Tag Archives: Secret Service

When a Joke is No Laughing Matter to the Secret Service

The story popped up in my news feed sometime last week:  Secret Service shows up at Columbus man’s door after social media comment

It was the type of headline I had read too many times.  As a former Secret Service agent, and one who has worked a lot of threat cases, I recognized it as the type of investigation I had dealt with repeatedly.  In this particular instance, a man had read a social media post regarding a political event involving Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton and posted the comment, “Where do we send the bomb.”  Predictably, somebody notified the Secret Service and Special Agents paid him a visit.  Just as predictably, the man claimed the comment was meant to be a joke.

Against my better judgment, I weeded through the readers’ comments attached to the post regarding the incident.  Some of the comments on the Facebook link I pulled up were:

“He was joking.  This country needs to lighten up a little.”

“Wow… this is getting out of control. Our government would just love to control social media.”

“Quite the overreaction.  But then again, it is the PC world.”

And on and on and on…

image

Of course there are always comments addressing an individual’s rights regarding freedom of speech, but that is another topic altogether and too complex to address in this post.

I am going to try to explain why “joking” threats are no joke at all.  I say “try”, because I cannot and will not reveal exactly how the Secret Service investigates threat cases.  Not only did I sign a nondisclosure agreement a long time ago, but it would be irresponsible to reveal more than what can be found through online open source resources (publicly available).  So, I am going to make an attempt at explaining why threats that are meant to be facetious are dangerous and damaging.

Using the recent Columbus, Ohio incident as an example, the man who made the “joke” stated that the agents who appeared at his home already knew a great deal about him.  Of course until the Secret Service interviews someone who makes a threatening comment there is no way to know if the threat has the potential to be real.

The individual making the threat will have to be interviewed and it is always helpful to know the background of the person you are interviewing.  So one may conclude that these agents, who could be spending their time pursuing legitimate threat cases or working various criminal investigations, have already had to spend time preparing to interview the suspect by gathering background information to include any criminal history, previous threats made, affiliations with terrorist groups, etc.  After all, you would not want to be interviewing a suspect without knowing he has a history of reacting violently to law enforcement or is wanted for murder in three states.  Information can be helpful!  With the prep time, drive time, and interviewing time, and report writing time, we are already talking about HOURS spent on this “joke” which is now a Protective Intelligence case.

But, we are not done.

According to this guide for handling threat cases, threat cases involve:

  • Identification
  • Assessment
  • Classification

Simple right?

Not quite.

Just A Few Hours?

Although hours have already been spent on the person who has been identified as having made a threatening comment, this is just the beginning of a threat case.  Now, the individual will have to be assessed.  This could include more electronic checks, calls to other agencies, visits to psychiatrists, interviews with neighbors, family members, and coworkers, and much more.  Some of these checks may be out of the state, or even out of the country, and many will have to be conducted in person.  Suddenly, multiple agents in various locations are being dedicated to this “joke”.   Real funny.

But, we are not done.

A Few Weeks?

The results of all of these checks and interviews will have to be collected by an agency’s central Intelligence entity or Threat Assessment center.  At which point, MORE agents are going to have to pick through the findings, weigh all of the factors, determine the legitimacy of the threat, and classify the case in a manner that will determine what future level of scrutiny it may receive.  Yes.  I said FUTURE.

Because… we are not done.

Months?  Years?

If at any point it is determined that an individual who made a threat will be prosecuted, then an entire chain of events occurs involving the judicial system.  That chain of events will have to be tracked and monitored.

If at any point it is determined that an individual who made a threat needs to be committed for psychiatric evaluation, then an entire of events occurs involving the mental health system.  That chain of events will have to be tracked and monitored.

If it is determined that an individual COULD be a threat, a significant amount of follow-up and monitoring will be conducted.

Even if it is determined that an individual is likely NOT a threat, the follow-up work may be minimal, but look at what has been done already.

Every single threat needs to be investigated.  Every single one.  Aside from the possibility that every threat communicated makes a violent act seem more feasible to those with disturbed minds or evil intent, a simple social media comment intended to be interpreted as a joke can cause an investigative agency to dedicate an incredible amount of resources throughout the world.  This is why making a threat toward an individual protected by the Secret Service is ALWAYS a big deal.  It is not about having a sense of humor (I have one.  I swear!).  It is about respecting the fact that our protectors have enough rough waters to navigate without any more people making waves.

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Measure Twice, Chalk’s Outline, and other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

image1Cyprus Keller wants a future.
Jackson Channing has a past.
Robert Chalk has a rifle and a mission.  Kill Cyprus Keller and anyone who gets in his way.

 

An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.

cropped-measure-twice-750-x-1200-jpeg.jpg

Also:

In the Pittsburgh Marathon, more than 18,000 people will participate. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn’t their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment. One man is going to be murdered.  When Dr. Cyprus Keller lines up to start the race, he knows a man is going to die for one simple reason. He’s going to kill him.

resolve-cover art CL (1)

Finalist – 2014 International Thriller Writers Awards – Best First Novel
Named one of the BEST BOOKS of 2013 by Suspense Magazine!
Top Ten Books of the Year – Authors on the Air

 And look for my short story FOUR DAYS FOREVER in the LEGACY anthology

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Photographer Gets Slammed: A Tale of Context


So, did you see that Secret Service agent slam that photographer to the floor during a Trump rally? It was pretty brutal to watch. In fact, I must have viewed a dozen news articles showing the agent throw the photographer to the ground. Most of the stories ran with the narrative that the agent “attacked” the photographer without cause and absent any provocation. Shocking. Truly shocking.

But, then I dug a little deeper. Within twenty minutes I located a video clip that was not being posted by major news outlets. The funny thing was that it appeared most of the news outlets were using a video recorded by the same person who also recorded the clip below. However, the clip below did not go with the narrative, and was therefore ignored.

Here is a video of the photographer, who has pushed outside of the media area, pressing against the agent while cursing at him. Keep in mind, the Secret Service does not work for Donald Trump (who I happen to believe is a deplorable human being). They work for the United States government and are simply trying to make sure they can repel an attack on a protectee. Here is a clip filmed prior to the physical confrontation:

Well… that’s different.

This video contradicts the photographer’s initial claims that he had done nothing more than left the designated media area. However, even as a former Secret Service agent, I cringed when I saw the level of force used by the agent. But, there are a few things to keep in mind.

• At the time of the incident, a large group of protesters were yelling and marching around the venue. This creates stress, chaos, and can be viewed as an intentional or unintentional diversion for an attack. Security professionals immediately go on high alert when something like this occurs.

• In the video of the photographer cursing at the agent, you cannot see the photographer’s hands. At a minimum, the photographer appears to be resisting the agent’s attempts to push him back from the restricted area. However, I’ve been in situations like this where an individual was pushing, shoving, grabbing, and even punching me in the stomach, yet few in a crowd could see this happening. At an Inaugural parade, a local businessman flung an umbrella at me after holding it over our heads. At the opening of the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C., a man who was angry that he could not enter the memorial immediately punched me in the stomach. While these assaults happened in the midst of thousands of people, virtually nobody saw them happen. But, I have little doubt that EVERYBODY would have noticed if I would have reacted with a high level of physical force. That’s the way it happens. Even in a football game, it’s the player who retaliates that usually gets the penalty flag thrown on him.

“So, the photographer may have pushed the agent a bit? The agent threw him down!” you might say. Sure. It may have been extreme. But, do you know what I would have been thinking if the photographer’s hands were on my torso? I would have been thinking that the man’s hands were inches away from my firearm and that this possible diversion needs to be dealt with immediately.

There are situations where calm, slow mediation is appropriate. A chaotic situation when you’re protecting one of the most controversial and polarizing Presidential candidates in history is NOT one of those situations. Again, I don’t know if the level of force used by the agent was appropriate. But, I sure as hell am not going to make that call based on a series of fast-moving, out-of-context video clips.

Now, more than ever, it is important to view stories like this with a critical eye. The media has a habit of taking incidents like this and capitalizing on them in order to gain readers and viewers. In this case, the implication was that the Secret Service was acting as one of “Trump’s thugs” which is simply not the case, as I’ve explained before. This was likely a case in which both parties could have done things differently and hundreds of witnesses and just as many cameras failed to capture the entire story.

The truth usually extends way beyond a ten second video recorded on a cell phone.

Feel free to comment below!

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Measure Twice, Chalk’s Outline, and other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

image1Cyprus Keller wants a future.
Jackson Channing has a past.
Robert Chalk has a rifle and a mission.  Kill Cyprus Keller and anyone who gets in his way.

2014

An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.

cropped-measure-twice-750-x-1200-jpeg.jpg

Also:

In the Pittsburgh Marathon, more than 18,000 people will participate. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn’t their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment. One man is going to be murdered.  When Dr. Cyprus Keller lines up to start the race, he knows a man is going to die for one simple reason. He’s going to kill him.

resolve-cover art CL (1)

Finalist – 2014 International Thriller Writers Awards – Best First Novel
Named one of the BEST BOOKS of 2013 by Suspense Magazine!
Top Ten Books of the Year – Authors on the Air

 And look for my short story FOUR DAYS FOREVER in the LEGACY anthology

 

 

 

Protective Neutrality: The Secret Service and Political Viewpoints

A lot of things have made me cringe during this election year, but one misconception that tends to make me shake my head in disbelief is that a President or Presidential candidate is surrounded by a group of Secret Service agents who support a particular platform and remove protestors from events. This simply is not the case and for good reasons. In this post, I will attempt to dispel a few myths and explain why those who bravely serve in the United States Secret Service do not allow personal beliefs to factor into the way the job is performed.

 

What President did you report to?

I’ve been asked that question multiple times by people who mean well enough but do not understand how the United States Secret Service functions. I served in the agency from 2000 to the end of 2006 and at no time did I report to any President, Vice President, candidate, or any other individual who was designated to receive Secret Service protection (a protectee). I started my career during the Clinton administration and finished it during the administration of George W. Bush. During that span, I helped to protect individuals associated with both of those administrations as well as countless visiting foreign heads of state. My colleagues and I approached the job in the same manner regardless if the protectee was a Republican, a Democrat, the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or the President of Micronesia.

A misconception held by some is that Secret Service agents work for the President.

A misconception held by some is that Secret Service agents work for the President.

Agents report through the Secret Service’s chain of command and not to any politician. This is logical since elected politicians come and go, but the agency is a permanent fixture. Agents are trained to follow procedures that ensure the rights of individuals are respected while threats are addressed using the minimum amount of force. For agents to take orders from protectees who may not be familiar with specific policies, use of force regulations, and federal statutes, would be risky for all involved. Not only would it be unfair to expect a protectee to understand the intricacies of protective operations, but visiting heads of state could not possibly be expected to be familiar with laws in the United States. Thus, agents do not work for, or report to, anybody they are assigned to protect.

 

Why did the USSS remove that protestor?

First of all, please note the proper abbreviation for the agency is USSS, not SS. The abbreviation “SS” has a negative connotation to it from the days of Nazi Germany and there are already enough people out there who misunderstand the role of the USSS.  Let’s not make things any tougher for the agency.

As for why the USSS removed a protestor: The chances are they did not. Agents do not remove protestors unless they potentially pose a physical threat to the protectee. Time and time again, we have seen news clips of protestors being removed from events and sometimes those removing the individuals are wearing suits and earpieces. Usually, those individuals are event or campaign staff members who have asked the individual to leave and then removed the person for trespassing once the protestor failed to depart. Just as if you hosted a party in a large banquet room for which you paid and decided you wanted somebody removed, political committees and event hosts can do the same thing. Most of the time, the protestor is being removed for violating some local statute such as trespassing, disorderly conduct, or disturbing the peace. You may disagree in the legality of this process, but I am only pointing out that the Secret Service does not get involved in these matters as the main focus of the agents is, and should be, the welfare of the protectee.

 

How could you possibly protect someone who believes ________?

Can you imagine the nightmare that would ensue if Secret Service agents started deciding what viewpoints warranted protection? It would be similar to having individual police officers decide they are not going to enforce any laws with which they disagree. The result would be pure chaos.

Protecting the President and the White House is only one duty of the USSS.

Protecting the President and the White House is only one duty of the USSS.

Look. Here is the bottom line. The Secret Service is in the business of protecting lives, not assessing a value to those lives. Perhaps you think some lives are not worth protecting and that is your prerogative. However, every successful assassination makes a future assassination seem more feasible in someone’s mind. If we cannot protect world leaders in the United States, a place where we place a great deal of emphasis on freedom of expression, then it becomes open season on leaders everywhere. Aside from all this, when an attack occurs, agents react according to their training. The practiced reactions become reflexes and when decisive action is needed the last thing an agent is thinking about is the protectee’s stance on abortion. How reflexive are these reactions?  Allow me to give a real life example.

A few years ago, I was with a protectee at a baseball game which was in a rain delay. A storm with strong wind gusts had forced the spectators into the crowded concourse area and the protectee decided to walk around the concrete walkways. Suddenly, a deafening “bang” rang out from behind us. Without any hesitation, I draped myself over the back of the protectee and began moving her toward the motorcade.

Of course, it took me a few seconds to remember I had not been an agent for quite a while and the “protectee” was actually my wife who was wondering why she was being forcibly abducted by her own spouse. But, it was a learning experience for me. I discovered that the reactions that had been engrained in me were still present and that a portable concession stand toppling over onto concrete sounds a lot like a gunshot. Seriously. The similarity is uncanny.

My point is that agents react according to the hundreds of hours they have spent training to ward off an attack. To train people to step into the line of fire instead of jumping behind cover is incredibly difficult and once the training is instilled in an individual, it does not simply fade away (as many Pittsburgh Pirates fans now realize after watching me accost my wife).

So this election year, please remember that not everything is political. Although Secret Service agents are thoughtful individuals  who certainly have their own political viewpoints, those opinions vanish when it is time to go to work. The apolitical nature of the job is actually refreshing when you stop to think about it.

Imagine what it would be like if more people focused on doing their jobs and upholding their oaths regardless of personal ideology. Not only would we be incredibly efficient, but we would all be considerably safer from rouge concession stands.

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Measure Twice, Chalk’s Outline, and other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

image1Cyprus Keller wants a future.
Jackson Channing has a past.
Robert Chalk has a rifle and a mission.  Kill Cyprus Keller and anyone who gets in his way.

2014

An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.

cropped-measure-twice-750-x-1200-jpeg.jpg

Also:

In the Pittsburgh Marathon, more than 18,000 people will participate. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn’t their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment. One man is going to be murdered.  When Dr. Cyprus Keller lines up to start the race, he knows a man is going to die for one simple reason. He’s going to kill him.

resolve-cover art CL (1)

Finalist – 2014 International Thriller Writers Awards – Best First Novel
Named one of the BEST BOOKS of 2013 by Suspense Magazine!
Top Ten Books of the Year – Authors on the Air

 And look for my short story FOUR DAYS FOREVER in the LEGACY anthology

Legacy cover

How Pitching a Novel Is Like Being in the Secret Service

For seven years, I had the pleasure of being a Special Agent with the United States Secret Service. During that time, I conducted a variety of criminal investigations involving counterfeiting, check fraud, wire fraud, and even cell phone cloning. However, much of what I did included the duties that most people associate with the agency – protection. For more than four of my seven years with the USSS, I was based in Washington D.C. which is not only our nation’s capital, but the protection capital of the world. I learned many lessons while working assignments protecting the President, Vice President, and visiting heads of state. One of those lessons was that most protection assignments involve common factors. Those factors are:

  • Standing
  • Waiting
  • Uncertainty
  • Risk
  • Being Ready to React
  • Periods of Discomfort
  • Relief When it’s Over

Currently, I’m a crime fiction writer and I was lucky enough to have found some success, particularly with my first novel, RESOLVE, which was a Thriller Awards finalist in 2014. The Thriller Awards are hosted by the International Thriller Writers (ITW) organization, a group to which I happen to belong. Each year, they host a wonderful conference called Thrillerfest and a component of that event is called Pitchfest. Pitchfest is an opportunity for writers to make a verbal pitch to literary agents in the hopes that the agent will request to see your latest manuscript and subsequently wish to represent you. As my previous agent closed up shop, I decided to take my latest work to Pitchfest in an effort to land an agent.

Approximately 50 literary agents and some publishers were set up among several rooms at the Grand Hyatt in Manhattan. Writers flooded the rooms, lined up, and pitched to whatever agents were partial to their particular genre or writing style. As the event went on, I discovered several things were involved in working my way through Pitchfest.  Such as:

  • Standing
  • Waiting
  • Uncertainty
  • Risk
  • Being Ready to React
  • Periods of Discomfort
  • Relief When It’s Over

Sound familiar?

ITW does an outstanding job of organizing the event, but by its nature, one will be standing for long periods of time. The event is over two hours long, and it would be impossible to get the opportunity to speak to every agent (nor would you want to since some would not represent your type of manuscript). So, a great deal of time is spent standing and waiting.
I’m fairly certain none of the literary agents had plans to put a bullet in my chest, but I discovered there was a certain amount of risk involved.

Knowing you will only get to speak to eight or nine agents, you have to have a strategy and do a risk assessment to determine how to get to your high-priority representatives. While there is an inherent amount of uncertainty in the process, you can better your odds by having a solid plan and avoiding going down the wrong path.  For instance, if you write paranormal and you make a poor decision by standing in line for an agent who is not looking for paranormal manuscripts, then you have wasted a huge amount of time that could have been used to approach someone who loves paranormal novels.

You have to be able to react on a moment’s notice. Perhaps you are in a long line and you suddenly notice an agent on your priority list has a much shorter line. You may have to jump ship and bolt across the room. Additionally, some agents will ask you questions about your book. One would be wise to be able to answer questions about something he or she wrote. This is why, just as in law enforcement, preparation and training are the keys to success. Hopefully, you have spent weeks preparing for multiple contingencies and have trained yourself to answer questions about yourself and your writing.

Hey, dozens – if not hundreds – of people are stuffed into these rooms. Air conditioning can only do so much and there will be some discomfort. Nervous writers are sometimes shoulder to shoulder with each other and everyone is talking. It’s hot and nobody wants to take a break, out of fear of missing out on talking to a great agent. Many writers (like me) dress up a little for the occasion, which means a sport coat or suit jacket. If I would have added a ballistic vest under the dress shirt, it would have been déjà vu all over again.

Few things felt better than when I’d watch Air Force One take off. Someone on the radio would say the words, “Wheels Up” and I’d know I’d done all I could have and now I could let my guard down a little. I had the same feeling at the end of Pitchfest. I’d performed as well as I could and nobody died (I think). Assuming some of the agents asked for samples of your work, it could still be weeks or months before you find out if one wants to represent you and take your manuscript to various publishers. But, you have to allow yourself a moment of relief. You can’t put the gas pedal to the floor all of the time. Maybe that’s why ITW gives you tickets for two free drinks to use at a reception the evening after Pitchfest.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Writers of all levels – from first-time novelists to madly famous authors – mingle about and enjoy the company. For a couple of hours, hundreds of people with incredibly creative minds come together to talk about anything and everything.

If you look carefully, you will notice that those who took part in Pitchfest all have cloud bubbles above their heads. In that comic strip thought bubble, you’ll likely see two words: “Wheels Up”.

Have you attended Pitchfest, or a similar event? What are your thoughts?  Comment below!

 

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, Measure Twice, and other works. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

https://hensleybooks.wordpress.com
http://www.hensley-books.com
https://www.facebook.com/hensleybooks
https://www.goodreads.com/JJHensley
Twitter @JJHensleyauthor

AVAILABLE NOW!

An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.

cropped-measure-twice-750-x-1200-jpeg.jpg

Also:

In the Pittsburgh Marathon, more than 18,000 people will participate. 4,500 people will attempt to cover the full 26.2 miles. Over 200 of the participants will quit, realizing it just wasn’t their day. More than 100 will get injured and require medical treatment. One man is going to be murdered.  When Dr. Cyprus Keller lines up to start the race, he knows a man is going to die for one simple reason. He’s going to kill him.

Resolve

Finalist – 2014 International Thriller Writers Awards – Best First Novel
Named one of the BEST BOOKS of 2013 by Suspense Magazine!
Top Ten Books of the Year – Authors on the Air

 And look for my short story FOUR DAYS FOREVER in the LEGACY anthology

Legacy cover

 

That Time I Accidentally Helped David Baldacci with Book Research

Polygraphs and Paperwork

From 2002 – 2004, I was stationed at the Washington Field Office (WFO) as a Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.  I had started my career in 2000, arresting mostly counterfeiters in Richmond, VA.  Three years later I was a team leader in WFO, helping to supervise a squad that – among other things – conducted polygraph examinations.

Admittedly, this was not the most exciting task I was ever assigned.  Part of the squad conducted background investigations and the other part ran polygraph exams.  I wasn’t a trained polygraph examiner, so I pretty much left the examiners alone, other than to make sure their paperwork was correct and their travel orders were processed.  I admit that having been subjected to extensive employment/security polygraph exams in the past, part of my mind simply wanted to create some distance between me and those imposing machines that have a way of making the most innocent of individuals feel like they spent their youth on a killing spree.

guilty

Although I did not personally conduct the exams, I did have a good understanding of the methodology and, due to my position, knew when and where examinations were taking place.  Some of the exams were for criminal investigations, while many were conducted on applicants hoping to get into the Secret Service.  Regardless of the reason, or the level of innocence with the subject of the exam, the process is long and stressful.  Additionally, the information disclosed by the subject is often personal, sensitive, and should be handled with great care.  So, you never discuss the details with anybody.  Not friends.  Not family.

And never, EVER a bestselling novelist.

stop

 

“Hey, aren’t you that guy?”

During my time in D.C., I’d seen the occasional celebrity come through the office.  One moment that stands out in my memory is when a few high-level supervisors were escorting a rough-looking individual through the building.  The man was unshaven, his hair was a mess, and he was wearing a beat-up denim jacket and ripped jeans.  Part of my brain told me that he was a suspect, but the fact he was not handcuffed and was being led around by high-ranking supervisors made me look twice.  It turned out the man was Sean Penn and he was touring the office because he was researching his role as a Secret Service agent in the movie The Interpreter.  He was getting a lot of cooperation from the agency and it seemed most of management knew he was on site.  However, it turned out some celebrities were a little more low-key.

At some point in 2003, a female agent I had worked with a couple of times approached me outside my office.  She was new to the office, so I didn’t think twice as she asked me a few innocuous questions about the number of polygraph exams we ran in a week, the purpose of the exams, and some other basic administrative questions.  Fortunately I wasn’t very specific, because I hadn’t seen the man who was taking notes while standing behind her.  After I had finished spouting off some information, my colleague stepped aside and said, “J.J., I’d like you to meet David Baldacci.”  How in the world had I not seen him?  I was a trained observer!  Seriously, the man was like a ninja with a notebook.

file000375081883

Back then, I had absolutely no idea I’d become a crime novelist and I had never written a word of fiction.  However, I certainly knew of David Baldacci and had recently finished reading one of his novels.  I shook hands with Mr. Baldacci while asking myself several questions of my own.

What information had I revealed?

Had I revealed anything sensitive?

If I had disclosed anything sensitive, should I ask Baldacci to autograph my termination papers?

 

The Genesis of a Future Career?

As it turns out, I hadn’t said anything more than one could read in an official Secret Service brochure or find on the Internet.  After a few pleasantries, the female agent and Mr. Baldacci went on their way and I was left wondering if anything I had said would end up in a book someday.  Since then, I’ve read several of Baldacci’s novels and I can’t recall seeing anything about polygraphs… yet.

When my first novel Resolve was up for an award at this year’s Thrillerfest in New York City, I had hoped to see the famous writer (who I was sure would not remember our 30 second conversation) and ask him if he had ever used the information.  Unfortunately, he had left the day before and I never got a chance to ask him the questions or to tell him that a quick conversation in 2003 may have played an inspirational role in my becoming a crime novelist.

If nothing else, I learned that someday I wanted to have his ninja-like research skills so that one day someone may write a blog post about the way they accidentally helped me with my research.

Have you ever met a celebrity who left a lasting impression on you?  Comment below!

J.J. Hensley is the author of RESOLVE, which is set against the backdrop of the Pittsburgh Marathon, and Measure Twice. Hensley is a former police officer and former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service.

RESOLVE was a finalist for Best First Novel by the International Thriller Writers organization, was named one of the Best Books of 2013 by Suspense Magazine, and is one of Authors on the Air’s Best Books of the Year.

https://hensleybooks.wordpress.com
http://www.hensley-books.com
https://www.facebook.com/hensleybooks
https://www.goodreads.com/JJHensley
Twitter @JJHensleyauthor

AVAILABLE NOW!

An addict is killing Pittsburgh city officials, but Homicide Detective Jackson Channing has his own addiction.

Measure Twice 750 x 1200 jpeg