The Confession of Secret Service Agent Clint Hill

Secret Service Agent Clint Hill & Friends- I am always on their minds

Vince Palamara Secret Service Expert & Author





Secret Service JFK

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Excellent comments on "The Kennedy Detail" Discovery Channel special by Randy Gunter & Randy Owen

"The Warren Omission Channel Strikes Again!"
Sat Dec-04-10 12:57 AM by Randy Gunter

think it is very easy to see this presentation from the “Warren Omission Channel” aka Discovery Channel, for what it is; An attempt by these remaining USSS agents to do a self-cleansing of their souls before they check out to meet their maker. These agents have waited 47 years to return to Dallas and basically address or disclose nothing? Why? Because they are still tormented by the Dealey Plaza Demons and Ghosts of November 22, 1963. Did you notice Win Lawson in his hospital room or convalescent home? He's on his deathbed and trying to exorcise the demons.

Like many others have said, they addressed none of the plethora of USSS issues that occurred during the Dallas Debacle but yet had the nerve to complain about “their workload”, “their long hours” and “their low pay” of 1963. Jerry Blaine made the comment “I was on poverty level, had I lived in Chicago.” I think this is a gross lie, his current day annual salary comes in around $65K.

Sorry fellows, if you’re looking for sympathy from me, it isn’t happening. You chose your job, and you failed miserably at it. If you didn’t like it, quit and move on to something else (Like Jerry “Complain” Blaine did after JFK was killed). He said he "walked out and later had regrets".

As a veteran of numerous USSS missions, I can speak personally to the life of a USSS agent. You have the prestige of protecting the most important person in the world and his family, and other heads of state. You travel to some of the most exotic and exciting places in the world. You stay in some of the best hotels, resorts, and eat some of the finest cuisine known to mankind. You have the US Government provide you with PERDIEM for travel and a clothing allowance to purchase business suits and wardrobe on top of your regular pay. You meet famous persons from all types of venues. You draw a federal retirement when you're eligible. How is this so bad again?

The USSS detail had a full day on November 21, 1963; Houston, San Antonio, and a return to Fort Worth at Midnight. So, what did they do? Go to sleep? No. They decided to make a long day the longest day by going out and staying out drinking and carousing until 5 or 6 in the a.m. on November 22nd. Then report for duty within 1-2 hours to protect the President. This ladies and gentlemen was “Dereliction of Duty” in it’s highest regard.

They were sworn to protect the President and his family, and prohibited from drinking alcohol while serving in this capacity. Whenever, I was performing a USSS mission, I was cautioned, counseled, whatever you wish to call it, that I if I was found to be drinking alcohol or drunk during a USSS mission (either by being caught in the act or the smell of alcohol on my breath), I would be court-martialed by the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice).

Total Dereliction of Duty by these agents, but yet was anyone ever punished or reprimanded for their actions? No. They are viewed by some as “Heros”. Since when are the actions I have described, one of a “Hero”?

Clint Hill said the only way he came to understand and accept what happened in DP that fateful day was by admitting “That the shooter had the advantage that day.”

Oh really, Mr. Hill? If that isn’t the biggest copout I’ve ever heard, I don’t know what is. So you and your fellow USSS agents were doing all you could by staying out all night drinking, and by compromising the security and integrity of the parade route (i.e. By not posting agents or security in high threat and vulnerable areas such as the slow turns where open windows were prevalent and where cover and concealment were obvious threats (i.e. Grassy Knoll, Storm Drains, Open Building Windows), and by ordering agents not to react even when JFK was under attack?

Wow, I guess when you give all of those advantages away without a fight and saying that “The shooter had all the advantage that day”, you are correct Mr. Hill.


"A young man who does not have what it takes to perform military service is not likely to have what it takes to make a living." - John F. Kennedy
After a delay in the U.S., “The Kennedy Detail” documentary aired last night on the Canadian Discovery Channel. The two-hour special, with former Secret Service agents, has its highlights and lowlights.

For those interested in seeing rare family films and photos of the Kennedys, the show aired several I have never seen before. There is some remarkable footage and fascinating anecdotes by some of the agents. Recently, documentary filmmakers have been using an interesting technique to make still photographs come alive. It's a simulated 3-D effect in which the subjects in the photo appear closer to the camera than the rest of the picture, and in some cases, there is a slow zoom-in on the subjects making it appear they are slowly moving. Unfortunately, the producers and edits picked the wrong picture to use this technique on. I'll explain later.

In the lead-up to the assassination, the documentary did an excellent job of showing what the Secret Service agents went through during the course of their duties...the low pay, the days and weeks of being away from their own families, and their attachment to the subjects they were supposed to protect. The agents' memories of the death of infant Patrick Kennedy is just one of the very moving segments of the show.

There are some rare views of JFK's visit to Florida in the days before his death. However, there is no discussion of possible plots to kill him, as alleged in some recent books.

As for the assassination, there is a lot of rarely seen footage. For longtime researchers, they won't find anything new, however. There is a cool animation showing the location of some of the agents in the motorcade.

It's heartbreaking to see interview subjects break down and cry, like several did in the 1988 series “The Men Who Killed Kennedy.” That was 25 years after the assassination. Now, nearly 50 years later, it's probably even more heartbreaking to see some of the agents come to tears during parts of their narrative after all these years.

Some of the issues not addressed in the show include:
-JFK's infidelities (I'd like to know what they knew and how it made them feel—this was addressed in the 2003 book “The Dark Side of Camelot” and the ABC-TV special back then “Dangerous World,” but I would have liked to have heard these particular agents' versions),
-the late night in Fort Worth the night before (not one word was mentioned about this),
-the stand-down footage at Love Field (not only was it not addressed, it wasn't even shown),
-reports of a dead SS agent (I would have liked to have seen how the agents thought this story got started—there has been some coverage elsewhere of the agents' wives who thought the worst when they heard these reports),
-the confrontation with the FBI at Parkland (an FBI agent was reportedly “decked” by a SS agent when the G-man entered the emergency area of Parkland),
-the cleaning of the limo at Parkland (any ideas on who did it and why),
-preparations for the WC investigation (I'd like to know if they received instructions, like James Hosty of the FBI--”I was told not to volunteer any information, just to answer their questions”),
-reactions to the deaths of RFK, and JFK Jr.,
-and the destruction of documents that were supposed to have been turned over to the Assassination Records Review Board in the 1990's.

No surprise that the agents believe Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin. I may disagree, but still respect their opinions. However, Gerald Blaine, co-author of the book that inspired this program, says Oswald fit the profile of an assassin. Really? First, there have been reports over the years that a CIA pyschological profile of Oswald showed he did not fit the profile of an assassin. Also, unlike most lone assassins, Oswald had a wife and two daughters and never claimed responsibility for his act. Hardly the profile of an assassin. While Oswald may fit some characteristics of an assassin, he just as easily as he fits some of the characteristics of a patsy.

Oh, the problem with the 3-D effect? One of the controversial photos taken during LBJ's swearing-in is the one of the “wink.” I was surprised to see it on the show. However, the 3-D effect makes the foreground subjects look larger than they really were in the photo and because of this Lady Bird Johnson's hair covered up the wink! For the producers and editors, it was a bad choice and a bad effect to use on that particular photo.

Three of the agents, Hill, Landis and Lawson, returned to Dealey Plaza and while inside the former Texas School Book Depository remarked how easy the shots were to make. I'm sure Jesse Ventura, a former Navy Seal and sharpshooter, and other marksmen would disagree.

Nearly 50 years after the murder in Dallas, it is still fascinating to see the event still resonates emotionally with the agents. One agent in particular still shows a high degree of anger when discussing Oswald's demeanor during his interrogations.

While there is very little discussion of conspiracy theories (or even conspiracy evidence), it seems the agents fail to realize one reason the theories have proliferated is because of their silence over the years. The agents also seem to not know that some conspiracy theorists or researchers have actually helped debunk some of the wilder accusations made against the Secret Service. Robert Groden has been very effective in disputing the theory that agent Bill Greer, the driver of the limousine, fatally shot JFK. Other researchers have also helped to counter the myth JFK was accidentally shot by an agent in the followup car.

Evidence aside, the show does put a human face on the agents whose service required them to be secret while carrying out their public duties. Even with a lack of counselling, the fact these agents survived an event that took a such a heavily emotional and destructive toll speaks volumes. It's unfortunate that their silence over the years, sometimes self-imposed, caused them long-suffering depression. It's also obvious that the scars of this event will not go away even after all these years.

I applaud the agents for coming forward now with their stories. I only wish they had done it sooner. One lesson to be learned from this sad chapter in history: when government officials hold back on revealing the truth at the time, it will be almost impossible to reveal it later and have people believe it.


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