Secret Service Agents Dish on Past Presidents

Volunteer (a.k.a. Lyndon B. Johnson) ordered the Secret Service to install a warning buzzer to cover up his philandering. "The alarm system was put in because Lady Bird had caught him screwing a secretary in the Oval Office," a former agent dished.

Searchlight (a.k.a. Richard Nixon) ogled half-naked women while on vacation in St. Martin. "He'd wade out into the ocean and lurk with that nose just covered by the water," wrote agent turned author Marty Venker. "Like a crocodile."

Passkey (a.k.a. Gerald Ford) was affable but a cheapskate and a terrible tipper. He would undertip bellboys and ask agents for cash to buy newspapers; where golf caddies usually got a $25 tip, "Ford tipped a dollar, if at all."

Deacon (a.k.a. Jimmy Carter) liked to be seen as a man of the people, the kind of president who carried his own luggage, when in fact he'd make agents tote the heavy stuff around. "He would roll up his sleeves and carry his bag over his shoulder, but it was empty."

Rawhide (a.k.a. Ronald Reagan) confessed to one agent that on his first presidential trip to the Soviet Union, in 1988, he hid a gun in his briefcase. Upon learning of Gary Hart's affair, he quipped: "Boys will be boys. But boys will not be president."

Timberwolf (a.k.a. George H.W. Bush) was receptive to protective procedures because of the privacy they provided. However, he was hyperactive and could not sit still. "He can't read a book. He has to be on a treadmill or StairMaster. It's go, go, go."

Eagle (a.k.a. Bill Clinton) was obsessed with crowds and fed off the attention. Former agent Pete Dowling says it was hard for the agency to adjust. "We weren't going to have a conversation saying, 'Sir, you're really going to have to change. This isn't presidential.' We really had to redefine the way we did business."

Trailblazer (a.k.a. George W. Bush) was known for being punctual but also a sore loser. He liked to work out with agents, who were careful to guard both his body and his ego. "You pretty much knew that you're not supposed to pass him while biking," one agent said. He even tried to best Lance Armstrong at the ranch, one agent blabbed. "I think Lance let him win."