Dan Bongino, a former Secret Service agent turned author, is controversial simply because his former gig doesn't usually lead to the current one.
After protecting American presidents for 12 years, Bongino left the service and penned "Life Inside the Bubble," which points fingers at an overzealous federal government and is critical of the Obama administration. That being said, Bongino will still defend President Obama -- against a birther.
"Yeah, unfortunately, it's not true," Bongino said when an audience member confronted him Monday at the Heritage Foundation and insisted President Obama was born outside the U.S. "Listen, the President of the United States was born -- the President of the United States was born in the United States -- I can't argue with you about that," he continued, during a midday talk at the conservative think tank about his book.
While Bongino has embraced right-of-center politics, running as a Republican in a long-shot U.S. Senate bid in 2012 to unseat Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., he's previously stated that his book isn't anti-Obama. "The book is neither a 'tell-all' nor a personal attack on President Obama. Rather, the book is very complimentary of President Obama, his family and all of the presidents I put my life on the line to serve," Bongino wrote in the Washington Post in response to lobbyist Ed Rogers encouraging Republicans to boycott the tome, saying that a Secret Service member should never speak out. "The book is an attack on a Washington culture that has left families like mine behind, while enriching insiders and connected cronies like Rogers," Bongino added.
At Heritage, besides Bongino's brief birther spat, Obama hardly came up by name at all. Instead, Bongino's focus was on all the bureaucracy and duplication found in the federal government. He talked about his law enforcement roots and why, these days, he's drawn to politics. Bongino plans to run for Congress again in 2014, this time in Maryland's 6th Congressional District. "I don't actually live in the district that I'm running out of," he admitted. "I will eventually."
He also talked about the price, financially, he's paid for speaking out. (Other Secret Service agents have been critical of the book too.)
"If you think you're going to make any money in books, I have news for you -- you're not -- write one because it's an ideological mission for you and use it as a vehicle for your cause, whatever it may be," he suggested. "But if you think you're going to write a book and get rich and make back the $3 million I left behind, you're out of your mind."