Author: Dan Bongino
Turner or Burner: Turner – 4.5/5
Blazing Fast Review: Dan Bongino describes his thrilling career in law enforcement culminating as a Secret Service agent in the Presidential Protective Division (PPD), and why he was compelled to walk away from his highly sought after position to pursue elective office against heavily favored Democratic Senator Ben Cardin. Along the way he provides on-the-ground insight into the life of an agent protecting the country’s most important assets, and how he developed a political ideology completely anathema to those he served and shielded.
Title: Life Inside the Bubble: Why a Top-Ranked Secret Service Agent Walked Away from It All
Author: Dan Bongino
You will probably enjoy this book if…
- You admire CLINT EASTWOOD, RAY KELLY, or ALLEN WEST
- You are interested in subjects like NATIONAL SECURITY, DEFENSE, or INTELLIGENCE
- You watch television shows like 24, Homeland, or Scandal
- You read books by VINCE FLYNN, BRAD THOR, or CHRISTOPHER REICH
The Hard Sell: Dan Bongino’s biography reads like a movie: street-smart cop from Queens works the hardest beat in Brooklyn in East New York, hones his craft and rises to the highest level of the Secret Service in the Presidential Protection Division (PPD). Along the way he develops insights into economics, foreign policy and government, which lead him to turn in disgust against the very political class he protected by seeking elective office himself. Yet the final chapters of Bongino’s book alone are worth the price of admission, in which Bongino applies his experience and intuition to provide fresh and incisive analysis on “Fast and Furious,” Benghazi and the Boston bombing, revealing the pervasive political correctness and bureaucratic politics and inertia that will continue to plague the country if more people do not stand up. Read the book for the story, but cherish it for the analysis.
“…beware of the soft tyranny of bureaucracies.” So states Dan Bongino in his newly released part biography, part political analysis titled Life Inside the Bubble.
For those unfamiliar, Dan Bongino spent sixteen years working in law enforcement, starting with the New York Police Department (NYPD) on the rough streets of East New York, and culminating at the pinnacle of law enforcement in the Secret Service Presidential Protective Division (PPD). After leaving the PPD for reasons soon to be divulged, in 2012 Bongino ran for the U.S. Senate in Maryland, falling to incumbent Democrat Ben Cardin. He is currently working to avenge this loss in a House campaign in Maryland’s 6th Congressional District in 2014.
Bongino’s story is an inspiring one – after his parents split during childhood, Bongino, a hardscrabble kid from Queens, developed an affinity for law enforcement, in no small part due to the frequent encounters between his mother’s abusive partner and the neighborhood cops who kept the peace.
Imbued with a respect for law and order, at 18 years old Bongino enrolled in the NYPD, training and successfully completing a program that saw him matriculate to the most crime-ridden precinct in New York, that of East New York’s 75th precient. From there, Bongino describes the challenging encounters, institutional inertia and general stultification of the job that led him to pursue a career in the U.S. Secret Service.
In simple and readable prose for the civilian, we get an inside look into the rigors of Secret Service training, what it was actually like to protect Hillary Clinton during her Senate run and Presidents Bush and Obama (even when you disagree with their politics) during their respective presidencies and the tactical and political challenges thrown everyday at the warriors whose successes are non-events and failures are national tragedies.
Politicians are surrounded by loyalists whose dedication is not to the people but to their careers
Having had a successful career navigating through the various governmental bureaucracies to land in the most elite of elite positions protecting the President, why did Bongino choose to turn in his gun and shield? In addition to the brutal and intensely stressful hours, debilitating illnesses contracted when protecting globe-trotting dignitaries and the personal sacrifices of minimal time with his wife and child, Bongino rebelled against the figurative D.C. “bubble,” whereby as Bongino tells it the politicians making decisions are surrounded by political loyalists whose dedication is not to the people but to currying favor with their bosses and thus advancing their careers.
The dangerous disconnect between the public and its leaders was most acute in the Obama White House
Further, as he describes in some detail, Bongino had developed a conservative/libertarian ideology, influenced by Ronald Reagan, the Austrian economists and the empirical evidence of the failures of the Obama administration, forcing Bongino to consider standing up for his principles in an alternative capacity.
In Bongino’s mind, the dangerous disconnect between the public and its leaders was most acute in the Obama White House, in which staff “lived in a utopian bubble devoid of any acknowledgement of real-world consequences. They spoke of policies in an idealistic way…When a policy not only failed to produce the desired result but in some cases produced the exact opposite result, it was ignored.”
Unable to achieve the karmic highs from his prior service protecting the president in the desk job to which he was reassigned following his PPD tenure, Bongino decided to run for U.S. Senate as a Republican against incumbent Democratic Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland. Despite having never run for office before, as a result of hard work, an impeccable career, chance encounters with Mike Lee and an endorsement from Jim DeMint, Bongino ran an impressive but ultimately unsuccessful campaign to unseat Cardin, in part due to a late third-party entrant with whom Bongino split the vote.
When a policy not only failed to produce the desired result but the opposite result, it was ignored.
Following Bongino’s biography, the latter part of the book is about applying his experiences and analytical ability to assess three defining events that amplify what Bongino sees as the danger of bureaucratic tyranny, requiring swift and dramatic change if he argues we are to protect national life and limb. His takeaways are staggering.
On the “Fast and Furious” calamity, in which the Department of Justice (DOJ) failed to indict or arrest anyone despite ~500 seizures of
DOJ had a“laziness and lack of integrity…[and] only acted when there was a political cost to pay.”
illegally held weapons, Bongino argues convincingly that the blame lays at the feet of the DOJ, which in the face of overwhelming evidence refused to prosecute criminals, due to bureaucratic inertia, a perverse incentive set that prioritized strong prosecution numbers over the most qualitatively important cases to the public and a “laziness and lack of integrity that had real-world consequences…[in which] the DOJ only acted when there was a political cost to pay.”
On Benghazi, Bongino goes into great depth on three major assertions: (i) that the security detail was wholly inadequate for protecting a U.S. ambassador in a war-torn state, (ii) that the alleged communication breakdown in the government was “not consistent with any prior crisis-management message strategy…in two presidential administrations…and…conflicted with the accounts of personnel on the
Silencing of Benghazi survivors is “an act of logistical secrecy…never witnessed” in Bongino’s career
ground and…information…from within the government” and (iii) that the lack of access to the dozens of Benghazi survivors and resultant lack of leaks from such survivors is “an act of logistical secrecy…never witnessed during all [of Bongino’s] time with the government.” The last of these assertions is most damning and blood-curdling, indicating a cover-up of epic proportions, in which the truth could have undermined President Obama’s entire foreign policy narrative and thus his re-election.
On the Boston Bombing, Bongino predicts that such an attack reflects a changing model of terrorism, from the “franchise” model to the “self-proprietorship” model, whereby as opposed to terrorist cells acting under the umbrella of a broader organization, “lone wolfs” acting independently will strike the homeland. If Bongino is right, this shift in turn will make the job of law-enforcement and intelligence professionals even more difficult by reducing the amount of individuals involved with terrorist plans and thus the volume of “chatter” integral to catching would-be terrorists.
Bongino ends his book with the unsettling takeaway that throughout the federal government, the massive layers of bureaucracy, and inter-departmental politicization has deadly consequences, that if not corrected will guarantee an increasing amount of catastrophes. Further, by continuing to layer in bureaucracy, everybody becomes responsible for nothing. The government “incentivizes acquiescence at the expense of both the American public and the dedicated cadre of federal employees who largely sought out public service as a means to serve, not harm, their fellow Americans.”
Bongino, a man who has dedicated his life to protecting and serving the public, through his Life Inside the Bubble makes a clarion call to concerned citizens to rise up and get involved with politics–”action changes the world…Talk is cheap if it doesn’t motivate action”– and that silence in the face of the government Leviathan makes us complicit in its destructiveness.