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Secret Service Thwarted Reagan Assassination

By Jim Meyers   |   Sunday, 09 Aug 2009 06:23 PM

Unlike his predecessor Jimmy Carter, President Ronald Reagan treated those who protected and served him with respect and courtesy, Ronald Kessler reveals in his new book about the Secret Service.

"In the President's Secret Service: Behind the Scenes With Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect," already an Amazon.com best-seller since its publication on Tuesday, chronicles the agency’s activities guarding every president from Kennedy to Obama and features startling disclosures about the presidents and their families.

Newsmax Chief Washington Correspondent Kessler is the first journalist to penetrate the wall of secrecy that surrounds the U.S. Secret Service, and his book is based on interviews with more than 100 current and former agents.

Editor’s Note: Newsmax has two options for you to get this best-selling book:

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See Video: Ron Kessler Details Obama, Bush Secrets, More - Click Here Now

"Carter came into the cockpit once in the two years I was on with him," James A. Buzzelli, an Air Force One flight engineer, told Kessler. "But Reagan never got on or off without sticking his head in the cockpit and saying, 'Thanks, fellas' or 'Have a nice day.'"

Another agent told Kessler that one Christmas when he was on duty at Reagan's ranch, the president apologized to him for having to be away from his family on a holiday.

Said Buzzelli: "He was just as personable in person as he came across to the public."

Reagan's wife Nancy, on the other hand, was "very cold," a "precise and demanding woman," agents told Kessler.

She made it clear to her children that if they wanted to see their father, they had to check with Nancy first.

Ronald Reagan received Secret Service protection for the first time when he ran unsuccessfully for the GOP presidential nomination in 1976. One day as he was preparing to drive from his Los Angeles home to his ranch near Santa Barbara, an agent noticed that he was wearing a gun and asked what it was for.

"Well, just in case you guys can't do the job, I can help out," Reagan replied.

Years later, he confided to an agent that on his first presidential trip to the Soviet Union in May 1988, he had carried a gun in his briefcase.

Kessler uncovers a fascinating story related to a Reagan trip to Spokane, Wash., in 1986.

One night the local police called Pete Dowling, who was part of the advance team of Secret Service agents in Spokane, and told him a couple staying at a downtown Best Western hotel had found a large paper dinner napkin on the floor of an elevator. The napkin had a diagram of the Spokane Coliseum, where Reagan was going to speak in four days.

The napkin "had a legend," Dowling said. "It had Xs around the exterior of the coliseum, and then in the legend it said X equals security post. Then it had all of our license plates of the cars we were using. Clearly somebody was conducting surveillance of us."

Dowling examined the hotel's sign-in cards until he found one with the exact handwriting he had seen on the napkin.

Agents went to the hotel room indicated on the card and found a man in his underpants. They also found a bullet on top of a dresser, with a string attached. A small white piece of paper was attached to the string, with the words, "Reagan will die."

A gun was found in his car.

"It turned out the man had just gotten out of prison after being convicted of bank robbery," Kessler discloses.

"While he was in jail, he had had a romantic relationship with another male inmate. The other inmate had just been transferred to another prison, and the suspect heard that his former lover was romantically involved with somebody else."

Dowling said: "He wanted to do something spectacular in the Spokane area so he could go back to jail and be reunited with the other man."

Kessler also tells about Reagan's reaction to the news that the leading Democratic presidential contender for the 1988 election, former Colorado Sen. Gary Hart, was having an affair with Donna Rice.

"We were in the elevator going up to the residence on the second floor of the White House," said former agent Ted Hresko.

"The door of the elevator was about to close, and one of the staffers blocked it. The staffer told Reagan the news about Donna Rice and Gary Hart."

Reagan nodded his head and looked at the agent. "Boys will be boys," he said.

When the door of the elevator closed, Reagan said to Hresko, "But boys will not be president."

Donna Rice was not the first woman the married politician frolicked with, agents told Kessler.

Hart routinely cavorted with stunning models and actresses in Los Angeles, courtesy of one of his political advisers, actor Warren Beatty, Kessler revealed.

"Warren Beatty gave him a key to his house on Mulholland Drive," a former agent who was on Hart's detail told Kessler.

Beatty would arrange to have 20-year-old women — "tens," as the agent described them — meet Hart at Beatty's house.

The young woman stayed well into the night and often left just before sunrise.

"Sometimes there were two or three girls with him at a time," the agent said. "He was like a kid in a candy store."

Editor’s Note: Newsmax has two options for you to get this best-selling book:

Get it free and autographed with Newsmax – Click Here Now

Get it from Amazon at a discount – Click Here Now

See Video: Ron Kessler Details Obama, Bush Secrets, More - Click Here Now

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