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Kessler on Scarborough: Secret Service Taking Shortcuts With Security

By Jim Meyers   |   Wednesday, 05 Aug 2009 03:41 PM

Newsmax Chief Washington Correspondent Ronald Kessler appeared on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Wednesday to discuss his new book about the Secret Service, and warned about dangerous "shortcuts" the Service has been taking.

Kessler's book "In the President's Secret Service: Behind the Scenes With Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect" is already an Amazon.com best-seller since its publication on Tuesday.

Host Joe Scarborough asked Kessler about his contention that the Secret Service is taking shortcuts that could endanger the lives of the President and others.

"Not just me, but agents themselves," Kessler said.

"In fact, Nicholas Trotta, the head of the [Office of Protective Operations] said that's true, we don't do metal screening, magnetometer screening, in all cases now.

"This is a total change from before Homeland Security took over Secret Service.

"For example, when Joe Biden threw out the first pitch at the Orioles game, they had no metal screening whatsoever. Terrorists could have come in with all kinds of weapons, with grenades, and wiped him out. And the same with Obama."

Scarborough noted that the shortcuts come at a time when, as Kessler reports, threats against the president are up sharply.

"Under Bush there were about 3,000 threats a year, and now it's up 400 percent," Kessler said. "So they're really risking an assassination."

Kessler said he learned from agents that President Obama "treats the agents with respect, with consideration. Michelle is especially considerate. On the other hand Obama is continuing to smoke, despite his claims to have given it up by 95 percent."

Secret Service agents today "are very good," Kessler added. "They're brave. They're dedicated. They pledge to take a bullet for the president.

"On the other hand there's this corner-cutting. And the most shocking thing is not doing the magnetometer screening.

"You take a risk every single time you do that. The Secret Service has just changed its culture since Homeland Security took it over."

Watch the full interview here:

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