Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Crisis of Character: A White House Secret Service Officer Discloses His Firsthand Experience with Hillary, Bill, and How They Operate by Gary J. Byrne

5 of 5 stars  *****

Validating what this reader, and many others interested in political science, thinks, Gary J. Byrne tells of his firsthand experiences with the George H. Bush and William J. Clinton presidencies. Byrne contrasts the two as night and day, courteous and crass, clean and muddy. The author's recollection of the Bush administration reveals a time of pleasing pride, proper protocol, and respect. The Clinton administration could not be more different with scandal after scandal, little regard for the Secret Service and White House staff. Their superiority complex only makes matters worse by straining any possible close relationship with them.

Bill Clinton is congenial and charming before the Monica Lewinsky scandal. He becomes irritable and ruthless once his addiction to sex with any woman in precarious situations becomes too obvious for those sworn to protect him and, later, becomes public by those sworn to take him down. The Uniformed Department (UD) of the Secret Service resent the irresponsible behavior of the President and the awkward position he puts them in by denying what they witness and expecting them to facilitate his whims and desires. Gary Byrne, who feels the pressure mounting to protect the integrity of the office, keeps copious, accurate notes as he does his duty to the best of his ability. 

Hillary's presence and knowledge of Bill's promiscuity intensifies the drama that naturally surrounds her. She and Bill are never together holding hands, hugging, or kissing unless a camera is around. Her aides walk on glass around her because she goes off in a tirade over the slightest wrinkle in her daily schedule. She makes it quite clear to the staff and security personnel around her that she does not particularly like them and has people precede her as she ambles throughout the house instructing everyone to make themselves scarce as she enters into their proximity. When Gary refuses to oblige, because he is loyal to his duty and paid by the Treasury Department, Hillary scowls at him. This body language is mimicked by her sycophant following.

The staff who protect and serve the occupiers of the White House hold themselves to the highest of standards for the little money they make compared to the First Family. Morale becomes poor in the environment the Clintons create, especially when they start throwing everybody under the bus to perpetuate their lies. Such an environment pits the unfortunate staff against one another as some come forward with the truth and others backpedal to save face. 

Eventually the author leaves the White House to become a Federal Air Marshal protecting lives and utilizing the skills he develops over the years. His perseverance and self-esteem are bolstered throughout his trials in this book with words from his wife, "Do the right thing," and the advice of his father to always be the protector and not the protected. Gary's moral life decisions serve him well as one of America's best who achieves the American dream without corrupting like those driven by personal privilege and greed.