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BOOK REVIEW: “CRISIS OF CHARACTER”

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 10, 2016

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– How Hillary Clinton is perceived by the Secret Service.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
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I read “Crisis of Character” over the 4th of July weekend (Center Street Publishing; 285 pages). It’s the new controversial book by Gary J. Byrne, former presidential secret service officer who served both George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton while in office, including during the Monica Lewinsky affair and his impeachment proceedings.

Byrne considers himself a loyal and patriotic American who served the country in law enforcement. He began his career in the United States Air Force Security Police, before moving on to the Uniformed Division of the U.S. Secret Service, and finally ending his career as a Federal Air Marshal. From his writings, he claims to believe in God, the Constitution, and his duty to his country. He gave no hint of his political preferences as he felt it was immaterial to the jobs he performed.

In the book, Byrne claims the White House Secret Service agents had a fondness for “Papa Bush” (George H.W. Bush) who treated them with kindness and respect. This all changed with the Clinton administration who found the secret service to be an obstacle as opposed to a natural part of White House life. In one instance, Hillary Clinton insisted a Secret Service agent move baggage from the White House into a limo. Such a request would mean the agent’s hands would not be free to access weapons or communications, and he would be distracted from his job. The Clintons didn’t understand this and became infuriated with the agent.

Byrne claimed President Clinton was one of the most charming and engaging men he ever met. In the White House, he was not really the problem, it was the First Lady who possessed a volcanic personality and managed her staff by intimidation. From her perspective, the Clintons were a Royal Monarchy and everyone should treat them as such. Unfortunately, her Atilla the Hun personality caused a sense of paranoia among her staff. People were hesitant to deliver bad news to her in fear of suffering her wrath.

As a couple, Byrne claims the Clintons were only lovey-dovey for the cameras. It was all facade. In reality, there were numerous yelling tirades, primarily led by the First Lady. He also tells of an incident where the President inexplicably comes to work one day with a black eye covered with makeup.

Byrne was also charged in safeguarding the President’s office and was the last line of defense before allowing people to see Mr. Clinton. In the book, he describes how Monica Lewinsky tried to sneak into the Oval Office, fabricating excuses which the Secret Service didn’t believe and prevented her on numerous occasions from meeting with the president. However, her persistence paid off and she finally gained access to the president. The point is, the Secret Service tried to protect the president from himself.

Interestingly, throughout the book, Byrne complains how bureaucratic procedures and political correctness often interfered with getting the job done, be it in the Secret Service or Federal Air Marshal service. Even though there is concern for saying and acting a certain way, there is evidently no sense of adapting to situations. He contends building character is more important than bureaucracies and p.c., hence the name of his book.

In the book, when it comes to the Clintons, their modus operandi is “deny-deny-deny” everything and assume responsibility for nothing. This was apparent during the Monica Lewinsky case, Paula Jones, Vince Foster, Filegate, Travelgate, Whitewater, etc.

Byrne also made a comparison of the Benghazi incident to 1993 Somalia and “Black Hawk Down,” whereby the Clintons put people in harm’s way and denied them the proper support. This was done so people wouldn’t look upon America as invaders.

The author’s take on character is summarized towards the end of the book, where he discusses Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State during the Benghazi incident:

“I don’t care if Hillary Clinton watched caskets come home behind Secret Service protection at Andrews Air Force Base. That’s not leadership. Character in leadership comes down to two questions: Would you trade places with anyone under your command? Do you hold yourself to the same level of accountability as those for whom you bear responsibility? Would Mrs. Clinton have been willing to trade places with Chris Stevens and Sean Smith? No. She was too busy swapping gossip and classified information with Clinton loyalist Sidney Blumenthal.”

In other words, never ask your people to do something you are not prepared to do yourself. The end result, failed confidence in leadership and dampened morale. “We all wondered, ‘Will they come for us if we’re attacked? Will they stand by us? Does “no man left behind” mean a damned thing? Will they even tell the truth after I’m gone?'”

According to Byrne, “Let’s say it straight out: Hillary Clinton lied about the reason for the Benghazi attack. She lied to the nation as a whole and she lied to the faces of the grieving family members of those who died there – and then lied about her lying.”

Byrne implies the Clintons operated under the assumption “the ends justify the means” which sacrifices truth and honesty, and justifies their tactic of “deny-deny-deny.”

Byrne’s thesis is simple and true: Character is of paramount importance. Without character, how can you effectively lead, and who can you trust?

The question is, does anyone care anymore? The fact the Clintons have gotten away with this for so long, leads me to believe, No, we no longer care. Sadly, this is indicative of the decline of our moral values.

Also published with News Talk Florida.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2016 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  IS THE POLITICAL SYSTEM RIGGED? – What do you think?

LAST TIME:  MICROSOFT: WHERE DO I SEND THE BILL?  – Losing time as a result of Microsoft updates.

Listen to Tim on News Talk Florida (WWBA 820 AM), WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

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3 Responses to “BOOK REVIEW: “CRISIS OF CHARACTER””

  1. Joan Schoenling said

    I read CRISIS OF CHARACTER, and couldn’t agree with you more, Tim, when you posit the question: “Does anyone care anymore about character?” Sadly, like you say, “No, I don’t think we do!”

    I saw “Hillary’s America” a couple weeks ago and stood at the end of the movie with my hand over my heart . . . .Unfortunately, I think it also is preaching only to the choir!

    Hope all is well. . . .

    j.

    Like

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