Thursday, March 8, 2012

Former Secret Service agent goes from counterfeit currency to gourmet meals

By Nick Neely, News Reporter

“I am the best logistical officer the Secret Service has ever had,” Former Secret Service agent Michael Endicott said to a crowd of 57 people Monday.

Learning is ForEver invited Endicott to discuss his experiences serving various political figures, including holding the post of personal guard to President Nixon.

Learning is ForEver is a non-profit organization that offers educational classes for adults.

“Officially it’s age 50 and above, but invites anybody who is able and interested,” Program Coordinator Laura Stewart said.

Endicott’s lecture was divided into two hours. In the first hour, he discussed the formation of the Secret Service. The second hour was dedicated to Endicott’s own involvement in the Secret Service.

Endicott said the Secret Service, being a subdivision of the U.S. Treasury, enforced legislation regarding the Treasury in the late 1800s, when the service was formed.

“Somewhere between 30 percent to 75 percent of currency in circulation was counterfeit,” Endicott said, “That’s why we were created.”

Endicott said the Secret Service did not assume responsibility for protecting the president until 1901, after President Garfield was assassinated. Today, the Secret Service functions as part of Homeland Security and not only combats counterfeiting but also check frauds and bank robberies as well.

Endicott said the Secret Service’s greatest show of force was its investigation of the Teapot Dome Scandal of 1922.

“Anything to do with currency is the Secret Service,” Endicott said. “By 1973, they [the Secret Service] had gone from 300 people to 1,800.”

Endicott said the Secret Service’s budget then was $22 million. Now, it is well over $1 billion.

In the second portion of the lecture, Endicott discussed his time in the Secret Service as well as when he retired in order to personally serve Nixon.

Endicott now prepares gourmet dinners under the title “Eat Like A President in Your Home” and has raised $130,000 for schools, churches and community organizations according to the class program. He wrote a book about his experiences titled “Walking With Presidents: Stories From Insides The Perimeter.”

To thank PLU, Learning is ForEver allows students, staff and faculty to attend classes for free and offers a scholarship to PLU students, Stewart said.

“We’re grateful to have PLU allow us to use their facilities,” Stewart said.