A just published tell-all book from a former Secret Service officer details how former President Bill Clinton’s allegedly obsessive out-of-marriage relationships endangered the lives of Secret Service officers.
Gary J. Byrne, who was assigned to protect Clinton during his White House years, wonders whether “Clinton’s sordid personal affairs worth and officer’s life” as the president often tried to visit his “well-known and lesser-known mistresses.” During one of Clinton’s trysts, another Secret Service agent almost lost his life in a motorcade crash, the Washington Examiner notes.
Byrne writes in “Secrets of the Secret Service: The History and Uncertain Future of the U.S. Secret Service” that Clinton would sometimes order a small motorcade to follow his car around Washington.
During one of these trips, an officer identified as “Reverend” went through a red light and was struck by an approaching car, leaving the Secret Service member with a serious head injury.
That didn’t stop Clinton and the other drivers from allegedly leaving the scene of the crash and the Washington police had to deal with the accident.
That wasn’t the end of the episode however; as the book contends, “Reverend” had to seek legal remediation in order to secure any compensation for his injuries. Byrne says the ordeal severely tested the morale of the Secret Service staff:
“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?”
This is Byrne’s second account of his Secret Service career. The author says the Clinton presidency proved to be trying experience for the force from the start when their boss initially eschewed Secret Service protection in favor of the good old boys from the Arkansas State Police, who were well acquainted with Clinton’s habits.
When that didn’t wash, Clinton then wanted the Secret Service to perform their jobs in a similar fashion to the state police — something they were never completely willing to do.
Byrne recounts a typical experience when Clinton tried to surreptitiously leave the White House wearing a coat over his head while a political aide was driving his car. Byrne says the duo was stopped at the front gate by an unnamed security officer who called the Secret Service and said, “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.”
The author writes that Clinton’s frequent desire to flee the the White House “to visit the well-known and lesser-known mistresses he frequented outside of the complex” led to something of a compromise.
“If the president could not completely duck his detail, he would at least take them ‘off the record,’ or OTR,” Byrne relates. It was during one of these OTR trips that “Reverend” was almost killed.
You can get “Secrets of the Secret Service: The History and Uncertain Future of the U.S. Secret Service” on Amazon.