Book Review – Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service, by Carol Leonnig

Reviewed By Carol Moeller —

Published before the latest “lost texts” scandal, Pulitzer Prize winner Carol Leonnig describes how the assassination of JFK shocked the previously somewhat lax Secret Service, an agency created in the wake of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, into a topflight protective agency.  Unfortunately, the caliber of the agency seemed to reach its zenith in the 1990s before falling into disarray well before the Obama presidency, when fence jumpers breached the White House and agents were involved in scandals on a trip to South America.  Under Trump, who has a noted disdain for public service, the agency was abused, while promised Secret Service reforms were set aside.  What remains is a force so diminished that Mike Pence refused to enter a car for fear of agents conspiring to prevent him from administering the counting of the ballots on Jan 6th.  The author explains the incredible details involved in any presidential travel, and takes us through some harrowing “saves” of Presidents.  She backs up her revelations by using interviews of agents and whistleblowers, for whom she gives the highest praise for stepping forward.  This engrossing and very readable book is a must to help understand what the Jan 6th hearings have uncovered regarding the alarming lack of cooperation by the Secret Service.

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