Pulling the veil off a highly visible yet tight-lipped federal agency, acclaimed scholar Philip Melanson has created the first definitive history of the Secret Service. With 8 pages of photographs, rigorous research and interviews with former White House staffers, retired agents, Service training dropouts, and the first female agent on the presidential detail, Melanson presents the agency's hidden history and examines its role in the headlines of our times. Here are revelations about the assassination of JFK and the shooting of President Reagan, along with threats against other presidents; presidential demands on agents and agency funds (by JFK, LBJ, Nixon, the Bushes, and Clinton); alcoholism, divorce, and burnout among agents; the Service's inexplicable failure to develop a profile of assassins that would facilitate effective prevention; and how the gender gap within the Service has been institutionalized. Assailing the image of a highly professional and apolitical organization, the book examines the pervasive, often detrimental influence that politics exerts on the Service, typified by Kenneth Starr's efforts to use agents' testimony against President Clinton. Melanson also discusses the profound new challenge facing the Secret Service: How to respond in a post–September 11 world, as brazen new assassination methods proliferate. With this provocative study, one federal agency still veiled in secrecy is exposed for all to see. Explosive and revealing, this is the first comprehensive history of one of our government's most shrouded agencies.
About Ph.D. Philip H. Melanson Ph.D.
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Published October 15, 2002
by Basic Books.
History, Political & Social Sciences, Law & Philosophy.