Secret Service, U.S. Marshals and the CIA all Wanted a Piece of Me

It was pretty damn cool.

I was a reporter on the University of Texas at Arlington student newspaper. And the Secret Service wanted me, sort of.

I had to be credentialed if I wanted to be in the press briefing later that year when President Reagan flew into DFW Airport.

Even though no one in our typically pinko-liberal newsroom was a Reagan supporter, the fact that the Secret Service was checking us out was pretty awesome, if somewhat scary.

It was a pretty straight-forward process for everyone but me.  As I recall, the Junior G-man had to call Washington to decide what to do with my application.  It called for 10 fingerprints, but I could only offer five.  He figured it out and I got my Secret Service press credentials. Whoa.

 

us marshal

 

When I graduated and got a job on the Waco Tribune-Herald, I did my time in the journalistic salt mines — night shift police reporter.  Even though the Waco police brass hated me and the previous reporter, he was liked by the legendary brothers who were U.S. Deputy Marshals.  In the law enforcement totem pole, they were just below God.

We were invited to their annual “Shoot” — THE event on the local law enforcement social agenda, where adult beverages were consumed, weapons discharged and stuff blown up — and that was was better than winning a Pulitzer.

The event was held way out in the boonies and entailed shooting just about every weapon this side of the Death Star, all provided by the hosts.

For some reason, lawmen didn’t expect reporters to be able to shoot.  So when I emptied a handgun into the center mass  of a bad guy target, one of the local cops said,  “Remind me to call you next time I get into a gunfight.”

Sadly, I lost all the props at the next station when I tried my hand at a submachine gun.  I expected that sucker to really kick, so I aimed way low, gritted my teeth, and blew the absolute crap out of the grass just in front of me.  The bad guys definitely won that round.

My creepiest law enforcement liaison was with the CIA, no question.

In Singapore, I worked for Hill & Knowlton P.R. (and H&K has always been “linked” to the Agency, ahem).

I never  saw any cloak and dagger stuff there. I did, however, meet a guy in the oil business who would occasionally get an encrypted teletype message and then disappear into the bowels of Asia for a few months, overthrowing governments or doing whatever spooks did in the early eighties.

When I returned to the States, after three years in Singapore as a journalist and P.R. guy, the CIA was very interested in making my acquaintance.

I was looking for a job in Washington, D.C. and responded to a CIA advertisement for an editor.  Thinking about that  interview still creeps me out to this day.

The woman who interviewed me was the oldest, most evil looking, wrinkled meat-eater I had ever seen. She did not look me in the eye. She just chain-smoked cigarettes and blew smoke out through her nicotine-stained, raptor teeth.

It didn’t take long to realize The Agency didn’t really want to use my skills as an “editor”.  They were thinking of possibly something in the field.

I had just had a baby and was not about to enter into the dark world of espionage. So I bid the raptor lady adieu and shot out the door before she could get her creepy little arms around me and rip the flesh from my body.

Click here for more media memories.

 




2 Responses to “Secret Service, U.S. Marshals and the CIA all Wanted a Piece of Me”

  1. Lillian L.. says:

    You really have led a widely varied and interesting life. Not bad for a fireman’s kid from Norman, Oklahoma. Proud of you to this day!

Leave a Reply