The Hunter Elite; Inside America’s Secret Force Against Terror by Leon Wagener describes the transition of the Secret Service from being a strictly defensive organization to a proactive one. One could be fooled into thinking the book is a work of thriller fiction but it describes real people and situations.Hunter Elite

Leon says that getting inside the Secret Service was a difficult task. “They take the secret in the title very seriously.” Finally he found two agents willing to talk as long as their identities remained secret. Their code names are Ranger and Laredo. Laredo is a chemical/biological specialist and shared some very frightening stories.

Our President receives an average of 6-8 threats every day. All these threats are investigated and prioritized. Those deemed to be a sufficient and real threat are assigned to the Hunter Elite.

The origin of the Hawkeye CAT (Counter Assault Team) traces back to Nancy Reagan. After President Reagan was shot by Jonathan Hinckley, she exercised her considerable influence to get the group established. Hawkeye CAT is a heavily armed group that travels with the President everywhere POTUS goes. Their mission is to use overwhelming firepower to neutralize the threat – they are not there to make arrests.

Leon shares a number of stories about incidents I have never heard. They include the time a man broke into the Reagan’s private home seeking to kill them. Another involved a cartel assassin who was tracked down and intercepted by the Hunter Elite just before attacking President Obama on a golf course.

In his book Leon also shares interesting insights into the differences in the relationships between various Presidents and the Secret Service. President Biden even attempted to dissolve the organization but was unsuccessful.

Wagener is the author of bestselling biographies of Neil Armstrong and Jodie Foster. He also contributed to eight political books about the Clintons and Obamas which became New York Times bestsellers.