Photo: Courtesy of Crown Forum.
The downside of being protected 'round the clock by the Secret Service: They know everything you do, and sometimes they blab about it.
Lately, they have been busy yakking about the private lives of presidents and their wives and children for a new book that hits shelves today, The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal The Hidden Lives Of The Presidents. They had some scandalous things to say about Bill Clinton, some unflattering claims about Hillary Clinton, and high praise for daughter Chelsea, according to the writer, Ronald Kessler, an investigative reporter and bestselling author of 20 nonfiction books, several focused on the CIA and FBI.
“Chelsea Clinton was considered to be a model child, in contrast with Jenna and Barbara Bush, who tried to evade their agents,” Kessler told Refinery29 a day before the release of the book, which has been under lock and key until today but has sparked serious buzz as details have leaked. For the tome, the author talked to current and former Secret Service agents, some anonymous, some not.
And, a few of them are doing some serious tattling on Hillary and Bill. Agents claim there’s a busty blonde mistress who sneaks in and out of the family home in the leafy hamlet of Chappaqua, NY to visit Bill while Hillary is away. The agents have given the woman a code name, according to Kessler: “Energizer.” She allegedly lives nearby, and the Secret Service has been instructed to let her come and go without the usual security protocol of logins at the front gate. “The orders were just to let her in,” he said.
“Even the relatives of the Clintons have to be logged in,” Kessler noted. He claimed Bill’s affair “has been going on for many years” and that the agents do not believe Hillary has been aware of it. “Sometimes they almost cross paths,” he said of Hillary and the alleged mistress. Of Bill, he said, “A leopard doesn’t change its spots.”
The Secret Service protects presidents and first ladies long after they leave the White House, but not their adult children, Kessler says. Hillary and Bill have a guard booth at the driveway entrance to their home and “a post above the garage,” he said. That makes it hard for anyone to get away with anything — including the family. The agents follow the Clintons around town, he says, to the grocery store, to the bank. They lurk around like that shadowy creature in the famous Edward Gorey story The Doubtful Guest, watching the family through windows, peeping from urns. Of course, they’ll take a bullet, too.
Photo: Perry Smylie /RexUSA.
Kessler claimed the agents aren’t big fans of Hillary. “They consider it a form of punishment to be assigned to her detail,” he said, adding that they have said she is rude and “disconnected from the little people.” (Of course, Hillary might not feel too friendly toward them if she has any idea that they're helping Bill cheat.) Kessler said “Bill is much better with the agents,” and that the Obamas are popular among the Service crowd.
But, don’t these agents sign a nondisclosure agreement when they take the job? Yes, they do, Kessler said. His tactic for getting them to talk: “Usually I water-board them,” he joked.
Kessler broke the news in 2012 that Secret Service agents had been accused of hiring prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia, while on assignment to protect President Obama at a summit. That’s when the official nondisclosure agreement was born, he said. “Before that, there was just an understanding that they wouldn’t talk.”
Obviously they are doing some talking anyway. They coughed up this little secret on Joe Biden, according to Kessler: The vice president allegedly likes to skinny-dip at his residence in Washington, D.C., and at his home in Delaware, to the alarm of female agents. Sorry, Joe, so much for privacy.
The book started causing a ruckus even before its release: When details seeped out in the New York Post about the alleged “Energizer” mistress, a spokesman for the Clintons reportedly lumped the book in with a spate of Clinton-unfriendly books that he called “trashy nonsense” that "should be reserved for the fiction bin, if not the trash,” he said.
Another critic is the progressive research group Media Matters for America, which says it is dedicated to “correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.” The group has accused Kessler of “National Enquirer-style gossip.”
Kessler, who has won 18 journalism awards, according to his website, has contributed to the conservative site NewsMax in addition to reporting for the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and Boston Herald earlier in his career. He is the author of the best-selling 2010 book In the President's Secret Service, which went behind the scenes with the agents who guard the presidents. He said his new book is bipartisan and that he wrote it to expose “corner cutting and lapses in security,” as well as “politicians who pretend to be one thing in public but are another in private.”
Other allegations in his new book: President Nixon’s friends once brought him a stripper, Michelle Obama encourages her husband to crack down on Republicans, and Secret Service agents were ordered to break the rules and allow an SUV carrying Bradley Cooper to drive unscreened into a secure area when President Obama was preparing to speak at a White House Correspondents Dinner. Let the uproar begin.
Tell us what you think: Should Secret Service agents keep their lips zipped? Do Hillary and Bill deserve some privacy, or is the scrutiny of their personal lives just to be expected in politics?