Larry Newman was a young and relatively inexperienced Secret Service agent when he was assigned to the Presidential detail in 1961. Newman’s time with Kennedy and his recollections, thoughts, and observations about protecting Kennedy are covered in detail in Seymour Hersh’s book The Dark Side of Camelot.
larry Newman, who joined the Service in 1960, was sent as his first major assignment, to Seattle with experienced agent Clint Hill. The President was staying at the Olympic Hotel and after his speech Kennedy returned with his aides to the hotel that with the help of the Seattle police had been effectively sealed off.
Newman recalls that he was unaware of JFK’s proclivities and that night stopped a local sheriff and some local police who exited the elevator being guarded by Newman with two hookers. Loudly proclaiming that the girls were for the President, the Sheriff insisted that he be let through.
Soon the commotion drew aide Dave Powers out of the suite and he thanked the Sheriff and escorted the two women who had not been searched or cleared by the Agents into the President’s room. Before leaving, the Sheriff warned the hookers that if their Presidential visit ever got leaked, he would see to it that they were committed to Stillicoom, a state mental hospital.
Larry Newman in the interview for the book, later recalled that he was embarrassed and uncomfortable but realized quickly that this would be a routine for JFK when he was on the road. The Secret Service agents were told by Dave Powers and others not to interfere.
On a personal level, Newman reported that he and the other agents in detail liked Kennedy and appreciated the fact that he was informal and approachable with them and that he took the trouble to learn their names and follow along with their lives. They blamed Kennedy’s aides for not being “better friends” to President when he encouraged this bad behavior.
Larry Newman and the agents did not judge Kennedy for his behavior but worried constantly about the security threat his nocturnal visitors posed. Said Newman, “We often joked we couldn’t even protect the president from getting a venereal disease.”