The reputation of the U.S. Secret Service is all about perfection. But behind the scenes, the agency is far from perfect. Carol Leonnig goes behind the scenes on scandals and close calls that have come to define the agency.
Before Post reporter Carol Leonnig started covering the Secret Service, she had the same impression most of us do about the men and women in suits standing next to the president.
“They are super serious, they never crack a smile. They’ve got those impenetrable faces and impenetrable shiny glasses. Everything about them is spit, polish and perfect,” says Leonnig.
But behind the scenes, the agency tasked with protecting the president is anything but perfect.
“As an organization, you just started seeing morale break down,” says Jonathan Wackrow, a former agent and security expert.
In her new book “Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service,” Leonnig brings to light the secrets, scandals and shortcomings that plague the agency today–from a toxic work culture to dangerously outdated equipment.
“They have witnessed countless security vulnerabilities and gaffes…which make them fear that the zero-fail mission is perpetually at risk,” Leonnig says. “And that is a danger for the lives of the president and his family.”
This story was produced by Martine Powers and Ariel Plotnick, and edited by Maggie Penman.