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Latest Book Review: Current and Ex-Secret Service Agents Revealed a Lot of Gossip About Presidents

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This book on the Secret Service is continuing to touch nerves inside and outside the agency. Some current and former Secret Service agents are disturbed that current and former agents disclosed secrets that should have remained secret. Here’s the latest review of Ronald Kessler’s new book: “IN THE PRESIDENT’S SECRET SERVICE:  Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect”

By James Bamford
The Washington Post Outlook Section

A few blocks from the White House, on the busy corner of H and 9th streets, stands a bland, unnamed, nine-story office building. On a wall in the lobby, large silver letters spell out the words “Worthy of Trust and Confidence.”

That is the motto of the Secret Service, and the anonymous tan-brick building is the agency’s headquarters. “The phrase,” said former director Lewis C. Merletti, “is the absolute heart and soul of the United States Secret Service. . . . And it must never be compromised.” Lest they forget, all agents have the motto emblazoned on their IDs.

But in light of an odd decision by the current director, Mark Sullivan, the motto should be changed to “Have You Heard This One?” During the Bush administration, hoping for some good, ego-enhancing publicity, Sullivan broke with his agency’s long-standing policy of absolute silence and allowed Ronald Kessler to get an earful.

The chief Washington correspondent for Newsmax.com, which bills itself as “the #1 conservative news agency online,” Kessler had written very positive books about CIA Director George Tenet, first lady Laura Bush and President George W. Bush, and Sullivan was probably hoping for the same treatment.

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