Secret Service History: Through The Decades

Secret Service History: Through The Decades
Secret Service History: Through The Decades

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

TV Review: ‘Secret Service Files: Protecting the President’

TV Review: ‘Secret Service Files: Protecting  the President’ 

Ceaseless vigilance and attention to detail are vital qualities, a National Geographic miniseries finds


Former Secret Service agent Danny Spriggs, at the site of an attempted assassination of President Reagan in 1981, for ‘Secret Service Files’

  • Title: 'Secret Service Files: Protecting the President'
  • Network / Air Date: Monday at 8 p.m., National Gegraphic

Vladimir Arutyunian is now serving a life sentence in the nation of Georgia for throwing a grenade at President Bush and Georgian officials.

The near-impossibility of maintaining a constant shield around the President of the United States becomes chillingly clear in a late scene from this instructive documentary on the work of the Secret Service.
President George W. Bush was speaking in the republic of Georgia in 2005 when a man snaked through the crowd and tossed a grenade toward the podium.
It landed 50 feet from Bush, who was behind a bulletproof glass shield that might or might not have stopped the shrapnel.
Fortunately, the perp had wrapped the grenade in a bandana to conceal it as he moved through the crowd, and that bandana slowed the firing pin enough so it did not explode.
A first, no one knew what the bouncing object was. Then a Georgian policeman picked it up, saw it was a live grenade and walked it out of harm’s way.
Not something all of us would be inclined to do.
The thrower was arrested, by the way, and is serving life. He says he doesn’t know why he did it.
But that kind of silent loner psycho poses just as big a threat as an affiliated terrorist or ideologue, and is a lot harder to track.
“Secret Service Files,” which continues all week with a series of “Secret Access” specials, doesn’t tell us anything new about how the Service protects the POTUS. It’s just constant, grinding, vigilant legwork and smart instincts.
When they do the job right, no one notices. One screwup and they’re on the front page. So it was a good day for all in 2005 when a grenade was a footnote, not a future chapter in a history book.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Joe Clancy- Comcast

Joseph Clancy
Director--Corporate Security
Joseph Clancy joined Comcast as Director, Corporate Security in July 2011. In this position, Joe is responsible for overseeing corporate level investigations at Comcast, assisting with policy development, and the protection of Company employees, property, and financial assets. Joe is based in Philadelphia and reports to Mark Farrell the Chief Security Officer for Comcast.

Joe joined Comcast after retiring from a distinguished career in the United States Secret Service where he was most recently assigned as the Special Agent in Charge of the Presidential Protective Division. He brings a significant amount of experience to Comcast as he has also served as Director of National Special Security Events with Homeland Security, and led a squad of agents in the Secret Services’ New York field office where they conducted major investigations. Joe started his government career here in Philadelphia after attending West Point and graduating from Villanova University.

Joe is pleased to be back home in Philadelphia and to be part of the strong partnerships that have been formed between the local, state and federal law enforcement community and the Private sector security.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Merletti/ Merletti

For Indianapolis Colts safety Matt Merletti, protecting U.S. presidents was just part of 'family business'
11:09 AM, Aug. 24, 2012

Matt Merletti can’t land a job with the Indianapolis Colts, the undrafted rookie safety might try a more dangerous line of defense: the U.S. Secret Service.
It’s not just a backup plan. It’s the family business.

His father, Lew, spent 25 years in the Secret Service, the last two as its 19th director. He helped protect presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and was Special Agent in Charge on Clinton’s detail in the mid 1990s.

Matt’s brother, Mike, has been accepted into the Secret Service and is waiting out a hiring freeze. Cousin Chris Funk, who grew up in the Merletti household, has been with the Secret Service for 16 years. Lew Merletti’s cousin, Rob, just left President Obama’s detail.

“It would be an interesting career if I would want to pursue that,” Matt Merletti, 24. “It’s definitely on the table for me.”

The NFL is pressure-packed, but not like this.

“There would be a lot more stress guarding the president, having to put your life on the line and step in front of a bullet,” he said.

As a kid, Merletti dressed up as a football player or an Army soldier. For now, the former Cleveland Browns ballboy is chasing his football dream. His dad, who left the Secret Service directorship in 1999 for the Browns, is the team’s senior vice president of security.

“Ask him about Osama bin Laden,” Matt said of his father.

Lew doesn’t need much prompting to talk about the terrorist mastermind behind 9/11. As someone who had studied bin Laden and other terrorists, he warned about the threat years before 9/11. When the first World Trade Center tower was struck by a plane, Lew knew who was behind it.
“When it happened, as soon as the first one went in, I said, ‘Oh my God, it’s bin Laden,’” said Lew, 64. “I had worked so hard when I was in the Secret Service to try to warn Congress, everyone, that this guy is for real. We had to stop this guy.”

Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, the Browns’ secondary coach in 2001, recalled watching the attacks on TV at the team facility with Lew.

“Right off the bat, Lew said, ‘I’ll bet Osama bin Laden is behind this,’” Pagano said. “He knew.”

Matt and his brother were aware, growing up, how scary the world could be. He was just 7 when the boys were taken to Secret Service headquarters and taught how to shoot guns.

That was in response to a terrorist who said on an intercepted radio communication that he wanted to learn everything possible about Lew, his family, his residence.

“I remember it, but I didn’t really know what I was doing,” Matt said. “We had to learn how to shoot guns. They hid guns in our house.”

That was another part of growing up in the Merletti home — knowing where the guns were hidden for protection.

Anybody who meets Matt or Mike makes the connection to Lew. They look alike. When told of Pagano’s assessment that Matt is a “chip off the old block,” both father and son laugh.

It was Lew’s commitment to his family, the recognition of the risk involved, that eventually led to his Secret Service departure. That and the loss of a close friend and colleague killed in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

When Browns owner Al Lerner promised to make Lew “an offer you can’t refuse,” the father talked it over with his sons. The boys loved football. They wanted him to take the job with the Browns.

Pagano has known Matt since those ballboy days in Cleveland and coached him for a year in college at North Carolina. Merletti had an injury-marred college career but showed enough in his Pro Day workout to attract interest from the NFL.

“He’s a bright, young man, loves football, he’s got all the traits you’re looking for in a person,” Pagano said.

The Colts coach can relate to family bloodlines. Pagano’s father, Sam, was a successful high school football coach. His brother, John, is San Diego’s defensive coordinator.

“When Matt had the opportunity to go to the Colts, it was like, ‘Oh my God, this is where you belong. This is your niche, Matt. This is the perfect leader for you,’” Lew said, referring to Pagano.

Undrafted players are typically longshots to make the final roster. The first round of cuts are Monday, with the final trim to 53 on Aug. 31.

“We’re hoping for the best,” Lew said. “The one thing we’re going to do is what we’ve done our whole life: We’re going to try our very hardest.”

Matt credits his father for instilling a dedicated work ethic. Lew attributes some of that to a tip he received in the Soviet Union while protecting President Reagan on a 1988 visit to Moscow. An Olympic trainer advised a pull-up training regimen beginning on a child’s sixth birthday to strengthen not just the mind but body.

“The last count I had on Matt’s pull-ups was in excess of 43,000, as of his sophomore year in college,” the elder Merletti said.

While Secret Service legacies are typically successful because the next generation knows what to expect, Matt and Lew aren’t thinking too far ahead. It’s all about football, at least for now.

Lew eagerly awaited his son’s NFL preseason debut on Aug. 12 at Lucas Oil Stadium when his phone buzzed at 1:14 p.m., about 15 minutes before kickoff.

Just before leaving the locker room, Matt sent the text message: “Thanks for everything you’ve done for me. I wouldn’t be here without you. I love you.”
The father beamed.

“I’ll be honest with you,” Lew said, “I sat in the stands with tears in my eyes.”

Friday, August 24, 2012

Assassination of President William McKinley: great online resources


United States Secret Service Agent Killed While Protecting President Theodore Roosevelt To Be Honored In October

United States Secret Service Agent Killed While Protecting President Theodore Roosevelt To Be Honored In October

By Theodore Roosevelt Association

Theodore Roosevelt Association

Last modified: 2012-08-23T08:13:11Z

Published: Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012 - 1:12 am

Copyright 2012 . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

CHICAGO, Aug. 23, 2012 -- William J. Craig, First Operative to Die in the Line of Duty, to Be Recognized during Theodore Roosevelt Association's 93rd Annual Meeting

CHICAGO, Aug. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Theodore Roosevelt Association (TRA) will pay tribute to Chicago native William J. Craig, the first Secret Service agent to die in the line of duty while protecting America's top elected leader, during the TRA's 93rd annual meeting. The four-day conference will be held October 25-28 at the Union League Club of Chicago.

The program recognizing Craig will include a short video on his life, his service to President Theodore Roosevelt, and details of his untimely death while protecting the President. Expected to attend the event on Saturday, October 27 is current United States Secret Service director Mark L. Sullivan.

A native of Glasgow, Scotland and a former bodyguard to Queen Victoria, Craig joined the Secret Service in Chicago in 1900. He was assigned to the White House in 1901, just as the Secret Service assumed responsibility for protecting the president.

On September 3, 1902, Craig was killed in a collision between a trolley car and a carriage in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The accident occurred while he was riding with President Roosevelt on a speaking trip. A speeding trolley car crashed into the carriage and the impact killed agent Craig, whose last words as he tried to shield the President were "Look Out, Hold Fast". President Roosevelt, who was thrown from the carriage, narrowly escaped death and was seriously injured, spending many weeks in a wheelchair. Roosevelt later said of Craig, "The man who was killed was one of whom I was fond of and whom I greatly prized for his loyalty and faithfulness."

Tweed Roosevelt, president of the Theodore Roosevelt Association and great-grandson of Theodore Roosevelt, stated, "We are pleased to honor and recognize agent Craig for his service to Theodore Roosevelt. Without the heroic actions of agent Craig, my great-grandfather might have perished that fateful day."

The theme for the 93rd annual meeting is "The Centennial Celebration of the 1912 Progressive Party Convention in Chicago." The conference will feature prominent historians and authors speaking on Theodore Roosevelt's 1912 presidential campaign.

Details of the meeting and registration information are available at

Founded in 1919 and chartered by Congress in 1920, the Theodore Roosevelt Association is a national historical society and public service organization that has perpetuated the memory and legacy of the nation's 26th president through an array of historical and cultural activities. Its members come from every state and have diverse backgrounds, but they all share a keen interest in history and in furthering the legacy of one of America's first modern presidents.

Friday, March 30, 2012

"Mrs. Kennedy and Me"

OUTSTANDING: SECOND ONLY TO "WITHIN ARM'S LENGTH"! I so wanted to dislike this book. As the leading civilian literary expert on the Secret Service, I had previously----and rightfully---lambasted Lisa McCubbin's prior effort entitled "The Kennedy Detail" for its rewriting of history, blaming JFK for his own death and putting words in the late president's mouth that he never once uttered, as verified by the prior accounts of numerous top agents and White House aides, many of whom WERE there in Dallas (unlike former agent Gerald Blaine). As previously stated, it was my 22-page letter to former agent Clint Hill that angered him and his best friend to whom I had also spoken to, the aforementioned Blaine, that directly led to the writing of "The Kennedy Detail" and, by extension, the need to write a follow-up tome, "Mrs. Kennedy & Me" (whenever a book is even a mild best-seller, which their first effort was, it is almost a guarantee that, if there is any gas left in the tank, so to speak, a further literary work will be forthcoming). In fact, both agents Blaine and Hill debated the merits of my research on television and, if that weren't enough, I was mentioned on pages 359-360 of "The Kennedy Detail" (without naming me, of course). One could argue several other pages refer to my work, directly or indirectly, but I digress from the matter at hand. Simply put, "Mrs. Kennedy & Me" is stupendous: a literary home run, second only to another brand new work, the outstanding 2012 book "Within Arm's Length" by former agent Dan Emmett, as attaining the mantle of being the greatest book on the Secret Service by a former agent ever to date (1865-2012 and counting). I almost cannot believe I am writing this but, alas, honesty prevails: Mr. Hill and Ms. McCubbin have alot to be proud of for this book---it is consistently everything "The Kennedy Detail" is not: truthful, honest, no axe to grind, not dry or boring, well written, and coming from the perspective of a brave and dedicated public servant who WAS truly there (to be fair, even "The Kennedy Detail", and certainly the documentary it was based on, had its moments, although my judgment is rightfully clouded by what I and others feel are the purposeful untruths and propaganda contained throughout, as well as the exasperating third-person narrative interwoven throughout the book, making it hard to pin down exactly WHO was responsible for specific passages. President Kennedy did NOT order the agents off his limousine in Tampa, in Dallas, or anywhere else, for that matter- SAIC Behn, ASAIC Boring, ATSAIC Godfrey, many of their colleagues, and several prominent White House aides said so). Do I still have misgivings about some of the agents on the Kennedy Detail? Sure; that will never change. Am I also an ardent admirer of the Secret Service? You bet: the agency has a whole lot to be proud of. Clint Hill at least TRIED to do something that fateful day in Dallas and carried much guilt and depression over the sad events of that time and place. That is a whole lot more than several of his colleagues can lay claim to. That aside, "Mrs. Kennedy & Me" is highly recommended to everyone for its honesty and rich body of true, first-hand accounts of guarding First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. Too bad this book wasn't even longer and "The Kennedy Detail" did not exist, but one cannot ask for everything. Please purchase this fine book as soon as possible!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

EXCELLENT article about Dan Emmett's excellent "Within Arm's Length"

EXCELLENT article about Dan Emmett's excellent "Within Arm's Length"
Former Secret Service Agent Dishes On Clinton White House In Book

By Claire Gordon , Posted Mar 9th 2012 @ 6:43PM

A former Secret Service agent is stirring controversy with his new memoir that leaks details about former President Bill Clinton. News outlets, from the Washington Examiner to Fox News and The Washington Post, are abuzz over the following remarks Dan Emmett made in his self-published memoir:

• He describes Clinton's staff, which was much younger than that of predecessor George H.W. Bush, as immature and defiant. They treated their White House gigs as "a grand cool adventure," he writes, and agents like himself as the "hired help."

• On a 1993 trip, Clinton insisted on walking the "Bridge of No Return" that separates North and South Korea, endangering his own life and the fragile peace between the two nations for "a pointless photo op."

• He also implies that Hillary Clinton is aloof. At one point, he notes in his book that one time Bill and Chelsea said "thank you" after exiting the presidential limousine, while Hilary was "silent."

The Secret Service understandably isn't thrilled with the book.

"We do stress to all our employees the importance of not sharing anecdotes about the personal, private moments of the protectees," Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan told the Washington Examiner. "It causes concern because we don't want to erode the trust we have with our protectees."

Emmett, who has protected three presidents over 21 years, says that's a "standard comment that they give to the media any time," and may be issued again soon, when John F. Kennedy's Secret Service agent and Emmett's personal hero, Clint Hill, releases his own memoir next month. In fact, Emmett says that he deliberately held back salacious detail.

"I sent President Clinton the book," he said. "I hope he's not offended by it."

Emmett admits that he bashed Clinton's staff. "It's characteristic of a lot of Democratic presidents to bring in a lot of young people and give them a chance, their friends, or their friends' kids," Emmett says. "They're not on time. They don't make meetings. They can be defiant."

But he also says that Clinton's staff matured over time, as they learned the workings of the White House and the value of the Secret Service. He also emphasizes that those comments weren't at all about Clinton himself. "These were his young staffers," he said. "A lot of the time the president doesn't even know who they are."

When it comes to that photo of Clinton on the border of North Korea, Emmett says that he didn't intend his remark as a criticism of Clinton. "His golly gee whiz staff probably thought it would be a good photo op."

More significant is what this so-called "tell all" doesn't tell. Emmett excluded hundreds of juicy anecdotes, because Secret Service agents "afford the president two courtesies," he says, "we'll sacrifice our lives for him, and we don't talk about that stuff."

Emmett, who ran with the president in the mornings and guarded his bedroom door at night, probably could have dished a lot about the man who supposedly recruited state troopers to arrange sexual liaisons. "If you want those kinds of anecdotes," he says, "read Kessler's book," referring to Ronald Kessler's controversial expose about the Secret Service.

"If the Clintons read my book, they'll probably think, 'Why is anyone even making a big deal about this?' I didn't talk about Monica, or Whitewater, or Paula Jones."

Emmett, who was raised on "academics, God, and patriotism," may not have agreed with Clinton's politics. But that would never affect his commitment to guarding him, if need be with his life. It wasn't really about the man at all, he says, but about preserving the office he occupied.

"If the president gets killed, it's damaging to the country," Emmett says. "It has ramifications throughout the world."

Emmett also didn't disclose a lot of inside details because he worried it would endanger national security. There's been a lot of media scrutiny into the Secret Service in recent years, including two TV series, "Secrets of the Secret Service" and "Secret Service Secrets."

"They showed motorcade tactics and the schematics of the president's limousine, and what kinds of weapons the armor could withstand," he said. "It's just totally insane in my mind."

While these details may not be a problem, he says, "if you collect enough pieces, and put them together, you have a plan," he said. "And these assassins, these terrorists, they plan."

He wasn't going to take any chances with his own book, which he's sure al Qaeda has already read.

Emmett never wanted to leak a secret or make a partisan jab, because he would never want to entangle himself in what he calls "the mess of Washington." He may have worked for the government for his entire career, but "I never thought I was working for the government," he says. "I was working for America."

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

THE best book EVER written on the Secret Service is available NOW: "Within Arm's Length: The Extraordinary Life and Career of a Special Agent in the United States Secret Service" by Dan Emmett

THE best book EVER written on the Secret Service is available NOW: "Within Arm's Length: The Extraordinary Life and Career of a Special Agent in the United States Secret Service" by Dan Emmett

Available at Amazon.Com:

Also Available at iUniverse:

as an E-book-

in hardcover-

Available in late February from Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, Kendall, Nook and others.

Dan Emmett was just eight years old when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The events surrounding the president’s death shaped the course of young Emmett’s life as he set a goal of becoming a US Secret Service agent—one of a special group of people willing to trade their lives for that of the president, if necessary.

Within Arm’s Length narrates the story of Emmett’s journey in this coveted job—from the application process to his retirement as assistant to the special agent in charge on the elite Presidential Protective Division (PPD). Here he discusses some of his more high-profile assignments in his twenty-one years of service, including the PPD and the Counter Assault Team where he provided arm’s length protection worldwide for Presidents George Herbert Walker Bush, William Jefferson Clinton, and George W. Bush.

This memoir describes the professional challenges faced by Secret Service agents as well as the physical and emotional toll that can be inflicted on both agents and their families. Within Arm’s Length also shares firsthand details about the duties and challenges of conducting presidential advances, dealing with the media, driving the president in a bullet-proof limousine, running alongside him through the streets of Washington, and flying with him on Air Force One.

With fascinating anecdotes, Emmett weaves keen insight into the unique culture and history of the Secret Service

The best book on the Secret Service ever written! A must have! Outstanding!

Former Secret Service agent Dan Emmett, author of "Within Arm's Length", is to be commended on putting together a refreshing take on a well-worn subject as of late: the United States Secret Service. While many of the books written by former agents are ghost-written, dry, dull, and are often dated, Emmett's is exciting, never boring, compelling, and employed no co-author or ghost-writer; this work is solely his own. After the recent debacle of best-selling author Ronald Kessler's dubious tome "In The President's Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect", a book that seemingly betrayed the trust of the agents, past and present, that the author took into his confidence, littering the literary landscape with dubious tawdry tales of presidential sex, alleged agency incompetence, or worse, Emmett's book will be embraced by scholars, the public and, perhaps most important of all, his colleagues.

Someone needed to take up the mantle and do away with all the controversy, poor writing, myopic outlook, and compromising information out there on the Secret Service and write a book the agency would be proud of AND that would also appeal to the lay public, as well. Dan Emmett took up the quest and succeeded admirably. In short, "Within Arm's Length" is the antidote to Kessler, McCarthy, and all the silly and overwrought books and television specials that violate the agency's code of being Worthy of Trust and Confidence. If there was a literary Medal of Valor the Secret Service could award Emmett for his book, they should hold the ceremony tomorrow. Emmett's book truly reads like he had this epiphany: "I have had enough with Kessler, the hero worship, the gossip, the untruths, and all the crap---here is the TRUE story of an agent without the junk... and no compromising information, dammit!" Mission accomplished.

In short, Dan Emmett provides the reader with the nuts and bolts without giving away the game, so to speak.

"Within Arm's Length" grabs the reader from the very first sentence and doesn't ever let up.

"Within Arm's Length" is, without question, the best book ever written about the Secret Service: current, well-written, classy, very informative, but, most importantly, does not indulge in hero worship of presidents or reveal "inside secrets" or other compromising details. In short, "WITHIN ARM'S LENGTH" makes you feel like you are THERE! Emmett is a great guy with an impressive background who truly represents the valor of the Secret Service. Emmett has given a blueprint for all agents---past, present, and future---to follow and admire. Worthy of Trust & Confidence indeed! Dan Emmett is an example of a great American.

Vince Palamara, literary Secret Service expert