The Secret Service, after 150 years of exemplary work, is much in the news of late for several poor performances.
Reading about the gaffes and the resulting
resignation of the service's director, reminded me of an encounter with one of
The Director of the Intermountain Research Station, where I was working for the U.S. Forest Service, decided to check out the latest management fad being promoted throughout the federal establishment. He sent me, our biometrician, and an administrative services specialist to
for a one-week training session with orders to report back with
recommendations. Washington, DC
It turned out to be a pretty high-level gathering. Among our group of about 40 trainees was the Postmaster General and a two-star Marine Corps general. We met daily just down the street from the Russian Embassy.
Forest Service lodging reimbursements didn't cover the cost of rooms in fancy places, so our trio stayed in a modest hotel and we had to walk a fair distance every morning to the meeting place. We made the trek early, because free coffee and donuts were available for about a half-hour before the training sessions started.
|Keach would have been believable as a Secret Service agent.|
One fellow trainee was present every day when we arrived. Often he was the only one there, so we chatted with him and became acquainted. The man bore a startling resemblance to actor Stacey Keach. We learned that he had been a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy before his present employment. There was no doubt about his current work. Where our workshop name tags said U.S.Forest Service, his said Secret Service!
Obviously, our new friend was there guarding somebody, but in numerous conversations he never told us who it was. The cold war hadn't thawed at that time, and we mentioned our proximity to the Russians and wondered if he wasn't concerned about identifying himself so openly.
The agent said, "Oh, they know who all of us are. And we know who all the KGB guys are."
Apparently, some things aren't so secret in secret service work.