Peoples and Nations

JFK Affairs: How the Secret Service Colluded

JFK Affairs: How the Secret Service Colluded

The following article on JFK affairs is an excerpt from Mel Ayton's Hunting the President: Threats, Plots, and Assassination Attempts-From FDR to Obama.

JFK's affairs were legendary within his Secret Service detail, and his agents were shocked at the way Kennedy put his life in danger during his assignations with women. The president once escaped his detail during a visit to New York's Carlyle Hotel. He returned around midnight and asked his agents, “Is there anything you'd like to talk about?” They were not amused.

In the late 1990s, Seymour Hersh interviewed Secret Service men who were members of the president's protective detail. One of the agents, Larry Newman, was appalled at Kennedy's affairs with numerous women. He was also embarrassed when high-priced prostitutes were brought to JFK's hotel suite in Seattle in November 1961. Newman tried to stop them, but presidential aide Dave Powers intervened to usher the women right in. One of the local police officers asked Newman, “Does this go on all the time?'” Newman replied, “Well, we travel during the day. This only happens at night.” Newman said, “It was highly frustrating, because we thought so much of the guy… We didn't know if these women were carrying listening devices, if they had syringes that carried some type of poison, or if they had Pentax cameras that would photograph the president for blackmail.” Newman blamed JFK aide David Powers for the lax security.

Former agent Marty Venker was also disillusioned at the way JFK conducted himself. He said agents were expected to set up JFK with “dates.” If an agent “was new to the job,” Venker said, “and wasn't aware of this fact, Kennedy would let him know pretty quickly. He'd say something to the effect of, 'You've been here two weeks already and still don't have any broads lined up for me? You guys get all the broads you want. How about doing something for your Commanderin-Chief?'” When New York call girl Leslie Devereaux visited JFK at the White House, an agent took her to the Lincoln Bedroom. When she expressed concern that she had to lie down on Lincoln's bed, the agent told her, “Lady, it's the best we've got.”