In a hard-hitting interview with Blaze Books in connection with his newest title, Life Inside the Bubble, outspoken former Secret Service Agent Dan Bongino provided his insights on a wide array of topics, from his life in law enforcement protecting a Senator and two Presidents, to Barack Obama’s worldview, the government shutdown, the Benghazi and NSA scandals and all things in-between. Below is our interview, which was conducted via phone prior to the release of his book. The interview has been transcribed and edited for clarity.
What inspired you to write Life Inside the Bubble?
Bongino: You know I hate to use the term because as you probably know the political consultant class has all kinds of bad advice for you, but they always say to never talk about frustration or, you know anger. But, I don’t think those are necessarily negative things if you use them for the right reasons. I mean anyone can turn anger or frustration into a negative action, but I was really frustrated and frankly angry at the process, and having been an ideological libertarian, small government conservative my whole life I had this frustration being behind the scenes watching what was going on and seeing what seemed to me at the time like an irreversible trend towards governing principles which – there’s no serious person left that actually believes these governing principles work. You know redistribution, top down bureaucracy, planning based, governing based on what Thomas Sowell calls the vision of the anointed ones, the bureaucrats, and it was frustrating. So I figured if I gave my behind the scenes perspective having seen it, been enmeshed in it for 12 years that it would be, that Siren sound that sometimes people need to motivate them to action. You know action changes the world. Talk is cheap if it doesn’t motivate action.
Why should the man on the street buy your book?
Bongino: Because it’s worse than you know. The government, the administrative state, the bureaucracy, you tell me a problem, you think you see with government from a libertarian or limited government conservative’s perspectiveand I can tell you in the book, which I give some examples on how it’s worse than you actually know it to be. You’ve been sold out. But sometimes you need an example to literally hit you in the gut to say, you know it’s kind of like…hearing about how bad a baseball team is, and then watching a game where they get blown out like 25-1, and you go “wow, they’re really bad, we need to fix something.” That’s why you need to buy the book.
What is the one thing that you hope readers take away from the book?
Bongino: However bad you think it is, it’s worse, and it’s on a bipartisan trajectory getting worse by the day. People think since 2010 we’ve turned it around…we haven’t, we’ve turned nothing around, it’s still getting worse. But you really need to see the examples in the book to punch you in the gut. You need to watch or see the baseball game sometimes to realize just how bad the team really is.
What is the one thing that people on the outside do not appreciate about the job of a Secret Service agent?
Bongino: It is a cerebral exercise. It is not, contrary to Line of Fire or whatever movies or tv shows you may have seen or comic books. It’s not a bodyguard job. It’s not. Ironically, 99% of what you would call bodyguard work or physical security as it’s called in the business is actually done by uniform law enforcement, not us. We’re the ones that design the plan, and the plan is a cerebral exercise that takes literally decades, I kid you not, decades to master. Think about it here. I call it the big six: tactical, medical, chem-bio, IED, airborne and fire, and maybe sometimes geologic. You have to have an A to Z plan to mitigate every one of those threats: a tactical threat, a medical threat, a chem-bio threat, an IED, an airborne threat, a fire, and when I say geologic, sometimes earthquakes depending on where you are. But not just an A-B plan, an A-Z plan. Do you have any idea how complicated that is? With budget constraints and manpower constraints, it is really…it is a cerebral exercise that very few have truly truly mastered. And that’s why very few guys get to the President’s detail, and even after that, very few of those guys eventually even do a lead advance where they’re in charge.