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caption: Carol Leonnig's Zero Fail
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Carol Leonnig's Zero Fail
Credit: Courtesy of Penguin Random House

Chinks in the armor: An investigative call to reform the Secret Service

The United States Secret Service was formed in 1865, initially to suppress counterfeit currency. Over time, its mission veered toward protection of political leaders and crime investigation. That service is now a labyrinthine agency, with a long trail of management, morale and performance issues.

The United States has a dark history of political assassinations. Efforts to prevent such killings are pressure-filled. For her new book Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service, journalist Carol Leonnig argues that the once heralded agency is in dire need of reform and renewed support.

Costs of financing the agency rose during the Trump administration, and a historically apolitical force showed partisan and ethical cracks. In recent times, the agency famed for its dedication to "take a bullet" became better known for a tendency to dodge bullets. Leonnig interviewed former and current agents and managers in her reporting for the book. One takeaway is that the agency is "calling out for help."

Carol Leonnig is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter at the Washington Post. She is interviewed here by NBC and MSNBC correspondent Jacob Soboroff. The Elliott Bay Book Company presented this event on May 23, 2021. Elliot Bay’s Rick Simonson moderated the program.

Please note: This recording contains unedited language of an adult nature.

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