Washington Secrets

Secret Service agent: Clinton’s staff rude, Hillary aloof

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

In a breach of tradition, a former U.S. Secret Service agent has self-published a book that savages the Clinton White House staff as arrogant and rude, suggests former first lady Hillary Clinton was aloof and charges that Bill Clinton endangered himself and agents for a “totally pointless photo op” on the South Korea-North Korea border.

In several anecdotes, former agent Dan Emmett revealed that Clinton’s young staff had “fundamental traits of rudeness and arrogance” that teetered on the verge of being dangerous at times. “Most of these youngsters were from wealthy families, and many viewed Secret Services agents as the hired help,” he writes in “Within Arms’s Length,” an autobiography that provides new details of the inner Secret Service.

In one case he told of an unnamed Clinton staffer who challenged a KGB agent during a 1993 presidential visit to Russia “as if he were dealing with a Wackenhut security officer in Toledo.”

In another, he wrote of a female staffer who wouldn’t listen to Emmett’s security advice. “She stared at me with a look as if her father had just told her she couldn’t go to the mall with her friends and get a tattoo or body piercing,” he wrote. “My patient attempts to reason were met with childlike emotion born of a past where no one in authority--probably beginning with her parents--had ever said no to her about anything.”

On the first lady, he describes her as aloof, someone who didn’t say “thank you” to agents while the president and former first daughter Chelsea typically did. He told Secrets, “she was not as out-going or cordial.”

He also wrote of how Clinton walked too far down the bridge separating the Koreas during another 1993 trip. “No one seemed to know if President Clinton grasped how potentially dangerous this stop on the bridge was,” he writes. “The Secret Service obviously believed this move unwise,” he penned, adding, “nevertheless, he was POTUS and he wanted to stand on the bridge, so stand on the bridge he would do.”

Emmett, who worked the White House detail during the George H.W. Bush and Clinton administration and is now a teacher at Auburn University, told us that he wasn’t dishing any secrets, though agents are urged not to write about the people they protect. He informed the agency about his book, which said it didn’t get an advance copy.

Still, the service is not happy with the anecdotes in the book. “We do stress to all our employees the importance of not sharing anecdotes about the personal, private moments of the protectees,” said Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan. “It causes concern because we don’t want to erode the trust that we have with our protectees.”
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