Missing Patriotism: The Roots of a Prostitution Scandal
Three decades ago, H. Stuart Knight ran a patriotic Secret Service reflecting his love of country.
April 27, 2012 - 9:33 am
The Cartagena sexcapade dramatically proves that the Democratic Party’s new anti-Americanism has even started eating away at the patriotism of one of the most patriotic American institutions, the Secret Service — which was born five days after General Lee surrendered at Appomattox.
In my other life at the top of Communist Romania’s intelligence community, I had a relatively close working relationship with H. Stuart Knight, the head of the American Secret Service in those days. We jointly prepared Ceausescu’s last two trips to the U.S., and together we also planned President Nixon’s last visit to Romania. My relations with Mr. Knight became stronger after I was granted political asylum. Like me, he was also an immigrant (born in Canada, raised in Detroit), and that gave us a common bond. Through him, I came to know the Secret Service quite well. To my eyes, the Secret Service was the land-based equivalent of a naval carrier ship, where the officers snap to attention and salute the American flag whenever they board. Over the years I got to know hundreds of Mr. Knight’s agents. All demonstrated allegiance to the flag and were ready to give their lives to protect America’s other symbol, its president. In fact, you could almost say that there was a cult of the U.S. president within the Secret Service of those days.
I will never forget the police baton displayed in a glass cabinet behind Mr. Knight’s desk. Whenever I went to his office, he would tell me that it had belonged to his father. To me, that baton symbolized Mr. Knight’s personal modesty, which characterized his own leadership qualities. Mr. Knight served as head of the Secret Service under three presidents, prevented two assassination attempts against President Ford (1975), and diverted an attempt that only wounded President Reagan (1981), but both Mr. Knight and his Secret Service kept a very low profile throughout. During Ceaucescu’s 1978 visit to the U.S., Mr. Knight assigned several dozen Secret Service officers to protect my then-boss, but their presence was hardly visible.
Last week, Mr. Knight must have been turning over in his grave. The fact that all eleven Secret Service agents and all ten military personnel sent to Cartagena for the single purpose of protecting the president of the United States were found to have been involved with prostitutes during that trip indicates that their disgusting behavior was far from accidental. On an earlier occasion, the dirty sexual innuendo about former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin posted on the internet by the Secret Service agent in charge of protecting her does not now appear accidental, either. We are evidently dealing with a new culture at the Secret Service.
In my other life, when I told Ceaucescu that we were losing money on every product we were exporting to the West, his prompt solution was: “We’ll make it up in quantity.” The recent enormous operation mounted to protect President Obama’s two-day attendance at the Sixth Summit of the Americas, involving hundreds of Secret Service agents, some forty armored cars, fleets of airplanes and helicopters, and and at least a couple of dozen sniffer dogs, also seems designed to replace quality with quantity. It did not work in Romania. It will not work here.
Since 1792, elections have been the American way of correcting the past and improving the future. Fortunately, we still have free elections. In the following months, we at PJ Media will do our best to help America’s voters restore respect for the United States of America, for our flag, and for our president.