The Confession of Secret Service Agent Clint Hill

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Vince Palamara Secret Service Expert & Author





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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Secret Service reads "just about everything"...Vince Palamara

From "The Secret Service: The Hidden History of an Enigmatic Agency" (2005 expanded edition) by Philip Melanson, page 353 (I am in this book on several pages, including the Bibliography):

"...the Service reads just about everything about itself, though it won't admit it publicly or through the Freedom of Information Act."

Jerry Kivett, a Secret Service agent in the fateful Dallas motorcade, wrote to me (Vince Palamara): “I have already read some of your thoughts and conclusions on the internet and did not necessarily agree with them, but then everyone is entitled to their own opinion.” [E-mail to author from Kivett, 2/4/06]

Tony Sherman, a Secret Service agent who served on the WHD from 9/61 to 10/63 (and later was interviewed for both Seymour Hersh's "The Dark Side Of Camelot" and the accompanying ABC special with Peter Jennings)wrote to me: "“May I suggest that you get a copy of THE SECRET SERVICE: THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF AN ENIGMATIC AGENCY by Professor Phillip Melanson, PhD. This book is by far the best, most professional “study” of the USSS I have ever read. I believe it will give you other answers to your questions.” What Sherman apparently did not know or remember was that the author’s work was included in Melanson’s book!
[Letter to author from Sherman, 2/19/04]

Larry Newman, a Secret Service agent who served on the WHD from 10/61 to 10/63 (and later, like Sherman, was interviewed for both Seymour Hersh's "The Dark Side Of Camelot" and the accompanying ABC special with Peter Jennings) had seen me on “The Men Who Killed Kennedy” in November 2003 and thought I was some “20 year old kid” (actually, 36 at the time!). He also mentioned my letter he received and chose not to answer back in 1997. [2/7/04 phone interview with Newman by the author]

Mark Harmon, a current Secret Service employee, contacted the author due to my Amazon.Com review of the 2004 National Geographic DVD "Inside The U.S. Secret Service" [2005 e-mails from Harmon to author]:


Mike Maddaloni, a Secret Service agent who served on PPD under Carter and Reagan (and who later authored two books) also contacted the author due to one of my Amazon.Com reviews, this time for the 2005 book by a former colleague of his, former Secret Service agent (ASAIC of PPD, Reagan era) Joe Petro, entitled "Standing Next To History" [2006 e-mails from Maddaloni to author]:


Maddaloni also included MY review of his book at his website:

Wow! What a page turner.

"Not On The Level" is a page turner. I am very impressed with this well-written, entertaining, and thought-provoking book by former Secret Service agent Mike Maddaloni. Uncle Tony and Uncle Sal will be burned into your brain, while Joe De Falco's narration pulls it all together. Get this book asap!

Vince Palmara- Pittsburgh, PA
Leading authority on Secret Service History and Secret Service consultant to " The History Channel".

[Mike misspells my last name ;-)]

James Mastrovito, who retired in 2004 after a career of some fifty years in law enforcement and intelligence, as an employee of the FBI and the Secret Service (playing a role in the HSCA and ARRB investigations) and as an independent contractor with the CIA, includes my lengthy comments/ articles at his Blog:


Also (unsolicited connections):

Walt Martineau, the son of former Secret Service agent Maurice Martineau [interviewed 9/21/93 and 6/7/96 by the author, as well as receiving a letter dated 11/23/97], contacted the author via e-mail in 2004;

A close neighbor of the late SAIC of the WHD during the JFK/ LBJ era, Jerry Behn (Interviewed 3 times by the author on 9/27/92; also: Jean Brownell Behn-wife 11/18/95; 11/28/97-letter; Sandra Kane-daughter of Behn 8/8/95; Behn passed away 4/21/93), contacted the author via e-mail in 2000, requesting anonymity;

Reid McNally, the grandson of former Secret Service agent--and, later, chief of WHCA---George J. McNally (a Texas trip veteran), contacted the author via e-mail in 2006;

John Letteer, the nephew of former Secret Service agent Roy Letteer, contacted the author via Debra Conway of JFK Lancer/ e-mail, then on to myself via e-mail, in 2007 regarding my book;

A close relative of Mike Reilly, the SAIC of FDR's WHD, contacted the author via e-mail in 2005;

Ned Hall III, the son of the late former agent---and Texas trip veteran---Ned Hall II, contacted the author via e-mail in 2007;

Peter Schweizer, the husband (and 'co-writer') of co-author Rochelle Schweizer for former Secret Service agent John Barletta's book "Riding With Reagan", added the author to his "Interesting People" list at Amazon.Com (due to my 5-star review of his wife's--and Barletta's---book):

See bottom of:

see also:


Jerry Bechtle Junior, the son of former Secret Service agent Jerry Bechtle, Sr. [The author previously received a letter from Bechtle, Sr. dated 12/17/97], contacted the author via e-mail on 6/29/01 (and, later, during 11/03, at the time of the author's appearance on "The Men Who Killed Kennedy"). Postscript: Bechtle, Sr. took the liberty of forwarding my letter to him on to Assistant Director of Public Affairs H. Terrence “Terry” Samway. Not surprisingly, Samway wrote back: "In regard to your question concerning the protection of President Kennedy, the Secret Service does not consider it appropriate to comment on issues of this nature. Thank you for your interest"[letter to author 1/16/98] Finally, the author wrote to the United States Secret Service, as well as phoning and e-mailing Secret Service Archivist Mike Sampson in 2004-2005, but never received a reply...although I DID notice that letters I received from former Secret Service agents (i.e. Winston Lawson)--and even Secret Service books I received via Amazon.Com---had been previously opened before I received them (Patriotic Act?)!

ARRB FINAL REPORT (Given to President Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and Trent Lott; Secret Service intimately involved in): "Vincent Palamara: Interviews with Secret Service Personnel

Vincent Palamara conducted extensive interviews with former Secret Service personnel. Palamara donated three audio cassettes of these interviews to the JFK Collection."



(postscript: Incredibly, according to Chapter 8 of the ARRB’s Final Report from 1998:“Congress passed the JFK Act of 1992. One month later, the Secret Service began its compliance efforts. However, in January 1995, the Secret Service destroyed presidential protection survey reports for some of President Kennedy's trips in the fall of 1963. The Review Board learned of the destruction approximately one week after the Secret Service destroyed them, when the Board was drafting its request for additional information. The Board believed that the Secret Service files on the President's travel in the weeks preceding his murder would be relevant [emphasis added].” As the ARRB's Doug Horne wrote in a memo dated 4/16/96: "The "final decision" to approve the Texas trip made "late Tuesday night" indicates that decision came on September 24, 1963...the Secret Service Protective Survey Reports…which were destroyed in 1995 commence with trip files starting on this same date: September 24, 1963 [emphasis added].")

January 1995 was just after the author's research, appearance in various books and journals, and various contacts with former agents really took off...

Finally, solicited connections via e-mail/ internet [note: this list does not include all author interviews/ contacts/ attempted contacts, only those of interest to this post]:

The author wrote to the AFAUSSS, The Association of Former Agents of the United States Secret Service, the USSS, and former agent Earl Devaney (Inspector General for the Department of the Interior)in July 2007 but did not receive a response


[Note: the author previously spoke to Hamilton Brown, the former Exec. Sec. of the AFAUSSS, on 9/30/92 (telling me to "cease and desist" from contacting any more of his associates!), as well as receiving letters from the current Exec. Sec. of the AFAUSSS, Don Stebbins, on 2/27/04 & 6/6/05, respectively]. The AFAUSSS has a directory, a members-only newsletter entitled "The Pipeline", the aforementioned website, and holds annual conferences across the country.

J. Walter Coughlin 1/15/04, 2/21/04: letters (including sending Coughlin his Texas A & M University Library oral history dated 4/19/86 that he did not have or was even aware of!) ; 2/22/04, 2/23/04, 2/24/04, 2/25/04, 2/26/04, 2/27/04, 2/28/04, 2/29/04, 3/1/04, 3/10/04, 12/2/04, 1/20/05, 4/25/05, 4/26/05, 4/27/05, 4/28/05, 4/28/05, 5/3/05, 5/4/05, 5/5/05, 5/6/05, 5/7/05, 7/8/05, 7/9/05, 7/11/05, 7/15/05, various in 2006: e-mails

Winston Lawson, the lead advance agent for JFK's doomed trip to Dallas, wrote the author: “I understand from my friend [fellow former agent and Texas trip veteran] Walt Coughlin that you wondered why Glen Bennett from PRS was on the trip [note: The author did not tell Coughlin, who lives in Texas, about the author’s contact with Lawson, who lives in Virginia, regarding this or any other question]" [1/20/04 letter from Lawson to the author].

Joseph Paolella, former JFK era Secret Service agent: 7/22/99-email;

A. Dale Wunderlich, former JFK era Secret Service agent (inc. working for PRS): 10/9/99-email;

Ronald M. Pontius, former JFK era Secret Service agent: Oct. 2000 e-mail;

Ken Wiesman, former JFK era Secret Service agent: Oct. 2000 e-mail;

Frank G. Stoner, former JFK era Secret Service agent (including being a PRS Liaison Officer): 1/10/04, 1/21/04, 2/15/04, 2/28/04: letters (w/ pictures+book+report); 1/17/04, 1/18/04: calls; 1/18/04, 1/19/04, 1/21/04, 2/12/04, 2/14/04, 2/15/04, 2/17/04, 2/25/04, 2/26/04, 2/27/04, 2/28/04, 3/1/04, 12/2/04 (from wife Elaine): e-mails;

Gerald W. O’Rourke, former JFK era Secret Service agent: 1/15/04 letter+2/11/04; 6/16/05, 6/17/05, 6/18/05, 7/23/05: e-mails;

Darwin David Horn Sr., former JFK era Secret Service agent: 1/30/04, 2/14/04, 2/20/04, 2/22/04, 2/23/04, 2/24/04, 2/25/04, 2/26/04, 2/27/04, 2/28/04, 3/1/04, 3/2/04, 3/3/04, 3/8/04, 3/19/04, 3/26/04, 4/25/05, 4/27/05, 5/4/05: e-mails; 2/21/04: letter (+inscribed book);

Gerald S. Blaine, former JFK era Secret Service agent: 2/7/04, 6/10/05; 6/12/05, 6/13/05, 7/9/05, 7/11/05: e-mails;

Robert R. “Bob” Snow, former JFK era Secret Service agent, Headquarters/ Public Affairs, and technical consultant to many Hollywood movies (i.e. "In The Line Of Fire"): 3/9/04-letter; 3/12/04, 12/2/04, 12/8/04, 12/9/04, 12/10/04, 12/20/04, 4/28/05: e-mails;

Paul S. Rundle, former JFK era Secret Service agent: 3/6/04-e-mail;

George D. Rogers (Assistant Director, Office of Government & Public Affairs) 6/14/05, 7/15/05: e-mails;

Annie Stromberg re: Paul Landis (WHD: First Lady Detail) 4/6/99 e-mail [Also: phoned Landis twice on 2/7/04: 2 unreturned messages; not inc. 2 unanswered letters]

Howell “Hal” Purvis, an LBJ era Secret Service agent: 2006 e-mails;

Tom Heuerman (Secret Service, 1969-1971: Minnesota, Chicago, and temporary WHD assignment protecting Nixon around the world; also protected former V.P. Humphrey) 2/12/04-e-mail

William Carter, a JFK/ LBJ era agent who took part in the post-assassination investigation (i.e. Marina Oswald) and the author of a book ("Get Carter"), April 2007 e-mail

John Barletta, a former agent best known for his Reagan era protective service (and the author of the book "Riding With Reagan"), July/ Aug. 2007 e-mails

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