- - Tuesday, March 10, 2015

If you want to know why Hillary Clinton thought she could get away with violating federal regulations in order to conceal her emails when she was secretary of state, take a look behind the facade.

Mrs. Clinton pretends to be a compassionate woman who cares about the little people and will champion the middle class if elected president. The reality is that behind the scenes, she is abusive to those same people.

As detailed in my book “The First Family Detail,” Mrs. Clinton is so nasty to Secret Service agents who would lay down their lives for her that being assigned to her detail is considered a form of punishment and the worst assignment in the Secret Service.

“We were basically told, the Clintons don’t want to see you, they don’t want to hear you, get out of the way,” says a former Secret Service agent of the Clintons’ White House years. “If Hillary was walking down a hall, you were supposed to hide behind drapes used as partitions. Supervisors would tell us, ‘Listen, stand behind this curtain. They’re coming,’ or ‘Just stand out of the way, don’t be seen.’”

Agents say Hillary’s nastiness and contempt for them, and disdain for law enforcement and the military in general, has continued, both when she was secretary of state and now that she is protected as a former first lady, earning her the distinction of being considered the Secret Service’s most detested protectee.

“Hillary would cuss at Secret Service drivers for going over bumps,” former agent Jeff Crane says.

“There’s not an agent in the service who wants to be in Hillary’s detail,” a current agent says. “If agents get the nod to go to her detail, that’s considered a form of punishment among the agents. She’s hard to work around, she’s known to snap at agents and yell at agents and dress them down to their faces, and they just have to be humble and say, ‘Yes ma’am,’ and walk away.”

The agent adds, “Agents don’t deserve that. They’re there to do a job, they’re there to protect her, they’ll lay their life down for hers, and there’s absolutely no respect for that. And that’s why agents do not want to go to her detail.”

As if that’s not bad enough, an FBI investigation for independent counsel Ken Starr into the suicide of Hillary’s friend and mentor Vince Foster, who was President Clinton’s deputy White House counsel, found that Hillary’s humiliation of Foster in front of White House colleagues triggered his suicide a week later.

When she disagreed with him over a legal interpretation, “Hillary put him [Foster] down really, really bad in a pretty good-size meeting,” former FBI agent Coy Copeland says. “She told him he didn’t get the picture, and he would always be a little hick town lawyer who was obviously not ready for the big time.”

Based on what “dozens” of others who had contact with Foster after that meeting told the agents, “The put-down that she gave him in that big meeting just pushed him over the edge,” Mr. Copeland says. “It was the final straw that broke the camel’s back.”

“Foster was profoundly depressed, but Hillary lambasting him was the final straw because she publicly embarrassed him in front of others,” former FBI supervisory agent Jim Clemente told me for the book. Mr. Clemente adds, “Hillary blamed him for failed nominations, claimed he had not vetted them properly, and said in front of his White House colleagues, ‘You’re not protecting us’ and ‘You have failed us.’ That was the final blow.”

As Mrs. Clinton’s new book was coming out, Republican operatives floated the idea that because she is wealthy, she is “disconnected” from common folk. Political pundits spent weeks debating the point, which was just as fatuous as Democrats’ claims that because he is wealthy, Mitt Romney cares little about the common man. If great wealth turns people into shrews, how does one explain philanthropists from Andrew Carnegie to Bill Gates? The truth about Hillary Clinton is far more disturbing.

“You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who can do nothing for them or to them,” publisher Malcolm S. Forbes once said.

The same sense of entitlement and arrogance that led Hillary to treat with contempt those who are less powerful than she is can be seen in her decision to violate federal rules governing retention of records. By making her records on her private server off-limits to subpoenas and congressional and Freedom of Information requests and subjecting them to possible hacking by hostile foreign powers, Mrs. Clinton abused the public trust. Nothing she said at her Tuesday press conference changed that.

Indeed, Mrs. Clinton compounded her credibility problem by making the absurd claim that she declined to use a government email account because it was easier than carrying two devices for two different email accounts. Any user of computers or personal hand-held devices knows that it takes a few seconds to switch from one email account to another, as everyone else in government does.

The FBI Academy teaches new agents that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Voters who disregarded Richard Nixon’s involvement in the questionable ethics issue that led to his Checkers speech should not have been surprised when he orchestrated the Watergate cover-up as president. Rather than focusing on how well candidates smile on TV or what they promise, voters should focus on character, judgment and track record.

Should Hillary Clinton run for president, voters who ignore the difference between the image she seeks to project and the reality will have only themselves to blame if her presidency turns into a disaster.

Ronald Kessler, a former investigative reporter for The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, is the author of “The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents” (Crown Forum, 2014).

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