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Secret Service Secrets: Obama Threats Up 400 Percent

By Jim Meyers   |   Monday, 03 Aug 2009 07:23 PM

A new book by Newsmax Chief Washington Correspondent Ronald Kessler features startling revelations about current and former U.S. presidents, including Barack Obama.

"In the President's Secret Service: Behind the Scenes With Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect," released Tuesday, discloses that threats against the president have increased dramatically — by a staggering 400 percent since Obama entered the White House.

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:

Get it free and autographed with Newsmax – Click Here Now

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

The book not only offers intriguing stories about presidents from JFK to George W. Bush but also provides an inside look at the current White House resident, including the fact that, despite his iffy denials, Obama is still smoking cigarettes.

Kessler also reveals that Obama and his wife, Michelle, are well-liked by the Secret Service agents who protect them. Kessler's book reveals that on April 4, 2008, just before Obama's pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, spoke at the National Press Club, Obama secretly met with Wright at the pastor's home. So that they would not be noticed, agents made a point of driving Obama in a minivan instead of the usual Suburban. They parked their other vehicles a block away. Obama spent an hour with Wright and then left.

During Wright's Press Club speech, he confirmed that he thought America created the AIDS virus to kill off blacks. After that, Obama claimed to have severed ties with him.

Once Obama entered the White House, the Secret Service experienced a 400 percent increase in the number of threats against the president, in comparison with his predecessor George Bush. While most of the threats were not credible, each had to be checked out and adjudicated.

"Because the Secret Service thinks calling attention to threats gives people ideas and generates more threats, the agency never publicly characterized their frequency," Kessler observes.

Agents told Kessler that both Barack Obama — code-named Renegade — and wife Michelle — code-named Renaissance — treat them with respect, as does Vice President Joe Biden. Still, agents were shocked when Biden revealed the location of the “undisclosed location” — or safe house for the vice president and president. If they had done the same, they would have been fired.

Obama invited agents to dinner twice, including a party for relatives at his home, and the Bidens buy agents food.

Contrary to Obama's repeated claims that he is quitting smoking, he has continued to smoke regularly, agents say. A week after being sworn in as president, Obama told CNN's Anderson Cooper that he hadn't had a cigarette on the White House grounds. That left open the possibility that he smokes on the Truman Balcony and in the White House residence and West Wing.

Agents say he smokes outside the White House as well.

Among the many other disclosures in Kessler's book:

  • George W. Bush's daughters Barbara and Jenna gave their Secret Service details a hard time and would try to lose the agents assigned to them.

  • To this day, agents, including Chuck Taylor, who was on the Kennedy detail the day JFK was assassinated, believe they could have saved the president's life if they had been stationed on the back running boards of his car. But Kennedy told agents he didn't want them to ride on the rear running boards.

  • Lyndon Johnson would walk around naked in the presence of his daughters; his wife, Lady Bird; and female secretaries. He was quite well endowed in the testicles, so everyone started calling him bull nuts. He found out about that and was very disturbed.

  • Johnson was angry when a guest was served rare roast beef on Air Force One, and threatened to send the two stewards to Vietnam if they ever served "raw" meat again.

  • Agents say Richard Nixon was the strangest president they ever protected. He had no relationship with his wife and did not sleep with her. He also would walk on the beach wearing a blue suit and dress shoes. Even in the summer he would insist on having a fire burning in the fireplace.

  • Gerald Ford's code name was Passkey. He was considered very cheap. Caddies at a golf club in California usually receive $25 tips, but Ford gave a dollar, if anything at all.

  • Ford was, indeed, a klutz. The day after he left office, he was driving an electric golf cart in Palm Springs, Calif., when he accidentally crashed into an electric panel hanging on the wall of a shack for golf carts.

  • Agents considered Jimmy Carter sanctimonious and a phony. The former peanut farmer pretended to be one of the people but actually had little regard for the “little people,” agents say.

  • Ronald Reagan was folksy, and agents loved him. But they feared Nancy Reagan, and many saw her as cold and calculating.

    The White House "is a character crucible," Bertram S. Brown, M.D., a psychiatrist who formerly headed the National Institute of Mental Health and was an aide to President Kennedy, told Kessler.

    "It either creates or distorts character. Few decent people want to subject themselves to the kind of grueling abuse candidates take when they run in the first place."

    Brown, who has seen many top Washington politicians and White House aides in his practice, added: "Many of those who run crave superficial celebrity. They are hollow people who have no principles and simply want to be elected.

    "Even if an individual is balanced, once someone becomes president, how does one solve the conundrum of staying real and somewhat humble when one is surrounded by the most powerful office in the land, and from becoming overwhelmed by an at times pathological environment that treats you every day as an emperor?

    "Here is where the true strength of the character of the person, not his past accomplishments, will determine whether his presidency ends in accomplishment or failure."

    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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