So why do I think of this book, when I read about what just happened in Colombia with the Secret Service and President Obama? Consider what happened when our president visited this country over the weekend:
President Barack Obama called Sunday for a “thorough” and “rigorous” investigation into allegations involving prostitutes and Secret Service agents in Colombia. Some 11 Secret Service agents and officers are being investigated over preliminary findings that they allegedly brought back several prostitutes to a hotel in Cartagena, U.S. government sources familiar with the investigation have told CNN.
“What happened here in Colombia is being investigated by the director of the Secret Service,” said Obama, who spoke in Cartagena, where he was in town for the Summit of the Americas event. “I expect that investigation to be thorough and I expect it to be rigorous. If it turns out that some of the allegations that have been made in the press are confirmed, then of course I’ll be angry,” he said.
The alleged misconduct occurred before Obama arrived in Cartagena. The Secret Service personnel have since been sent back to the United States and put on administrative leave, the agency said. The U.S. military said that five U.S. troops who were working with the Secret Service are also under investigation for missing curfew and alleged “misconduct” at the same Colombian hotel.
* * * * *
So who are we kidding? Drinking and carousing is something new for the Secret Service? Ask historians and others, like the author of this book who was once a member of the Secret Service, and you will get a different story from what some national reporters are saying today — that this is the “WORST thing” ever reported about the Secret Service (the people charged with protecting the President of the United States).
CONSPIRACY THEORIES HAUNT the Kennedy assassination; Abraham Bolden several years ago offered a new one, concerning discrimination and evidence suppression. Becoming, in JFK’s words, the Jackie Robinson of the Secret Service, Bolden joined the White House detail in 1961, as the first African American Secret Service agent.
He was personally appointed to this position by the new, young president and I was excited to meet him. But I soon learned that Bolden has a temper; I learned this the hard way several weeks after I personally met and talked with him at a JFK conference in Dallas where he spoke about his book.
In fact, Bolden got so mad at me over something I wrote about him in a quick review, that he tracked me down through the conference organizers to complain — hard. He even threatened me that he would sue me. It was an interesting experience, and I thought he was a bit harsh for a couple of sentences he didn’t like. After all, I was writing a review — something that would help him sell books.
But looking back at this, I realize that Bolden is not the kind of person to hush up something he believes to be important. He is a fighter who stands up for what he believes. He is not a yes-man, and that is one reason why his book is particularly significant today.
I just wish he had been with the Secret Service this past week, and just maybe we would learn what really happened in Colombia. I don’t have good feelings about what I’ve read so far, and I doubt that anything of substance has been reported.
Further, I have heard several reporters offer that what happened in Colombia was “the worst” disaster ever for the Secret Service. Oh give me a break. They screwed up with JFK, for sure, and from what Bolden writes, they did a lot more than party. Even the special Congressional Committee investigation, well after the Warren Commission, did not have nice things to say about the Secret Service, declaring them “inadequate”. Hell, even some noted recent Lincoln assassination theorists assert the Secret Service helped with that shooting, too.
At the Dallas conference, I remember Bolden saying that his introduction to the Secret Service was not what he expected:
Already beset by racism (he once found a noose suspended over his desk), Bolden’s idealism was shattered by the drinking and carousing of other agents.
“Soon after the assassination, he receives orders that hint at an effort to withhold, or at least to the color, the truth. He discovers that evidence is being kept from the Warren Commission and when he takes action, finds himself charged with conspiracy to sell a secret government file and sentenced to six years in prison, where both solitary confinement and the psychiatric ward await. That there was a conspiracy to silence him seems unarguable, but Bolden’s prose is flat; so is his dialogue. This story is more enthralling than Bolden’s telling of it, but the reader who sticks with it will enter a world of duplicitous charges and disappearing documents fit for a movie thriller.” (Publishers Weekly)
Bolden’s book today?
***** Highly recommend.