Emmett Tyrrell
Washington -- When you have a young woman screaming in a hallway about some sort of grievance she has with you, you have a problem. Even a Secret Service agent, surrounded by his buddies, has a problem. I know about this sort of thing from my work in the archives pursuant to my researches as a presidential historian.

One thinks back to the late 1940s of Elizabeth Bentley, an American spying for the Soviet Union. She raised an intolerable ruckus outside a hotel room with one, possibly two, Soviet intelligence operatives -- both male. Her involvement with one had been romantic, but the cad let her down. Possibly, he did not pay for her turkey sandwich. Possibly, he left other bills cooling on the table. At any rate, there was hell to pay. She had a set of lungs on her like a bull moose and a face to boot. When she let out a yell, it was deafening. Of course, the Russians were terrified. Shortly thereafter, she renounced Communism, and they were glad to get back to Stalin's Russia.

Another example is more recent, and in this the Secret Service was almost without doubt innocent. Miss Monica Lewinsky was left to cool her heels in a White House gatehouse while her truelove dallied with another vamp. She caught on and fumed. She looked menacingly at the furniture. The Secret Service is trained for dangerous operations, but this was close to the limit. Luckily, she was admitted to the White House before she did real damage, but then all hell broke loose for poor Bill. It is a mistake to toy with an irascible woman, even an irascible woman of easy virtue.

I do not know the details of the imbroglio involving the Secret Service agent who attempted to stiff the Colombian cutie on her bill in steamy Cartagena. We shall have to await Hollywood's treatment of it, but he acted very unwisely. We do know that as many as ten other Secret Service agents, along with members of the military, were playing animal house with him. They apparently planned to party when they landed in Colombia. One agent even took a girl back to the hotel where the president was to stay a few days later. This suggests that the event was not isolated. Apparently, a whole culture of laxness has descended upon the once proud Secret Service. I cannot imagine such goings on during the Reagan years, when I was familiar with the President's bodyguards. They were conscientious to the utmost, and, as they proved, brave. I had them and something like 240 other guards and White House personnel in and around my home when the president came to dinner in 1988. They were the best.

Emmett Tyrrell

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator and co-author of Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House.
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