady and no wedding ring.
Byrne said the affairs and the hoops the Secret Service were asked to jump through – all outside of their purpose – really damaged the morale of the agency.
Knowing what we know about Clinton, none of this should be a shock. Some of it is pretty much expected.
Any chance of them covering the book at a future Hollywood awards show?
I didn’t think so.