Secrets of the Secret Service

The History and Uncertain Future of the U.S. Secret Service
Narrated by: Pete Larkin
Length: 9 hrs and 2 mins
Categories: Nonfiction, Politics
4 out of 5 stars (140 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the author of the number-one New York Times best seller Crisis of Character comes an explosive new exposé of the Secret Service.

The United States Secret Service is tasked with protecting our presidents, their families, and the complex in which they live and work. Given this important mission, world stability rests upon the shoulders of its agents.

In his new book, former Secret Service officer Gary Byrne takes listeners behind the scenes to understand the agency's history and today's security failings that he believes put Americans at risk.

The American public knows the stories of Secret Service heroism, but they don't know about the hidden legacy of problems that have plagued the agency ever since its creation.

Gary Byrne says that decades of catastrophic public failures, near misses, and bureaucratic and cultural rot threaten to erode this critical organization from the inside out.

Today, as it works to protect President Trump, the Secret Service stands at a crossroads, and the time needed to choose the right course is running out. Agents and officers are leaving the Secret Service in droves, or they're being overworked to the point where they lose focus on the job. Management makes decisions based on politics, not the welfare of their employees.

Byrne believes that this means danger for the men and women of the Secret Service, danger for the president they protect, and danger for the nation. In this book, he shares what he has witnessed and learned about the Secret Service with the hope that the problems of this most important agency can be fixed before it's too late.

©2018 Gary J. Byrne (P)2018 Hachette Audio

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

THE ONLY TRUE ACCOUNT OF THE SECRET SERVICE

I have listened to at least 12 books related to the White House and the secret service within the United States of America. SECRETS OF THE SECRET SERVICE is one of the best of the best. It gave me a true account of what really happens behind the walls of the secret service. I felt like a fly on that invisible wall only seen by people from the inside. This listen is more than exciting. It’s simply a fantastic listen and worth your time and only one credit for pure enjoyment. I hope you agree with me after you listen to the book. The secret service is supposed protect our president and fight crime. HOWEVER, THIS ORGANIZATION HAS NOT ALWAYS BEEN SUCCESSFUL! If you want to find out why...well you know what to do.

I loved every single bit of information I was exposed to through the author’s words and the narration. Thanks for reading my audible review. Steve

10 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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VERY SAD

I love and respect our country so much. It really hurts to read that the Clintons had such little respect. Yes, others were also disrespectful. However, the Clintons should both be jailed. The USSS, like all of Washington dc , lacks leadership, patriotism and loyalty.

7 people found this helpful

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Great book

I learned things I didn’t know about The Secret Service. I recommend this book strongly

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Good book , narrator was very good.

Insightful history and issues within the secret service. Does not surprise me at all on the details of the Clintons, the first time hearing of their abuses with the service.
the Secret Service needs to wake up, they are protecting the leaders of the free world.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Disgruntled Employee

This book is nothing more than the thoughts of a disgruntled employee who hasn’t worked in the White House since Clinton. You can taste his bitterness.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Save your time

informative and educational, with a side of dry and boring at times.... save your time

1 person found this helpful

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Interesting story, well narrated.

I enjoyed this insider story of the secret service and found many of the details to be very troubling. It seems that some of the folks securing our important people and places are not completely committed to the job. It must take great focus and attention to duty for our secret service agents to agree to protect the president or others with their own lives, but that is what the job demands. My thanks to all who serve for the support of the government and the Constitution. The narrator, Pete Larkin, who is new to me did a fine job and made listening a pleasure.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Biased, unsubstantiated, dull

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Was hoping for two things: an objective story ( This didn't seem so. ) and a book full of interesting anecdotes about the exciting, complex activities of the Secret Service. ( It was not that). It might be interesting to some who are interested in systemic and political influence on the Secret Service ( internal agency politics as well as White House politics). That was what this was about. But the former agent author, didn't substantiate his claims and concerns as much as I would have liked. He clearly is politically biased ( that said. He was talking about the Clintons to a great extent, and they did have a very unorthodox administration with, juxtapositions that must have made the SS job challenging. If that fascinates you, you might like the book more that I did.

What three words best describe Pete Larkin’s performance?

A bit course

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Secrets of the Secret Service?

Those that were clearly his opinions

Any additional comments?

I returned the title, it wasn't worth completing the book ( hope it got better).

1 person found this helpful

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Tip of the iceberg

Scary but worthy of reading!
This is not a political issue!!
It’s about preventing assassinations!

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    3 out of 5 stars
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You can't change history- or it seems the future

The author shares some well-founded concerns about the protection afforded to our Government's leaders, by those tasked to protect them.

Based on his experience, he should be an excellent primary source for such things But, the author fails to impart an important fact: although skilled and trained to execute his duties at the highest level, his position in the Service was not at the policy or decision-making level. ( Based on the events detailed in the Book, he was fortunate not to be.) Since the author was not part of that group, the writing contains too much speculation, including how the decision(s) leading to the point(s) he is most concerned with came to be.

The source for much of the information regarding the Service's (mis)management is other's investigations and experiences, particularly Congressional oversight. These investigations and experiences draw a troubling picture, much like similar investigations into other Government Bureaus or Agencies.
Unlike a vast amount of information to be shared in the books by Tim Weiner, there is a dearth of information here. (However, it is fair to consider quality, not quantity, is what matters.) And, each of these Agencies of Government can be shown to have failed, in their original purpose.

In the main, Government is made of people. People often succeed. But we are subject to mistakes and failure. It is an important point, highlighted several times in this Book, that failures borne from mistakes are often avoidable. And success borne out of accident may not be the best method. The keen insights into the Kennedy assassination, if correct, demonstrate this very well.

It may be hard to write a book about what you feel is wrong without trying to suggest how to right it. But, the author should have remembered something he pointed out often as a best practice while speculating: you don't want to succeed or fail, by accident or hope.

The author pins the relief of this important but troubled government agency on the same hope(s) he reminds us is not the best practice. He hopes someone new will be appointed to head the agency that will swoop in to save it. And, the new Administration will curb the corruption that has become endemic.

The events that followed his "wishful thinking," weakened his position and the Book, overall. For example, In a Service where many dedicated people stay more than 20 yrs, the recently appointed head of the agency stayed only 2 years, moved to run the parent department, and left little if any meaningful changes to the Service. The hope that the current Administration will take steps to curb a corruption aided and abetted, by a bloated and unchecked budget seems to have fallen flat, too, as current questions concerning exorbitant hotel charges made to that same bloated budget, by a company where the Administration may have an interest, have come to light.

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Profile Image for Mr. Peter Barber
  • Mr. Peter Barber
  • 11-14-18

A manifesto for reform

Thought this would be interesting stories and how it operates but all about its failings and a manifesto of how to fix. A worthy book but not if general interest nor amusement.