Agents Not Always All Business

Because I’m a newspaperman, I’ve encountered Secret Service agents several times when Presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush made appearances in our states and during one visit to the White House to see President Clinton. I’ve always been impressed by their professionalism and, frankly, was a bit intimidated by them.

But I can’t say I was surprised by the current scandal involving some Secret Service agents. That’s because of something I heard in 1984, when Reagan stopped in Parkersburg.

At the time, I was working at the Tyler Star-News, a weekly newspaper in Sistersville. Because our next edition wouldn’t come out for days after the president’s visit, I had no part in covering the hard news of the event. Still, I decided to obtain press credentials and hang around the periphery of Reagan’s entourage, and snap a picture or two.

A good spot would be at the airport as Reagan was leaving Parkersburg, I decided. So, I staked out a spot on the runway near Air Force One, and was rewarded with a decent shot of the Gipper.

But while I was waiting for him to arrive, I was approached by a couple of young ladies sporting pins identifying them as members of the local welcoming committee. I asked them what they thought of a presidential visit, then noticed two Secret Service agents coming toward us.

The agents ignored me and began talking with the attractive young women. “So,” one of them asked, “do you live around here?”

Yes, they did. “What do you do for a living?”

“We’re models,” one of the women answered. “At the (local hotel) every Thursday night. We’re models for their weekly lingerie fashion show.”

“Did you say Thursday?” one of the agents asked as he fumbled in his navy blue suit coat pocket. “Don’t we have a layover before the next (presidential) trip?” he asked the other agent.

Affirmative, agent No. 2 answered as he, too, consulted his date book to determine whether there was a way the two could stay in Parkersburg until Thursday.

As I walked away – fast, so neither the young women nor the agents could see I was about to burst out in laughter – the agents were in consultation about how to arrange things.

I have no idea how it turned out for them, but I’ve often wondered.

Myer can be reached at: