The Kennedy Detail
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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Thank you for your book and the opportunity to hear you speak

Mr. Blaine

I read your book as soon as it came out and went to see you speak in Vero Beach on January 17th. You and your book have truly touched me. I was 10 years old when the assassination occurred and was very inspired by President Kennedy prior to that. From then until I was nearly 20, I wanted to be a Secret Service agent, even though no women were employed on the protective detail at the time.

Your book made me feel as if I truly understood what it was like to be an agent during that era, especially. I finally realize that even though I broke barriers as a Naval officer, I don’t think I could have ever lived the life of total commitment you and the other agents did. I truly honor your dedication and all the sacrifices you and your families made.

I never thought of the Secret Service as failing because I always understood the inability to protect against many dangers, especially a lone, mentally imbalanced person who was willing to trade his life for fame. In 2003 when the Department of Homeland Security was being formed, with the Secret Service transitioning from Treasury, I was fortunate to be in a position to act as an advisor to the Secretary of DHS to identify measures of mission effectiveness across all DHS agencies. We met with the head of every agency, including the chief of the Secret Service. It was a dream come true for me to be there. After much discussion of what could possibly be measured that would show opportunities for improvement at the mission level, including some of the things you alluded to in your book, we ended up recommending that the Secret Service be the only DHS agency where there were no measures of effectiveness tracked because their results are binary.

I just wanted to take a minute to share these things with you since you said during your talk that you enjoyed the feedback you received from your book tour. Thank you again for everything you did for the country before, during and after your time in the Secret Service. Please also give my thanks to Mr. Hill for everything he has done and endured. I’ve always known he did everything he could.

Accept the thanks of a grateful nation.

Becky Zingarelli
Melbourne, FL

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