Even before Gary J. Byrne’s book Crisis of Character was released, high profile media sympathetic to Democrats had begun to run offense for one of the primary subjects, Hillary Clinton. The Daily Beast, a cyber-tabloid, ran a headline, “The Secret Service Officer Out to Get Hillary Clinton”, including in the article the claim Byrne had written “a book-length hit job on the presumptive Democratic nominee.”
Are leftist writers correct? Is the book just a “hit job” on Mrs. Clinton?
If you read the book, you’ll likely come to the conclusion it isn’t, although there are unfavorable allegations about the behavior of a woman who enjoys kid gloves treatment from much of US media despite her many scandals, her ineptitude as secretary of state, and populist rhetoric that conflicts with the many one percenters and globalists funding her campaigns past and present.
Byrne does resurrect tales of Mrs. Clinton’s infamous temper, and allegations about witness intimidation in the scandal surrounding Bill Clinton’s sexcapades in the White House and in other locations before he became president. There’s a funny passage detailing Monica Lewinsky showing up to see Mr. Clinton when he was president, but a glitch arose because he was allegedly entertaining a female media worker at the moment. Scheduling can be tricky indeed when you’re president.
As for scheduling, Mr. Clinton, like President Barack Obama, tended to run late. Byrne echoed information from another agent in Ronald Kessler’s book In the President’s Secret Service. An agenda, with “scheduled appointments, was merely a ‘suggestion.’” [pg. 145]
As a matter of fact, three books by or about Secret Service officers, including a book not overtly critical of the Clintons, Dan Emmett’s Within Arm’s Length, paint a picture of a power couple unconcerned about those who served the country and the president. Emmett recounts how Bill Clinton in 1993 decided to walk across “the bridge of no return” that separates North Korea from South Korea. Clinton’s photo-op—he likely wanted to project himself as powerful despite the fact his foreign policy invigorated North Korea’s nuclear program—endangered his own life and that of his security detail. Emmett wrote about the North Koreans “eyeing us with binoculars and trying to shake us up a bit by pointing riflescopes in our direction.”
Mr. Clinton apparently wasn’t concerned about the safety of the outgunned agents. Or the potential for an international crisis. He wanted his photo op:
“After walking a little farther onto the bridge than he should have, practically into North Korea, in fact, Clinton looked around the area for a few minutes and then returned to his vehicle, and we got the hell out of the zone, the totally pointless photo op ending without incident.” [pg.81]
Byrne’s book isn’t a “hit job” on Hillary Clinton. Much of the book comprises Byrne’s service to his country over a period of three decades. He tackles a matter neither Kessler nor Emmett explored in detail—the Clintons’ impact on the lives of people who serve them. From Mr. Clinton’s treatment of the adolescent-minded Lewinsky to Mrs. Clinton’s (literally) screaming about the Secret Service, and alleging “They’ve had it out for us from the beginning” [pg. 60], Byrne includes in-depth information about testimony he was required to give after Mr. Clinton lied about his sexual escapades in the White House.
At one point, government lawyers threatened to arrest Mr. Byrne because they didn’t like his answers. Yet Byrne was caught between forced discretion about what he saw and Mr. Clinton’s brazen attitude suggesting it didn’t matter what he did because he had never and likely will never pay a price for it. An exception to that standard occurred when Mr. Clinton handed over $850,000 to Paula Jones, a former state clerk in Arkansas, to get her to drop a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment.
If you compare all three books, Byrne’s account is well aligned with information other authors obtained.
Those of us who were adults during Mr. Clinton’s presidency keenly remember—unless we commit voluntary amnesia—exactly what those years were like. US sovereignty began to be deliberately eroded from within. Feckless negotiators on trade deals falsely presented as free trade coupled with a mortgage lending scheme that would land most private company CEOs in prison. Somalia where good men died because a president was apparently clueless about what was happening in that country.
The Daily Beast content creator said Byrne is “a heretofore unknown retired government employee.” Maybe unknown now but not during the Clintons’ first term, long before the Clinton machine assumed control of Barack Obama’s White House. During those years The Washington Post and The New York Times, as well as cable and other news media included Byrne in stories about Mr. Clinton’s sex scandals.
Hillary Clinton’s current controversies including her malfeasance regarding Benghazi (Libya), her slipshod email server designed to create a barrier between the public and government information, and her outright arrogance in feigning innocence even when it is obvious she is not being truthful—Byrne must feel as though this era is déjà vu. Near the end of his book, he sums up well what most media work hard every day to downplay:
“Just last year, Mrs. Clinton claimed that as secretary of state she didn’t carry a work phone. It was too cumbersome and inconvenient for her to carry two phones. She didn’t have room for them.
Then we learned she carried an iPhone and BlackBerry, neither government issued nor encrypted.
Then we learned she carried an iPad and an iPad mini.
But she claimed she didn’t do email.
Then we learned she had email—on a private server.
But then she claimed her email was for personal correspondence, yoga, and wedding planning.
Then we learned her email contained government business as well—lots of it.” [pg. 274–275]
Longtime Clinton observers know the lengths this power couple will go to to protect their brand in tandem with a family foundation impacting governments and politics around the globe. This knowledge makes it impossible to understand how any American, regardless of ideology, would return the Clintons to the White House they controlled during the 1990s and during the presidency of Mr. Obama.
Most TV networks and Dem stalwart media in print and on the Web, will attack Mr. Byrne on behalf of Mrs. Clinton. Slaying the messenger is a Clinton tradition. It’s not the information in Byrne’s book they fear. It’s the spotlight that would necessarily shine on the Clintons if one of the most sordid presidencies in our history is reexamined.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/July 5, 2016)