MY 5 BOOKS + DVD/BLU RAY. I AM ALSO ON NEWSMAX TELEVISION (OCT-DEC 2019; JANUARY 2020 and beyond). They are rebroadcasting my episode of THE MEN WHO KILLED KENNEDY, a massive ratings and DVD bonanza for the History Channel back in 2003

Secret Service JFK

Secret Service, JFK, President Kennedy, James Rowley, Gerald Behn, Floyd Boring, Roy Kellerman, John Campion, William Greer, Forest Sorrels, Clint Hill, Winston Lawson, Emory Roberts, Sam Kinney, Paul Landis, John "Jack" Ready, William "Tim" McIntyre, Glenn Bennett, George Hickey, Rufus Youngblood, Warren "Woody" Taylor, Jerry Kivett, Lem Johns, John "Muggsy" O'Leary, Sam Sulliman, Ernest Olsson, Robert Steuart, Richard Johnsen, Stewart "Stu" Stout, Roger Warner, Henry "Hank" Rybka, Donald Lawton, Dennis Halterman, Walt Coughlin, Andy Berger, Ron Pontius, Bert de Freese, Jim Goodenough, Bill Duncan, Ned Hall II, Mike Howard, Art Godfrey, Gerald Blaine, Ken Giannoules, Paul Burns, Gerald O'Rourke, Robert Faison, David Grant, John Joe Howlett, Bill Payne, Robert Burke, Frank Yeager, Donald Bendickson, Gerald Bechtle, Howard Norton, Hamilton Brown, Toby Chandler, Chuck Zboril, Joe Paolella, Wade Rodham, Bob Foster, Lynn Meredith, Rad Jones, Thomas Wells, Charlie Kunkel, Stu Knight, Paul Rundle, Glen Weaver, Arnie Lau, Forrest Guthrie, Eve Dempsher, Bob Lilley, Ken Wiesman, Mike Mastrovito, Tony Sherman, Larry Newman, Morgan Gies, Tom Shipman, Ed Tucker, Harvey Henderson, Abe Bolden, Robert Kollar, Ed Mougin, Mac Sweazey, Horace "Harry" Gibbs, Tom Behl, Jim Cantrell, Bill Straughn, Tom Fridley, Mike Kelly, Joe Noonan, Gayle Dobish, Earl Moore, Arthur Blake, John Lardner, Milt Wilhite, Bill Skiles, Louis Mayo, Thomas Wooge, Milt Scheuerman, Talmadge Bailey, Bob Lapham, Bob Newbrand, Bernie Mullady, Jerry Dolan, Vince Mroz, William Bacherman, Howard Anderson, U.E. Baughman, Walt Blaschak, Robert Bouck, George Chaney, William Davis, Paul Doster, Dick Flohr, Jack Fox, John Giuffre, Jim Griffith, Jack Holtzhauer, Andy Hutch, Jim Jeffries, John Paul Jones, Kent Jordan, Dale Keaner, Brooks Keller, Thomas Kelley, Clarence Knetsch, Jackson Krill, Elmer Lawrence, Bill Livingood, J. Leroy Lewis, Dick Metzinger, Jerry McCann, John McCarthy, Ed Morey, Chester Miller, Roy "Gene" Nunn, Jack Parker, Paul Paterni, Burrill Peterson, Max Phillips, Walter Pine, Michael Shannon, Frank Stoner, Cecil Taylor, Charles Taylor, Bob Taylor, Elliot Thacker, Ken Thompson, Mike Torina, Jack Walsh, Jack Warner, Thomas White, Ed Wildy, Carroll Winslow, Dale Wunderlich, Walter Young, Winston Gintz, Bill Carter, C. Douglas Dillon, James Johnson, Larry Hess, Frank Farnsworth, Jim Giovanneti,Bob Gaugh,Don Brett, Jack Gleason, Bob Jamison, Gary Seale, Bill Sherlock, Bob Till, Doc Walters...

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011: what a year! (and please "View My Complete Profile" for MANY more blogs!)

194 BLOGS IN 2011-INCREDIBLE! More than the last two years COMBINED (for those doing the math, 123+68=191)...and almost DOUBLE the first three years combined (13+19+68=100)...and that is NOT including all the many NEW blog sites I created.

Let's see: I heard from Mark Lane, then I appear in his great book; I hear from (my favorite) former agent Robert DeProspero and, later, his daughter-and current Secret Service employee-Robin---quite a thrill for me (and my name was added to the nomination for a prestigious award in Bob's honor!!!); former agent Dan Emmett seeks out my input for his forthcoming book (read on); I appear in several other books; my PA Cable Access show continues from 2010 into early 2011; I visit Washington D.C. and the White House; many more videos were produced for my booming You Tube channel; and my C-SPAN appearance from November 2010 is shown at least one more time in 2011. Pretty damn good.

Alas, it's ultimately not about QUANTITY, but QUALITY. I hope I have achieved a good measure of that here. And yes: it is quite obvious that the news of the forthcoming publication of Gerald Blaine's "The Kennedy Detail" [Nov 2010] in late 2009 was the reason for the sharp spike in blog activity from that point onward...that and Gerald Blaine's attorney sending me that pesky letter LOL :)

The coming year promises a whole lot, as well: my C-SPAN "sparring partner", former agent Clint Hill, is coming out with a book entitled "Mrs. Kennedy & Me" in May (co-written with "Kennedy Detail" co-author Lisa McCubbin); former agent and newfound friend Dan Emmett is coming out with his outstanding book "Within Arm's Length" in late January (my positive blurb will be on the cover and, among many former agents who will read the book, President Clinton is getting a copy, as well); author David Wayne's book should be out (using my research materials); and a whole lot more.


Vince Palamara :O)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011



6 Dec, 2011 05:18 CET


Last Word, written by the leading JFK assassination historian and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Rush to Judgment, that refuted the Warren Commission Report and changed the way Americans understood the assassination, has been unanimously lauded by independent reviewers and by legal experts in the field.

The Hartford Book Examiner wrote:

Last Word was released earlier this month, and has since created quite a bit of buzz among readers…. Lane’s “first book, Rush to Judgment, has been credited with changing America’s perception of the Warren Report and resulting in skepticism of unproven governmental assertions.” In a recent interview with, Lane states, “it is in its analysis of all of the relevant factors, from former President Truman's warning and fears about the growing power of the CIA published in The New York Times one month to the day after the assassination of President Kennedy, to the facts establishing that a then secret group within the CIA engaged in planning assassinations of heads of state was also responsible for creating and distributing Secret Service credentials used by that organization for President Kennedy's visit to Dallas, that the book (Last Word) makes its contribution to the record.

Read the interview in its entirety:
The review published by the Library Journal Xpress follows:

Attorney Lane (Rush to Judgment) has since 1966 relentlessly challenged the Warren Commission Report's conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald solely murdered President Kennedy. Here, Lane sums up his lifetime investigations that conclude that the CIA, not Oswald, killed Kennedy because of JFK's peace overtures to Vietnam and Cuba and for his plan to replace the CIA with an organization that would not operate like a separate government. The author, who is no crackpot conspiracy honcho and presents his case in a disturbingly convincing manner, also deems that special agents framed and killed Oswald. Lane's … spirited defense of Abraham Bolden's The Echo from Dealey Plaza, with its claims that a racist and lax security detail led to Kennedy's death, is gripping.

Verdict: Both readers who have followed the JFK assassination for years and those new to one of the great debates of the 20th century will find much to contemplate here; but despite Lane's title, this will not be the "last word" on the assassination. — Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA

The foremost authority in the United States on the question of the Secret Service and the assassination of President Kennedy, Vince Palamara, wrote:

Attorney Mark Lane thoroughly destroys Gerald Blaine & Lisa McCubbin's book "The Kennedy Detail": on the merit of this alone, every person who purchased and/or read that book needs to read this as the antidote. Lane saves his best JFK work for last with his appropriately titled tome "The Last Word", a book that joins Jim Douglass "JFK & The Unspeakable" and Douglas Horne's 5-volume series "Inside The Assassination Records Review Board" in the "holy troika" of essential, must-read (and own) Kennedy assassination books. Lane skillfully takes apart Vincent Bugliosi's magnum opus on the Oswald-did-it side entitled "Reclaiming History" and, most of all, Gerald Blaine's fraudulent "JFK-told-us-not-to" book "The Kennedy Detail"---for the latter, Lane used my research materials, for which I am most grateful. In addition, Lane adds further credibility to the tale of former Secret Service Agent Abraham Bolden and his book "The Echo From Dealey Plaza." It never ceases to amaze me how much great literature and research has come forth in the last 5-10 years. Mark Lane's book "The Last Word" adds to his legacy greatly. Get this one asap---Bugliosi, Blaine, and the CIA have a lot to answer for! Highly recommended; fantastic!­— Vince Palamara, Secret Service Expert

The most prominent former prosecutor, Robert K. Tanenbaum, who ran the Homicide Bureau for the District Attorney’s Office in New York, reviewed Last Word. Tanenbaum was also chosen to investigate the Kennedy assassination by the United States Congressional Committee, the House Select Committee on Assassinations. Tanenbaum concluded:

Lane’s Last Word reveals his courageous challenge to the Warren Commission report and his scathing critique of unconscionable CIA outrages. The penetrating accuracy of his reportage may be measured by the personal attacks he endured that were orchestrated by upper-echelon rogue CIA operatives…. Whether one agrees with Mark Lane’s conclusions or not, everyone should read Last Word. His courageous efforts, his scholarly research and remarkable advocacy are a tribute to his enormous capacity to seek the truth. We are all better people because of that he has done.
Last Word is the most important book ever written about the assassination of JFK. More than that, it is one of the most important books written about where we are as a nation and what we are required to do to save our democracy.

Yet, apparently because Last Word demonstrated the role of the CIA in the murder of President Kennedy, the establishment television programs and establishment book reviewers have neither commented about the book nor permitted Lane to be heard. A possible explanation appears in Last Word in a CIA dispatch to book reviewers and the media stating that Lane’s work in this area should be censored. That document, no longer Top Secret, is published in Last Word.

For more information or to schedule a speaking engagement with Mr. Lane, contact Sue Herndon (

Skyhorse Publishing, November, 2011. Available on,, and wherever fine books are sold.

Contact Sue Herndon ( for more information or to schedule a speaking engagement with Mr. Lane.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

From Dale Thorn's review of Mark Lane's excellent book "The Last Word"

BOOK THREE - The Secret Service (Chapters 14 to 19):

I thought by now I had read everything on the JFK assassination, especially about the rather obvious and visible Secret Service. Be prepared for some surprises. Where the Warren Commission glossed over the Secret Service "failures" the day of the assassination, the HSCA set the record straighter: "No actions were taken by the agent in the right front seat of the Presidential limousine to cover the President..." In fact, the two agents in the President's car and the eight agents in the car immediately behind the President did nothing between the first shot and the final shot more than six seconds later. By contrast, the agents in the Vice-President's car acted immediately on the first shot to protect the Vice-President, jumping on him and covering him completely.

A fascinating tidbit I had been unaware of is that 11 of the most experienced members of the White House Secret Service detail were transferred to other assignments in the 60 days preceding the assassination. There is no explanation for that as far as I know.

One former Secret Service member, Gerald Blaine wrote the book The Kennedy Detail in 2009, endorsing the Warren Report and offering explanations for the behaviors of the various agents the day of the assassination, although Blaine was not in Dallas that day. Errors and omissions abound in Blaine's book, among which are not knowing the nature of Drew Pearson's employment or reputation when they dismissed his newspaper column criticizing the Secret Service on December 1, 1963. Worse is Blaine's assertion that Pearson got it all wrong in his column about the agents' behavior the night before the assassination, when Pearson stated that the agents were out drinking until the wee hours of the morning.

Blaine's accusations against former agent Abraham Bolden are also telling, where Blaine states that there was no corroboration of any of Bolden's stories about the Secret Service and the virulent racism he encountered there. According to Mark Lane, Blaine states several times in his book that there was never a hint of racism in the Secret Service, although nearly 10 years before Blaine's book the Washington Post reported that a number of African-American Secret Service agents had applied to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to file a class action lawsuit against the Secret Service for racial discrimination. In 2007, National Public Radio reported that "58 African-American Secret Service agents issued sworn statements in a class action lawsuit claiming racial discrimination by the agency."

Saturday, December 17, 2011

In memoriam: Robert R. Faison, 1929-2011

In memoriam: Robert R. Faison, 1929-2011

By Robin Rose Parker, Published: December 15

In the spring of 1963, Special Agent Robert R. Faison was permanently assigned to President John Kennedy’s Secret Service protection detail. For any agent, rising to this elite level was an undeniable achievement, but for Faison, as the first African American to hold this post, it was groundbreaking [he was NOT: ABRAHAM BOLDEN beat him by 2+ years...unless she means "permanently", then that is acceptable]. Hardworking and strongly convinced, as he told his son, that a black man must push to be better than average, Faison reached this position by employing the same determination that made him one of the youngest first sergeants in the Korean War at the age of 22.

Faison was hired by the Secret Service in 1962 and by the next year quickly promoted to the ultimate assignment: protecting the president. Still, he was not exempt from America’s harsh racial climate. He received the prestigious appointment the same year that four black girls were killed in the Birmingham bombing; the same year civil rights activist Medgar Evers was murdered. It was also the year the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.

As one of the first black men ever hired as a special agent [others: CHARLIE GITTENS, ABRAHAM BOLDEN, CONRAD CROSS], he faced challenges being perceived as an equal among peers. He learned that FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover questioned Kennedy on the wisdom of trusting his life to a black man. And for Faison, traveling also proved difficult. The night before Kennedy was assassinated, the protection detail checked into the Hotel Texas in Fort Worth to await Kennedy’s arrival from Dallas. A clerk told them they would have to make other arrangements for the Negro, according to Gerald Blaine, a former special agent and co-author of the book “The Kennedy Detail.” One of the agents informed the hotel clerk that if Faison couldn’t stay, the detail wouldn’t stay, and if they didn’t, neither would Kennedy. The clerk quickly changed his mind.

While Faison had close relationships with his wife and two sons, his professional life was largely a mystery to his family and friends. They asked him about the presidents he protected, but Faison refused to answer. He kept piles of career mementos that begged for accompanying stories, such as a signed photograph of Jacqueline Kennedy or the picture of Faison running alongside President Lyndon Johnson’s motorcade. But his sons learned to be satisfied with shirts brought home from around the world — and no details.

In 1995, cancer claimed Faison’s first wife, Dorothy. Two years later, he married Jacquelyn McGee. “Coming into his life in the last 16 years, I had a lot of questions,” she says. “I learned early on in my relationship with him that there were some things that he was simply not going to talk about.” His reticence, however, never created problems for his conversations; people found him easy to talk to. “He would much rather listen than speak,” Jacquelyn Faison says. “He always gave you the chance to talk about yourself, rather than for him to talk.”

Though Faison was reluctant to share the particulars of his professional life, it was clear that he loved his work. In fact, he had difficulty transitioning into retirement. For weeks after leaving his position in 1982, he continued to get up in the morning and dress for business, sitting around the house in a shirt and tie. It wasn’t long before he returned to the Secret Service, where he spent the next several years as a contractor, conducting background investigations for prospective agents from his basement office.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Former Secret Service agent gives perspective on terrorism, assassinations

Former Secret Service agent gives perspective on terrorism, assassinations
By Andrew Benore | Dec 10, 2011

Courtesy of: Camden Public Library
Tom McCarthy is a retired U.S. Secret Service agent who also provided training to security forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Israel and the Philippines. Terrorism and assassinations can change the world’s balance of power, and alter the course of history. Tom McCarthy, a former Secret Service agent who retired to Camden, recently taught a class and delivered presentations on those topics.

He brings a “personal perspective” to the talks as a former agent and someone who has traveled with the U.S. State Department to the world’s hot spots to provide training for security forces. He recently discussed his thoughts in a phone interview.

“It’s not just Iraq and Afghanistan,” McCarthy said. “You’ve got places like Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers, the southern Philippines with Abu Sayyaf — all locations where I’ve trained at. You’re around the atmosphere that would lend a sense of flavor and maybe a little bit of credibility in terms of what you’re talking about.”

McCarthy is not the only person living in Camden with those experiences, and that may be part of the reason he moved to the Midcoast town. He can find neighbors with similar service backgrounds at the monthly meetings of the Mid-Coast Forum on Foreign Relations and the Camden Conference.

For his presentations and classes, McCarthy goes back to his nearly 25 years of Secret Service experience with investigations and 15 years of training security forces around the world. He takes that background and applied it to current reading and research to make his assessment on issues such as security, threats, violence, power and politics.

Terror seems to rock Iraq and Afghanistan on a regular basis, while attacks on U.S. soil have been more rare but more severe. Obviously, it is easier for al-Qaida to strike close to where it is based. But there are parallels to terrorism abroad and at home: Where the training comes from, financing source, indoctrination, and the motivations.

McCarthy discussed Faisal Shahzad, who is accused of trying to blow up a bomb in a Nissan Pathfinder in Times Square. Shahzad, a naturalized American citizen who worked for several years in Connecticut, traveled to Pakistan prior to the terror plot where he reportedly received training from the Taliban.

“The worry is we’re going to see more and more homegrown terrorists and once you have that you’ve got a dynamic there that’s difficult to deal with investigatively,” McCarthy said. “They’re not looking to subvert the situation in terms of access because they’re already here.”

In McCarthy’s terrorism presentation, he discusses n radical Islamic fundamentalism. One of the anecdotes he told was based on his experience talking about that subject in an undisclosed Middle Eastern country. He said a student in that class asked — in Arabic, through a translator — if a Christian who was killing people in the name of a Christian god would still be considered a Christian.

That student told McCarthy he doesn’t consider violent fundamentalists to be Muslim because there is nothing in the Koran that would justify killing innocent people in the name of God.

“It was interesting,” McCarthy said. “You’re not going to change the perception and the labeling on the part of the West — it’s still going to be radical Islamic fundamentalism…. But it was interesting to hear this guy’s perspective and it was enlightening to me.”

To McCarthy, this human rights/understanding/teaching is a big deal. He said government-sponsored classes taught overseas have a requirement by the State Department to incorporate human rights lessons.

“That’s a pretty tough situation, in light of our history, especially Abu Ghraib,” McCarthy said, referring to the abuse of prisoners at the hands of American personnel at the Iraqi prison.

“When you go out there and you demean somebody, when you torture somebody, you’re on thin ice. You’ve made an enemy forever,” McCarthy said. “If you humiliate somebody, that person is a force-multiplier — whomever they contact, there is no way they are going to be saying anything good about the U.S.”

He noted that some candidates running for their party’s nomination for president have said it is acceptable to use water-boarding as part of interrogations. It is a contradiction: On one hand the U.S. wants to win hearts and minds; on the other, prominent politicians advocate torture.

“I make a case for human rights not only being ethical, but an absolute element of pragmatism in terms of the image we’re projecting around the world,” McCarthy said.

He said al-Qaida’s message is bolstered when, for example, interrogators flush the Koran down the toilet.

More than 10 years ago, the U.S. launched the global war on terror. But terrorism is a tactic — “the use of force or threats to demoralize, intimidate and subjugate,” according to the dictionary. So how does the U.S. fight terror?

“You fight terrorism asymmetrically,” McCarthy said. As a veteran of the Vietnam War, he saw how the Viet Cong used guerrilla warfare strategies to defeat a larger, conventional force.

“Terrorism is a tactic of the weak against the strong,” McCarthy said. “If you look at any insurgency, they’re not concerned about winning battles. Al-Qaida in Afghanistan will never win a conventional battle.”

He said battles are second to the insurgent’s message, and their goal is to collapse the moral will of the people in the U.S.

In McCarthy’s presentation on assassination, he talked about the history and effect a killing has on a country. He mentioned Ahmed Wali Karzai, half-brother to Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Two assassinations that dramatically affected the Middle East were the killings of Anwar al-Sadat in 1981 and Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, he said.

“Both of those individuals were big players in terms of some sense of reconciliation,” McCarthy said. “They had the charisma and the will. These people really were heroes because they put themselves in the line of fire. They paid the ultimate price.”

The killing of President John F. Kennedy raises similar questions: Would the Vietnam War have escalated if JFK was not assassinated?

One of the last people McCarthy was assigned to protect was the president of Rwanda while he was in the U.S. About six months after that protection detail ended, the plane carrying Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana was shot down in Africa. Genocide followed the death of the Rwandan president.

“Again, it’s the consequence of assassination and what that can generate in terms of anger — the spark that just goes crazy,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy was also assigned to President Gerald Ford, and stood post for politicians of the Watergate era.

Now retired, McCarthy said he wanted to contribute something interesting, something of substance. Terrorism will continue to be an issue, he said. It will also affect how the country responds to conflicts throughout the world.

“One of the things I worry about is we may be confronted with situations that we really need to be involved in based on vital interests that we may back away from because of the frame of reference from Afghanistan and Iraq,” McCarthy said. “The reason we didn’t go into Rwanda — the frame of reference there was Somalia. Black Hawk down.”

McCarthy mentioned a prominent theme of the 2010 Camden Conference: Using soft power (diplomacy) and hard power (military might) in the right balance. Otherwise, instability (from global warming or population imbalances or who gets the most resources) will feed into al-Qaida's plan to "harness somebody’s anger," McCarthy said.

“Unfortunately, with the world the way it is, terrorism is never going to go away,” McCarthy said. “The best we can do is make the right choices, use our power in a smart fashion, use hard power and soft power, and use it proportionately so it translates to smart power.”

McCarthy isn’t going to write a tell-all book about the things he saw in the Secret Service and his travels around the world. But he continues to study and think about these issues. And he’s willing to share facts, videos and views with his Midcoast community.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

MOST reviews of "The Kennedy Detail" are terrible!

MOST reviews of "The Kennedy Detail" are terrible!


14 of 19 people found the following review helpful:
3.0 out of 5 stars Clearly written to seek and give absolution for failing, December 27, 2010
By Dawn Alger - See all my reviewsAmazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Kennedy Detail: JFK's Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence (Hardcover)
I have always been a "Kennedy buff" so reading the gripping details of peoples perceptions that fateful day and lining them up with what I have learned, knew, and even thought I knew was absolutely fascinating. While reading your sense of "why was Kennedy killedon November 22 1963" is replaced with the knowledge that it is a miracle it hadn't happened sooner. There is a point, from "6 seconds in Dallas" through some part of the funeral that is as utterly gripping as it was heartbreaking. That being said, it becomes painfully obvious, especially toward the end of the book, that the writer Gerald Blaine (who writes the book in the third person, and was NOT in the motorcade) is seeking absolution for himself, Clint Hill, and the Secret Service as a whole.

Blaine wasn't there at the moment of the assassination so absolution for himself seems unnecessary. Clint Hill was Jackie Kennedy's agent and the only person to try and DO something that day, jumping onto the presidents limousine. But this brings us directly to the failure of the Secret Service.

We read excuse after excuse as to why 1 out of the 4 Secret Service agents ran to the car when the shots were fired and while many of the explanations make sense, you simply can not absolve the Secret Service for failing miserably. ie: If it was the policy of the Secret Service follow-up-car to "turn away" from an agent jumping off the left running board, thereby blocking the agent on the right running board from assisting lest he be run over by the turning vehicle as is claimed in the book, then what you have is a moronic policy that may have cost the president his life.

Under what training regiment would a Secret Service agent hear a loud bang and assume it was a firecracker, tire blowout, or motorcycle backfire and not assume a gunshot given your entire life revolves around protecting the president from a gunshot? Yet we read that Kennedy's driver, William Greer, HIT THE BRAKES of the presidential limousine to see "if the vehicle was responding properly." While I believe the explanation, it vividly demonstrates how woefully under-trained the agent was and that is a failure of the Secret Service. This continues beyond Kennedy as the author describes a time they flew President Johnson into a mob... as if that was a good idea.

All in all a good read, if you keep in mind that this is the perceptions of a man who wasn't there for some of what happened. A man who wouldn't have knowledge of a "conspiracy" unless he were involved in one, and who glosses over any theory but his own as to what happened that day. He does clear up a few issues (like the motorcade route's inability to drive straight down Main and why) whitch definitely shed light on the chaos of that day, but nothing will ever take away the fact that the Secret Service had one job, to protect the president. A job on which November 22, 1963 they failed spectacularly.

I closed the book, closed my eyes and prayed that the Secret Service is a better, more competent agency today than it was back then.

325 of 445 people found the following review helpful:
1.0 out of 5 stars The coverup continues, November 6, 2010
By Fmr. Agent Abraham Bolden - See all my reviewsThis review is from: The Kennedy Detail: JFK's Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence (Hardcover)
I just finished reading the 448 page "Cover Your Ass" book by agent Blaine. As a former Secret Service Agent and the first African American to be appointed to the White House Detail, I was dismayed at the continued attempts by former agents to deny culpability in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The attack upon my credibility in the book, "The Kennedy Detail" was expected; but I was hoping that the former Kennedy body guards would show a modicum of contriteness in the book instead of trying to blame Kennedy's assassination on the President himself. Unlike the general reading public, I was an agent during the critical period on November 22, 1963. In my book, "The Echo from Dealey Plaza", I relate to the public what I saw while serving on the white house detail and the disrespect and hatred towards the President that I heard expressed by some of my fellow agents.

Although, Blaine refers my claims of racism in the secret service white house detail in 1961 as being unfounded, on page 25 of my book, I document by secret service file memo 3-11-602-111 the stark racism that prevented me from carrying out my protective responsibilities in Miami Florida. Mr. Blaine also states in his "cya" book that Agent Faison, who was the first African American permanently, assigned to the White House Detail in 1963 took issue with my "unbelievable" charges of racism in the secret service. If there was no racism in the secret service in 1963 then how is it that just eight years ago, 57 African American Agents filed a class action suit, (that is still pending in federal district court) charging overt racism by the agency.(see [...])?

Blaine and other agents can feed the public with the "cya" account of the secret service actions during the Kennedy area but I was there and was a witness to the incompetence, laxity of certain agents surrounding the president, the drinking and cavalier attitude among many of the agents on the detail, the references to President Kennedy as being a Ni---r lover and their disdain for his stand for racial justice and equal opportunity for All Americans. I was present among a few agents who were discussing the protection of President Kennedy in which the statement was made that if an attempt were made on the life of the President, they would take no action.

Blaine states in his book that I said that I discussed the conduct of my fellow agents on the detail with Chief James Rowley. I make no such claim. On page 45 of The Echo from Dealey Plaza, I specifically state that I discussed the problems of Kennedy's protection with Chief U. E. Baughman. I did not go to Rowley because I knew that he already knew of the conduct of the agents and would do nothing about it.

As far as agents being forbidden to ride on the special running boards of the presidential vehicle, that rumor was not circulated until "after" the assassination of the president. There was no official memorandum or other notification of such an order advising agents of this change in protective policy. This rumor is no more than a scandalous assertion put forth by agents who failed in their duty to properly protect the President of these United States.

Lastly, Blaine derides me concerning the Kennedy investigations that took place in Chicago during November, 1963; however, he has no knowledge of the chicanery that took place in the Chicago office of the secret service during that time. Unlike Blaine, I was there. I was there when in early November, 1963 the Chicago office of the secret service investigated a character named Echevarria. Echevarria stated that President Kennedy was about to be assassinated. I heard the investigating agent dictating the reports in early November, 1963. The investigation took place prior to the assassination in Dallas. On the afternoon of November 26, 1963, Inspector Kelly, SAIC James Burke,and representatives of the FBI had a meeting in the Chicago office of the secret service. Kelly and Burke were the lead investigators representing the secret service in Dallas prior to the assassination of Lee Harvey Oswald. The Echevarria investigation took place during the first two weeks in November. I was there in the office when the reports that had already been dictated by the investigating agents and typed by the secretaries were rounded up and banded in a single stack in the office of SAIC Martineau. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that these collected investigative reports were dictated by the agents PRIOR to the assassination of Kennedy. However, after Kelly and Burke ended their conference, these same reports were restructured and the dates of the investigation were changed to indicate that the Echevarria investigation was conducted AFTER the assassination and had reference to the concern for the protection of President Johnson as Blaine claims in his "CYA" book. I was there. I know what happened and Blaine may fool the general public, but he can't fool me.

Blaine refers to me as the convicted felon and uses that phrase in an attempt to discredit me and my autobiography, The Echo from Dealey Plaza. I may well be a convicted felon but I sleep well at night knowing that I did everything that I could do to save the life of President Kennedy. Can the agents standing on the running board of the follow-up car in Dallas, Texas and watching the president's head blown to pieces, say the same thing? I doubt it. They know the truth too.

362 of 433 people found the following review helpful:
4.0 out of 5 stars Depending on your vantage point - maybe great read, maybe not !!!!, November 4, 2010
By A Customer (Westport, CT) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE) (TOP 500 REVIEWER) Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Kennedy Detail: JFK's Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence (Hardcover)

I am ambivalent about the Kennedy Detail. This review was ready to go a week ago, and frankly I did not want to send it in. I have written 100 plus reviews and this is the first time I experienced this feeling.

If you are new to an understanding of the Kennedy Assassination, or the Kennedy Administration then I would tell you that you should absolutely read this book, and you will LOVE it. You will have an understanding of the adoration felt by the Secret Service agents who guarded him, as well as the American people who voted for this extraordinary man. I say extraordinary because there is no question he had a charisma which very few people possess. The manner of his death left an indelible impression on anyone who was intellectually alive at the time, and elevated him to an exalted status that he would never have obtained, had he lived. This is no different than the effect of FDR's death on America in April of 1945, or Lincoln's in April of 1865.

Now this book, "The Kennedy Detail" comes along and promises to tell us about JFK's Secret Service Agents breaking their silence. The book has a strange narrative to it. It is written by Gerald Blaine with Lisa McCubbin. Gerald Blaine was a Special Agent in the Secret Service assigned to the White House detail that guarded John Kennedy. Lisa McCubbin is a journalist that has been associated with three major television news networks. She is obviously writing the book for Blaine, but oddly enough the book is completely written in the third person. It is not Gerald Blaine's voice we are hearing. For me, this was a problem.

My real problems with the book were two fold.


We all understand that President Kennedy was a flawed man. Whether it was the issue of his flagrant womanizing, or any other inappropriate behavior, the Secret Service would have had to be completely aware of it, and or complicit to it. There is not a single word about individuals such as Marilyn Monroe, Judith Exner, Mary Meyer or any other liaison that all of us are aware of, and history recognizes to be true. Now this is perfectly respectable, because the Secret Service relationship to its President should be as a lawyer is to a client, one of confidentiality.

Now having said that, I believe at the very least that the authors should have issued a disclaimer stating that many allegations were made about President Kennedy and his personal behavior. The authors will not confirm or deny the validity of these stories. Instead the authors choose to portray a fairy tale type existence inside the White House. I simply find it less than honest, and in fact hurtful to historical accuracy. It is a disservice to the record, and not forgivable. It is fraudulent, and phony.

It would have still been all right except there are a series of photographs following page 140. On the top of the 9th page of the photographs there's a great one of JFK looking down at Marilyn Monroe's breasts on the night of his birthday party at Madison Square Garden, May 19th, 1962. If you are going to include the photograph, now you have an obligation to tell the story.


The authors are completely sympathetic towards the Warren Commission interpretation of the assassination. I have a problem with this attitude. I feel much stronger about this than I will express here. We must remember that President Johnson within hours of the Assassination felt the Secret Service was incompetent according to tapes of LBJ's conversation, and talked to J. Edgar Hoover about having the FBI take over Presidential protection. There is no disagreement on this point.

Second, Lyndon Johnson and other members of the Warren Commission including Robert Kennedy himself did not believe the lone assassin theory. Please check Arthur Schlesinger and Walter Sheridan who worked for Bobby Kennedy at the Justice department on the historical record. Why does Blaine find it necessary to frankly shove it down the reader's throat about the lone assassain theory? I would remind Mr. Blaine that the President's Lincoln Continental that he died in was a crime scene. Secret Service agents are not crime scene experts, but any crime scene detective would tell you that the first rule or procedure in a crime scene is to PRESERVE THE CRIME SCENE.

The Presidential vehicle was basically ripped apart and destroyed and reconstructed. A partial cleaning occurred at the hospital in Dallas The evidence was gone forever. Who in their right mind would have ordered such a thing? In the next five years, some 4 million assassination related documents will be released relevant to the death of JFK and we may finally get to the bottom of this terrible crime against our country.

One final point is that I resent that at different times in the book, the Secret Service wants to make us aware that President Kennedy did not want the Secret Service physically blocking him from the voters during a motorcade. When I have stood in Dealey Plaza, I realized that anybody could have pulled a handgun and shot 5 feet into the car and killed this man. He was WIDE OPEN, and this is unforgivable.

What I LIKED about this book:

This is the finest book ever written about the Secret Service or the President's protection. Nothing comes close and I have seen everything. If you want to understand how the President is protected, this is the book for you. If you want to know how Secret Service protection differs today from what it was like back then in the 1960's, there is no better way to find out than through this book. The difference is like night and day. You need to understand practices and procedures back then, to understand what they are like today.

What you will realize is that these agents are highly professional, dedicated men, who swear an oath to place their bodies in the line of fire between those they protect, and those who seek to do harm. One has to have tremendous respect for these agents. Now having said that, there is a difference between those who protected FDR, Truman, Kennedy, and all those who came later. The organization has moved from a 3 or 4 car motorcade to a 50 to 54 car motorcade. Overworked agents who did consecutive multiple shifts with a commensurate decrease in their capacity to function were a norm back then. Now there is an abundance of agents protecting POTUS.

Overall protection for the President including costs of Air Force One, and Marine One approaches several hundred million dollars per year. This estimate is in the public area, and will not be verified by the Secret Service. The dollars spent is even shielded from Congress through budgetary hocus pocus. JFK had 30 to 40 Secret Service agents assigned to his detail - that's it. Heads of many American corporations routinely have a 24 man protection detail which includes 8 men per 8 hour shift. The rap star P. Diddy spends $30,000 per day on protection. Today Secret Service protection is exponentially bigger than back then. It's a different world.


Read this book to understand the workings of Presidential protection in the old days, and a less than honest understanding of who is responsible for the death of a President that only the voters of the United States had a right to remove from office. There are distortions, deletions, and misstatement of facts in this book, but I would read it anyway. You simply have to decide for yourself what is true and what is not true. Thank you for reading this review.

Richard C. Stoyeck


2 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
1.0 out of 5 stars This is NOT worth One Penny, November 17, 2011
By Stephen Courts "StephenJames" (Columbus, Ohio) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME) This review is from: The Kennedy Detail: JFK's Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence (Hardcover)
I have not and will not read this book. As a serious student studying the murder of President Kennedy, this is not a book that offers one single new fact to the millions of pages in 1000's of books. If you want to read about the Secret Service and the JFK detail I highly recommend Abraham Bolden's, The Echo From Dealy Plaza. This is written by Mr. Bolden and is full of the real facts about the attitude of the Secret Service in the early 1960's. Racism, lax security, drinking on the job, cover-ups, new credentials following the murder issued to the entire Secret Service. Mr. Bolden was falsely imprisoned by low lifes like Blaine for attempting to speak to the "Johnson Commission" about the terrible work habits of the Secret Service andd their lack of protection of JFK. Most reseachers believe, rightly, that it was the Secret Service that allowed the conspirators to kill President Kennedy. I consider most of this agency to be a disgrace, Mr. Bolden and perhaps Clint Hill and a few others being the exception to the rule. Don't purchase this crap, read The Echo From Dealy Plaza.

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
2.0 out of 5 stars Banal, like a PR piece for Secret Service, October 5, 2011
By David A. Woerner (Houston, Texas area) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME) Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Kennedy Detail: JFK's Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence (Hardcover)
This book is very boring and banal, and reads like a public relations piece for the Secret Service. Everyone is competent and a complete professional. Not a word about Kennedy's private activities. Not worth your time to read, nothing to learn here.

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
1.0 out of 5 stars A Continuation of the Myth, October 1, 2011
By John B. Howarth (Richland washington) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME) This review is from: The Kennedy Detail: JFK's Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence (Hardcover)
Although it was heartwarming to read Clint Hill's preface, this book is truly a disappointment in its lack of objectivity. JFK was a medicore President at best, whose personal risk-taking (covered up throughout his Presidency by his- self-appointed Co-President Bobby, and a worshipful media) placed both his office and nation in great peril due to his association with Mafia Kingpins and his moral degeneracy.As a result, Gerald Blain's blindness and Kennedy veneration made this entire book lacking in credibility.

I do not consider myself a conspiracy nut by dismissing the findings of the fairy tale explanation offered up by the Warren Commission. As a retired Police Officer I simply view the assassination as a crime requiring cold and calculating objective investigation- regardless of the emotional attachments that clouded the event and still to this day have rendered sober analysis a near impossibility with a great number of people.

In November 1963, the murder of a POTUS was not a Federal crime and therefore regardless of the desire to spare Mrs. Kennedy any further grief by remaining in Dallas, the Secret Service, and particularly people like Kenny O'Donnell, Dave Powers and Robert Kennedy had absolutely no authority to have JFK's corpse illegally removed from the Texas authorities prior to an autopsy, and coupled with the destruction of physical evidence in the Limo was itself obstruction of justice.

Even if Oswald had survived his own assassination, it would have been interesting to see how the prosecution would explain the contamination of physical evidence and total destruction of the chain of custody. The botched and questionable autopsy at Bethesda was in itself a farce and a sham to any forensic scientist conducted by unqualified military syncopates.

Blaine and his Kennedy worshiping co-author did not do reality any favors with this whitewashed and sterile attempt at explaining the truth and should be ashamed.

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Enough Objectivity, September 27, 2011
By Donald G. Zeiter (St. Louis, MO USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME) This review is from: The Kennedy Detail: JFK's Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence (Hardcover)
The most glaring thing about this book is how the agents practically worshiped at the feet of JFK and his wife. Reading this book you get the impression that they had the most romantic marriage and were hopelessly devoted to each other as they were the only people on earth good enough for each other.

The reality, as we all know now with decades of hindsight, is that their marriage was hardly deserving of Camelot. Yet reading this book you would never know JFK had eyes for any other woman. The book talks about his 'off the record' trips but Blaine must be leaving out a lot of details everyone is aware of today and hopefully the SS agents were fully aware of at the time. If Blaine and the other agents were as clueless about JFK's liaisons as portrayed in this book they were the worst personal security agents ever.

If the agents knew of JFK's liaisons, the worship shown in this book seems strange. Blaine is described as a happy family man as are the other married agents so why were they so in awe of someone they knew slept around on his wife? It's a strange disconnect. If this book had come out in 1964 it couldn't have been more worshipful of the President and First Lady.

Of course, the shooting in Dallas is the main reason to read this book. The men protecting the president should have a different take on what happened than journalists investigating after the fact. Fortunately, the actions of the agents are detailed as are the gory and bloody descriptions of what happened after the shots hit JFK.

Reading this book and knowing what happened in Dallas it is a wonder it didn't happened sooner as the security of the president in these motorcades was practically non-existent. An 'off the record' trip to New York is described where the president is being driven through traffic like any other motorist with no police protection. 30 mile long motorcades where they slowed down among heavy crowds and tall office buildings made it impossible to stop even a half-hearted killer. Ironically, when the book talks about groups or people expected to be a threat they are described as right wing or conservatives. But of course Oswald was a lefty and Communist sympathizer.

Had the book toned down the hero worship of Kennedy and presented him as a normal human being that cannot walk on water while healing sick kids and puppies it would have been a better read. But for giving some inside details about what happened in Dallas and not adding to the stupid conspiracy theories I give it two stars.

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
2.0 out of 5 stars Detailed, but boring, August 4, 2011
By Penelope D. Debarge "nanatosix" (Palm Coast, FL) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME) Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Kennedy Detail: JFK's Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence (Hardcover)
While it was interesting to hear the facts that led up to the assassination I found the book tedious and drawn out. Too much explaining of how the planning of each trip (which is the same for each trip) is done. I'd pass on this one, or just take it out from the library. Not worth a purchase.

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
3.0 out of 5 stars A couple of key facts incorrect, July 4, 2011
By Marshmallow3706 - See all my reviewsAmazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Kennedy Detail: JFK's Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence (Hardcover)
Overall a decent book, but the shooting sequence has two major inaccuracies. First, Governor Connally and the President were struck by the same bullet (the second fired by Oswald). Anyone watching the Zapruder film can see this. The authors claim this is two different shots when history and more technical analysis have shown that it was indeed one bullet that struck both the President and Governor Connally. Oswald's first shot glanced off a tree branch and missed the motorcade all together. His third shot was of course the fatal head shot. I understand conspiracy theorists aren't going to like hearing that, but facts are stubborn things.

Secondly (and even worse in my opinion), is that the authors state that the driver of the presidential limo, Bill Greer, stepped on the gas after the second shot. Watching the Zapruder film you can see Greer, who for some reason looks back to Kennedy TWO TIMES after he has already been struck - so that he is also looking right at the president when the fatal head shot occurs. Only then does he step on the gas as Agent Hill struggles to climb on board. The book also states that Greer was not looking at the president during the fatal shot - proven wrong by the Zapruder film.

Now, I am not a conspiracy theorist. I do not believe that the Secret Service, including driver agent Bill Greer were complicit in the assassination. But clearly this book is meant as a way to cover up incompetent behavior on the agents' part. This shouldn't really be unexpected from a book written in part by a member of Kennedy's Secret Service detail, but the reader may want to know this up front.

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
3.0 out of 5 stars Kennedy Detail, June 15, 2011
By VMI man (Richmond, Virginia) - See all my reviewsThis review is from: The Kennedy Detail: JFK's Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence (Hardcover)
Did the author have a tape recorder to record verbatIm all conversations? Not historical fiction, but not entirely historical either. Interesting, but could have been shorter. He says that they preserved the car as evidence, but isn't there a photo showing the agents washing the interior of the car in front of the Parkland ER?

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful:
1.0 out of 5 stars This book was written to counter Vince Palamara's work: epic FAIL, October 31, 2010
By r-devic-saint (Pittsburgh, PA) - See all my reviewsThis review is from: The Kennedy Detail: JFK's Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence (Hardcover)
Researcher Vince Palamara interviewed and corresponded with many former agents, including Gerald Blaine. They ALL told him that JFK never interfered with their actions at all and DID NOT order the agents off his limousine. Blaine, in a panic because the truth hurts, hastily wrote this book as a result. Notice how defensive it is in tone and how Blaine goes on and on about the fraudulent notion that President Kennedy ordered the agents off his limo on 11/18/63, which somehow became a standing order to be applied to the upcoming Dallas trip...false! SAIC Gerald Behn, ASAIC Floyd Boring, ATSAIC Art Godfrey, GERALD BLAINE, and many other former agents and non-agency personnel debunked this years before this book was written. What's more, Blaine, without having the courage to name Palamara (pages 359-360), seeks to denigrate his massively researched work via the alleged misidentification of the agent who was recalled at Love if THAT alone overrides all the damning evidence of Blaine's lies about JFK throughout the work. Mr. Blaine, with all due respect, you should be ashamed of yourself for this book. You know the real story, as does Palamara and many of your colleagues. The agents who protected President Reagan on 3/30/81 put your men to shame. Irony: you have made major amounts of money on this case, much more than 99 percent of the critical research community you seek to denigrate. No one is buying it, but they sure are BUYING it...guess huge profits are nice, huh?

139 of 140 people found the following review helpful:
1.0 out of 5 stars Oswald did it...and JFK helped, too?, October 28, 2010
By Vince Palamara "SECRET SERVICE/JFK/STEELERS/M... (South Park/Bethel Park, PA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME) This review is from: The Kennedy Detail: JFK's Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence (Hardcover)
As the leading civilian authority on the Secret Service, especially regarding the JFK/ LBJ era, and as someone who interviewed and/ or corresponded with close to 80 former agents between 1990-2006 (roughly double the number of former agents interviewed for this book), I was, needless to say, very much interested in what former agent and author Gerald Blaine (a nice gentleman I spoke to twice and corresponded with several times via e-mail), along with co-author Lisa McCubbin and fellow former agent Clint Hill (a very close friend of Blaine's to whom I had sent a 22-page letter to and spoke to very briefly and who also wrote the Foreword), had to say about President Kennedy and the tragic events of November 22, 1963, when the Secret Service failed in the worst way, costing the nation the life of our President. As a total stranger and an outsider, my contacts with the former agents were very much in the "cross examination" mode (often eliciting begrudging, not-too-friendly responses), while, as a trusted insider, it is fair to say that Blaine's contacts would be of the "direct/ friendly examination" variety. This dichotomy will become important for a number of reasons.

I am as certain as a human being can be that it was my lengthy letter to Clint Hill that led to the genesis of this book----I sent it in June of 2005 and received a very cantankerous "non-reply" when I phoned the gentleman this same time period. Also, during this very same time period, as Blaine admitted to the Daily Sentinel's Bob Silbernagel for his 5/23/10 article, Blaine began contacting as many living former agents who served President Kennedy for his book as he could (it is important to note that I also made contacts with Mr. Blaine during this time period, as well). Why am I so certain that my letter was a catalyst? As an ardent critic of the Secret Service's performance in Dallas (going much further than the two government "investigations", the Warren Commission and the HSCA), I sent Mr. Hill, in effect, a "Cliff Notes" version of my research for my own book ("Survivor's Guilt: The Secret Service & The Failure To Protect The President"), spelling out why I came to be certain that fellow former agents Floyd Boring (the number two agent on the Kennedy Detail and the Secret Service planner of the Texas trip), Shift Leader Emory Roberts (the commander of the agents in the follow-up car in Dallas), and William Greer (the driver of JFK's limousine on 11/22/63) were grossly negligent before, during, and after JFK was assassinated. Judging by Mr. Hill's "response" (or lack thereof), my attempt to address my concerns did not go over very well, to put it mildly.

As it bears directly on "The Kennedy Detail" , just what specifically are my concerns? Simply put: many of these former agents (and several White House aides), including several who passed away years before this book was even a thought, such as the number one agent on the Kennedy Detail, Gerald Behn; one of the three Shift Leaders, Arthur Godfrey; the number two agent on LBJ's detail (who ALSO had protected JFK), Rufus Youngblood; Sam Kinney, the driver of the follow-up car in Dallas; Robert Bouck, the Special-Agent-In-Charge of the Protective Research Section; Frank Stoner of the Protective Research Section; Maurice Martineau, the Acting-Special- Agent- In- Charge of the Chicago Office who protected JFK from '61-'63 whenever he came to the area; John Norris of the Uniformed Division; Dave Powers, the former curator of the JFK Library who rode in the follow-up car many times, including on 11/22/63; author Helen O'Donnell, daughter of the late Ken O'Donnell, JFK's Chief of Staff (based on her memory and her father's many audio tapes); and many others, told me, in no uncertain terms, that President Kennedy was a very nice man, NEVER interfered with the actions of the Secret Service, and, most importantly, DID NOT ORDER THE AGENTS OFF HIS CAR (nor did O'Donnell, as verified by the aforementioned Helen O'Donnell, Art Godfrey, and Sam Kinney and, by extension, Dave Powers)! With regard to the Tampa, FL trip of 11/18/63, not only do many existing films and photos all along the long motorcade route depict agents on the rear of JFK's car, Congressman Sam Gibbons, who RODE IN THE CAR WITH JFK, told me that he heard no such order from JFK for the agents to be removed in the first place AND that the agents rode the rear bumper all the way. Surprisingly, the number two agent, Floyd Boring (who passed away 2/1/08 and to whom I spoke to twice and corresponded with once), told me the same thing: namely, that the "Get-The-Ivy-League-Charlatans-Off-The-Limo" tale (first told by the late author William Manchester, who had interviewed Gerald Blaine, Clint Hill, and Emory Roberts, but not Boring) is false---Boring never said that to him, never spoke to Manchester in any case, the tale is not true, and that, once again, JFK was a very nice man, very cooperative with the Secret Service, and never interfered with their actions at all! Agents of the Kennedy Detail who conveyed similar knowledge to myself---that JFK never interfered with their actions--- were Walt Coughlin, Winston Lawson (the lead advance agent for Dallas), Don Lawton (who rode on the rear of the car 11/18/63), Abe Bolden, Robert Lilley, Frank Yeager, Gerald O'Rourke, Sam Sulliman, Vince Mroz (now deceased), Larry Newman, and, quite surprisingly, Gerald Blaine himself, a little over a year before he began writing his book!

Although very well written, along with some nice photographs, as well, "The Kennedy Detail" is really a thinly veiled attempt to rewrite history (a la Gerald Posner and Vince Bugliosi, who believe 11/22/63 was the act of a single lone man) and absolve the agents of their collective survivor's guilt (and to counter the prolific writings of a certain reviewer). In the eyes of those from "The Kennedy Detail", the assassination was the act of TWO "lone men": Oswald, who pulled the trigger, and JFK, who set himself up as the target. Simply put: President Kennedy WAS indeed a very nice man, did not interfere with the actions of the Secret Service, did not order the agents off his limousine (in Tampa, in Dallas, or elsewhere), and did not have his staff convey any anti-security sentiments, either. The sheer force and power of what these men all told me, a complete stranger, in correspondence and on the phone, is all the more strong because, not only did they have a vested interest to protect themselves, the vast majority believe that Oswald acted alone and that all official "stories" are correct. Floyd Boring, as agency planner of the fateful trip, in spite of what he forcefully stated to me, did indeed convey the exaggerated---some would say false--notion that JFK had asked that the agents remove themselves from the car 4 short days before Dallas, taking it upon himself to tell several Dallas agents, depending on who you choose to believe, either as an "anecdote" of alleged presidential kindness and consideration in not wanting to have the agents "over exert" themselves (what Boring told the ARRB's Doug Horne in 1996) or a strict "presidential admonition" to stay off the car (as Clint Hill conveyed to the Warren Commission's Arlen Specter, under oath, in 1964). In addition, the motorcycle escort was reduced to (as the HSCA put it) a "uniquely insecure" smaller formation for Dallas, allegedly because, as Boring told the ARRB (and as Win Lawson, assigned to the Dallas trip by Boring [and who would have been merely following orders], told the Warren Commission under oath), JFK allegedly didn't like alot of noise from motorcycles, although he had no problem in countless prior motorcades, including that very same morning in Fort Worth and the day before in San Antonio and Houston. Emory Roberts ordered an agent back from JFK's limo at Love Field (as this reviewer discovered back in 1991 and had popularized for the first time back in 1995 and, again, in 2003 on The History Channel, long before this clip became something of an internet sensation), recalled an agent during the shooting and, as Sam Kinney told me, ordered the men on the follow-up car not to move! For his part, Bill Greer slowed the President's car down during the shooting, twice looked back at JFK, and disobeyed Roy Kellerman's order to get out line (and denied all of this to the Warren Commission). Coupled with several---many?---of the agent's stated anger about JFK's private life (as stated to author Seymour Hersh, among others), these actions, inactions, and feelings are cause for concern.

That said, the vast majority of these men (Blaine included) are honorable former government employees that were merely following orders on that fateful day in Dallas. In light of the work of this reviewer, future pensions, professional and personal reputations, and so forth, "The Kennedy Detail" makes perfect sense. After the reviewer's letter to Clint Hill, it truly WAS "a book that HAD to be written".

Friday, December 9, 2011

Blaine keeps posting these planted, phoney 5-star reviews on his blog LOL

Blaine keeps posting these planted, phoney 5-star Amazon "reviews" on his blog LOL:

"The Kennedy Detail Reader's Review
If you only read 1 book about JFK... Make it this one.[what a joke!]

By Rancho relaxo [nice fake name]
Compelling and well written, this book makes the 'conspiracy theorists' look pitiful and deluded [haha---like there is ANY evidence in Blaine's book to dispute the evidence of conspiracy---? Blaine offers NOTHING but opinion; no facts. These are the same guys who got JFK killed and, by his own admission, almost got LBJ killed, as well. I am supposed to believe his "word" that Oswald acted alone??? Give me a break; no one is that stupid or naive]. The fact that the 'conspiracy theory' JFK notion is so huge, seems in many peoples mind to imbue it with credibility [nope---it is based on facts and the overwhelming, worldwide public's belief]. Sorry, but fact's have credibility, emotional pandering to widesread paranoia does not [haha]. I wanted to know more about JFK and the assasination, and not have to put up with annoying theories that rely on the weakest evidence [my research relies on the AGENT's words and writing BEFORE Blaine's book came out], I read this book and was glad I did [good for you]. Furthermore, upon having read it I feel sure that JFK himself would rather the story be told by his most trusted aides [the same ones who let him get killed, several of whom were angry at him due to his sexual proclivities???] rather than some half baked 'author' trying to make a name for himself in history in rather the same way as Oswald himself was [Hahahaha---this is a lame jab at me :O) ]. The fact Clint Hill, Mrs Kennedys trusted agent, put his name to this book speaks for itself. [nope-only speaks to the fact that he is best friends with Blaine, money talks, and my 22-page letter to Hill pissed him and Blaine off something fierce]

Vince...the "V" is for the victor :O)

I am an infinitely better Secret Service expert than Blaine will ever be...I also did not let JFK get killed or ALMOST kill LBJ, either. Live with that one and collect your blood money. Blaine's book is like a forgotten storm that passed and is gone...the internet is forever. I win! I could tell ole Jer was all cocky when he got his book deal and had a minor, extended best-seller---thanks to my research, of course [if it wasn't for me, no book would have been written in the first place]: he actually thought THAT would erase or supercede my work...NOT! I still crack up when I see Blaine and Hill debate my work on C-SPAN, especially when Jer says "my assessment of Mr. Palamara..." LOL. On a more somber note, very sorry to hear about the passing of your daughter [this is politics; nothing personal]

P.S. Even rancid tv comedies are Emmy nominated...

Initial post: Nov 17, 2011 6:50:51 AM PST
Craig says:

Propaganda is telling lies to people by telling them things they are already inclined to believe. You are a great target for propaganda.

You are in no position, based on your comments, to criticize the more informed people on the assassination, who you call names.

You need to not read 'just 1 book on JFK' as you mention in your subject. By doing so, for example by reading the book by the first black Secret Service agent to guard a President, hand-selected by President Kennedy, "The Echo from Dealey Plaza" by Abraham Bolden, you would learn his story which is vastly different than this book's about the Secret Service detail - about the culture on the team of racism, of hostility to JFK by a number of agents who said they would not jump in front of a bullet for him, about how this agent was set up to be killed and when he refused the assignment, was framed for a crime and imprisoned.

If you read other books, you would read how the head of the Secret Service admitted a number of Kennedy agents had been out drinking, visiting a bar well after midnight, the night before the assassination - while drinking was supposed to be cause for termination, and was not for any of the agents.

But you are determined to believe false stories. Others should not get bad advice on this book, apparently written to 'spin a story' for the reputations of the agents.

Monday, December 5, 2011

J.F.K.’s Legacy, as Seen by His Grandson -

As a young man inspired by politics and history who has spent time studying the Kennedy administration, I take issue with Ross Douthat’s Nov. 27 column, “The Enduring Cult of Kennedy ,” about President John F. Kennedy, my grandfather.
Mr. Douthat suggests that President Kennedy was a “near disaster.” He criticizes Kennedy on civil rights; Kennedy was the first president to deem civil rights “a moral issue,” and applied federal authority to force desegregation.
The president described as “famously hawkish” resolved the Cuban Missile Crisis peacefully. Mr. Douthat does not mention what President Kennedy called his proudest accomplishment: the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
Contrary to what Mr. Douthat asserts about the Vietnam War, in 1963, at American University, Kennedy stated that America would never start a war. Many who served in his administration, including Ted Sorensen and McGeorge Bundy, long argued that my grandfather would have never invaded Vietnam as Lyndon B. Johnson did.
Finally, I take issue with Mr. Douthat’s condescending view of the American people. He suggests that Americans who admire President Kennedy — and as Mr. Douthat points out, the majority of Americans rank him among our best presidents — do not understand their own history.
Instead, I suggest that President Kennedy’s legacy remains relevant today not because of Camelot or conspiracy, but because Americans find inspiration and meaning there.
New Haven, Nov. 30, 2011

"WITHIN ARM'S LENGTH" by Dan Emmett: A Literary Triumph- The Best Book on the Secret Service ; Available From iUniverse Publications In late January 2012

"WITHIN ARM'S LENGTH" by Dan Emmett: A Literary Triumph- The Best Book on the Secret Service ; Available From iUniverse Publications In late January 2012- Book Review by Vince Palamara:

Former Secret Service agent Dan Emmett, author of “Within Arm’s Length”, is to be commended on putting together a refreshing take on a well-worn subject as of late: the United States Secret Service. While many of the books written by former agents are ghost-written, dry, dull, and are often dated, Emmett’s is exciting, never boring, compelling, and employed no co-author or ghost-writer; this work is solely his own. After the recent debacle of best-selling author Ronald Kessler’s dubious tome “In The President's Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect", a book that seemingly betrayed the trust of the agents, past and present, that the author took into his confidence, littering the literary landscape with dubious tawdry tales of presidential sex, alleged agency incompetence, or worse, Emmett’s book will be embraced by scholars, the public and, perhaps most important of all, his colleagues.

Someone needed to take up the mantle and do away with all the controversy, poor writing, myopic outlook, and compromising information out there on the Secret Service and write a book the agency would be proud of AND that would also appeal to the lay public, as well. Dan Emmett took up the quest and succeeded admirably. In short, “Within Arm’s Length” is the antidote to Kessler, McCarthy, and all the silly and overwrought books and television specials that violate the agency’s code of being Worthy of Trust and Confidence. If there was a literary Medal of Valor the Secret Service could award Emmett for his book, they should hold the ceremony tomorrow. Emmett’s book truly reads like he had this epiphany: "I have had enough with Kessler, the hero worship, the gossip, the untruths, and all the crap---here is the TRUE story of an agent without the junk... and no compromising information, dammit!" Mission accomplished.

In short, Dan Emmett provides the reader with the nuts and bolts without giving away the game, so to speak.

“Within Arm’s Length” grabs the reader from the very first sentence and doesn’t ever let up. Beginning with a fascinating Preface about an experience he had while protecting Senator Edward Kennedy, Emmett cleverly starts the reader off properly on his journey (and ours), leading to catalysts for his eventual career in the Secret Service such as his upbringing in a good home with a strong work ethic, the powerful and world-changing events of November 22, 1963, and, in that regard, the heroic actions of Secret Service Agent Clint Hill on that terrible day in our Nation’s history. After a brief look at his college years, a very compelling and memorable overview of his career in the United States Marine Corps, which led him to become a proud officer, is powerfully rendered. The reader will already find himself impressed with Emmett’s strength of character and abilities, long before he was an actual Secret Service employee.

Another catalyst, in the form of the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan on March 30, 1981, further cements Emmett’s resolve to satisfy his childhood goal of becoming a bona fide Secret Service agent. Ironically, it was another agency veteran of 11/22/63, Jerry Kivett (interviewed by this reviewer), a colleague of Clint Hill, who gave Emmett his formal start in the Secret Service on 5/16/83 (other long-time agents involved in Emmett’s formative agency beginnings were Grady Askew, a long time veteran of the Atlanta Field Office, and Frank Hancock, another veteran agent who famously guarded the JFK limousine the day after the assassination). Emmett describes his life as a rookie agent in the Charlotte, NC field office, as well as his Secret Service training in firearms, follow-up vehicle maneuvers, and so forth at the James J Rowley Training Center in Beltsville, MD (in another irony, Rowley was the Secret Service Chief at the time of the Kennedy assassination).

After getting a taste of presidential security as a post stander at an Atlanta event for President Reagan in the Fall of 1983, Emmett discovers a desire to become a member of “one of the most elite counter terrorist units in the world”: a United States Counter Assault Team (CAT) agent. While waiting for that dream to be fulfilled, Dan joins the team that guards Senator Edward Kennedy in 1984 and, ultimately (and against his true desires), becomes a member of the New York Field Office in 1986, “a bottomless black hole of despair that knows no limits”, as one fellow agent so aptly depicted it. Dan provides an excellent description of the drive into New York, the World Trade Center complex (made infamous by the cataclysmic events of 9/11/01), and life in this agency outpost, as well. In addition, Emmett ‘s superior description of life as a ‘street agent’ in New York is superb, including a heart-stopping close call he had coming within mere seconds of shooting a young suspect.

The New York Field Office agents, despite their drudgery, were well respected members of the agency who much preferred the investigation side of the Service (counterfeiters, credit card thieves, and check forgers) than the protection side, which was king and the most important aspect the Service is known for, to which they often performed security functions for the President of the United States (POTUS) and the UN General Assembly, with the many foreign heads of state involved with it. While doing an exemplary job there, Emmett still yearned to be a member of CAT, a dream which was ultimately fulfilled in 1989. But, first, CAT school beckoned in 1988.

With regard to CAT, as Emmett so aptly put it, “weapons proficiency was everything.” In this regard, with his superior training in the Marines, Emmett had a leg up and was well suited to this schooling. Interestingly, one of his CAT classmates was future colleague Joe Clancy, the SAIC of the Presidential Protective Division (PPD) for President Obama. Along with his aforementioned Marine Corps background, one becomes very impressed and humbled with Emmett’s training and abilities in CAT.

After a trip back to the NY Field Office in the Spring of 1989, Emmett saw his CAT team dreams realized in August of that same year, protecting President George H.W. Bush (Bush 41). Along the way, Emmett provides an exemplary description of CAT, including its humble beginnings and agency resistance to change. Only someone who has walked in those giant shoes could have so accurately and compellingly portrayed the inner workings of this elite unit and the culture of the Service during that time.

A riveting tale of the CAT team’s protection of President Clinton in Korea in 1993 at the “Bridge of No Return”---involving a close call with North Koreans---is breathlessly portrayed to stunning effect. Once again, we see the appearance of CAT school classmate, command post agent, and “good friend” Joe Clancy in the story. There follows a good description of the merging of CAT and PPD, as well as the training they took together, in addition to CAT missions with Vice President Dan Quayle in Haiti and the Phillippines. Throughout the book, Dan is honest and forthright without ever becoming petty or revealing too much. He keeps the lay reader interested and shows proper respect to his former colleagues by his respectful portrayal.

Chapter 9 is the tale of Dan’s meeting of fellow agent Donnelle in 1988, to whom he married in 1990. It is touching, honest, not overwrought, and to the point. In short, it merely adds to the power of the book. Only a woman who was a fellow agent herself (former deputy sheriff and a 21-year veteran of the Service) could begin to understand the long separations and all that encompassed being a member of the elite CAT/ PPD nexus. One can only continue to admire Dan’s “career choices”!

Chapter 10, “Human Shields and Operant Conditioning”, is another outstanding look at what it takes to become a Secret Service agent and all that it entails. Emmett provides an excellent historical summary of the attempts on Presidents Ford and Reagan; specifically, the valor of agent’s Larry Beundorf and Jerry Parr (events that happened while Emmett was a member of the Marine Corps and no doubt led him further along his Secret Service career dream). The training of the agents truly becomes a muscle memory, as these courageous examples duly depict. Like the other chapters in the book, Dan is careful not to be too long-winded or clinical; he makes his points then he covers and evacuates, to use agency vernacular. Well done.

Emmett was a member of CAT for four years, the last 18 months of which were spent as a section of PPD. It was in the Old Executive Office Building in June of 1993 that Emmett had a meeting with Clinton PPD ASAIC’s Pete Dowling and Tommy Farrell which culminated with Dan becoming a member of the PPD working shift (Dowling, by the way, was one of the agents depicted in and betrayed by Kessler’s book, but this author digresses). It was at W-16, the command post in the West Wing of the White House, where Dan was reunited with former CAT team members Tony Meeks and the aforementioned Joe Clancy (Jim Knodell was the senior agent on the shift, officially known as the shift”whip”).

From here, Emmett convincingly and impressively portrays the push and pull he and the agents had with Clinton’s White House staff, non- agency personnel who typically put protection on the back burner of their collective agendas. Trips to Jordan and Israel with President Clinton are duly noted, as is the chore of covering the media who were tasked with covering the president in their own right and who, like the president’s staff, had THEIR own agendas, as well. As with magnetometer coverage and the need to have a “hospital agent”, the events of 3/30/81 led the agency to invoke the use of (as Emmett describes) the “press agent”, a duty he once nobly fulfilled. What would be a scurrilous or clinical telling in some other author’s book becomes fascinating in Emmett’s.

A terrific section (aren’t they all?) follows describing the “journalistic media”---those that seek to cover the Secret Service, often to ill effect. Dan describes with riveting prose the “irresponsibly detailed documentaries” from Joan Lunden, the History Channel, National Geographic, and the Discovery Channel. His verdict? Guilty…of misrepresenting the agency and potentially doing harm to the working agents and protectees. This reviewer could not agree more. Another section of the book that Director Sullivan, yet another official betrayed by Kessler, would do well to read multiple times before agreeing to get involved in another “tell-all” ‘documentary (or book) again.

There are some light-hearted and funny moments along the way (the book isn’t all guns and glory, you know), and, in that regard, the section on being “relieved” and helping to “secure” the restroom for President Clinton is top notch, indeed. These segments of the book remind us all that, in the final analysis, in spite of their superior training and stamina, these agents ARE merely human like the rest of us. Sometimes the bridge between being and agent and being human (“normal”) is a slippery slope, indeed, so to speak. It is these human interest vignettes that are essential components to making this book so readable, compelling, and fascinating. Otherwise, what could become a great book would digress into a mere training volume. It is truly amazing that Dan is a first time author- he has the skill of a full time, lunch pail novelist or true crime author.

Emmett then regales the reader with the “not-so-exotic foreign travel” that the agents experienced, stating that, with the different shifts, the hours, the jet lag, and the fatigue, “Budapest could have been Cleveland.” With regard to the president’s trips to various foreign lands, Emmett provides a detailed portrayal of yet another heart-stopping moment that occurred in Switzerland that involved the Syrians and their meeting with President Clinton. Dan’s training, skill and resolve are in full expanse here; there is a reason, after all, that Shift Leader Bob Byers picked him to handle this delicate situation.

Dan provides an excellent history of presidential travel, Air Force One, and Marine One, Emmett having experienced his first presidential helicopter and airplane travels in the Summer of 1993 with Clinton. You truly feel like you are there with Dan as he describes what life is like as a working agent on a shift. Dan also ably details the Service’s use of various cargo planes that carried the various limousines and personnel at home and abroad, including the curious habit of agents who brought home various foreign treasures and sundry items. Again, these men were human and had lives away from protecting the leader of the free world.

In a section titled “Running With The President”, Emmett describes just how much fitness and being in shape became a requirement of the agents who protected Clinton, as compared to prior, older presidents who often resorted to golf and other lesser exertions (CAT had to augment PPD). “There was no such thing as an uneventful run with Bill Clinton”, Emmett states, and he would know: he ran with the president a lot in the Winter of 1993 as a CAT agent and then in the Summer of 1993 as a member of PPD. Emmett and the aforementioned Meeks and Clancy, as well as another agent, Roland McCamis, ran with Clinton. This is truly fascinating reading.

Dan makes note of the unofficial collateral duty of the Service: taking blame for things it is not responsible for (i.e. the staff was actually to blame). It is here, and elsewhere, that one truly gets the impression of what a thankless job being a working agent of the Secret Service can become. The line between politics and protection is sometimes a balancing act of dubious scope; Emmett succeeds admirably in his honest depiction of what the agents had to handle.

In another irony, it was former Reagan PPD agent Danny Spriggs, one of the heroes of 3/30/81 that so inspired Emmett, that informed Dan that he would be joining the Transportation Section of the Service, thus having the duty of driving President Clinton. Agent Emmett ended up driving the president scores of times, in the United States and abroad, and has some interesting anecdotes to share, including his very first time driving the president.

After 5 years of constant travel and no true days off, Emmett, as was customary of the vast majority of the working shift agents, began to feel the strain and requested a transfer out of PPD, which became a reality in the Fall of 1994. Emmett then began another interesting and important part of his career in the agency, perhaps most important and far reaching of all, when he joined the Special Agent Training Education Division (SATED), thus being in a position to share his wealth of knowledge and experience and help shape the next generation of special agents, a task he performed with relish and vigor, leading by example, until 2003. All told, Dan spent nine years in training, helping to lead nearly 2000 men and women, many of whom were hired in record numbers as a result of the tragic events of 9/11/01, on to bright careers as agents and leaders of men. In fact, Dan even trained Ben Stafford, the son of former Director Brian Stafford!

After receiving a well-earned promotion (a GS14: ATSAIC in the Division of Training), not very long after, Dan received a reassignment back to PPD as one of two supervisors in charge of CAT. It was in November of 2003 when Emmett reported back to PPD and CAT as an agent protecting his third sitting president, George W Bush. It was Dan’s first day back at PPD, during a meeting with SAIC of PPD Eddie Marinzel, that Emmett was reunited with a veritable who’s who of the best agents in protection- men who started the job with him way back in 1983 (most were, like him, former CAT and PPD shift mates). That said, Dan’s new job was essentially administrative- he was one of two ATSAICs (Assistant to the Special Agent in Charge/ Shift Leader) in the CAT program in charge of 6 of the 12 teams. In essence, Dan was managing, not leading, which he loved to do and had great skill at doing.

Since this newfound position seemed to entail a never-ending series of meetings, Emmett felt the inner voice to retire, which he did, in April 2004, after accepting an offer from the CIA, yet another impressive chapter of his life (which, he says, he will leave for another day). It was on 5/16/04, 21 years to the day that he became an agent, that Dan officially retired during a small ceremony at the Executive Office Building. The reader is left impressed and in awe of Emmett’s illustrious career.

The book ends with an important Epilogue and Afterword, as well as 3 fascinating and useful Appendixes: Myths and Truths about the Secret Service, A Brief History of the Secret Service, and a Glossary of Terms.

In short, "WITHIN ARM'S LENGTH" is, without question, the best book ever written about the Secret Service: current, well-written, classy, very informative, but, most importantly, does not indulge in hero worship of presidents or reveal "inside secrets" or other compromising details. In short, "WITHIN ARM'S LENGTH" makes you feel like you are THERE! Emmett is a great guy with an impressive background who truly represents the valor of the Secret Service. Emmett has given a blueprint for all agents---past, present, and future---to follow and admire. Worthy of Trust & Confidence indeed! Dan Emmett is an example of a great American.”

Vince Palamara, literary Secret Service expert (History Channel, C-SPAN, ARRB Government Report, and quoted in over 60 related books)

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