Carol Leonnig - "Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service" - Andrea Mitchell

Thursday, June 3, 2021 - 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Carol Leonnig

Carol Leonnig will discuss Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service. She will be joined in conversation by Andrea Mitchell.

Presented in partnership with Chicago Humanities Festival

Virtual event


About the book: The Secret Service was born in 1865, in the wake of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, but its story begins in earnest in 1963, with the death of John F. Kennedy. Shocked into reform by their failure to protect the president on that fateful day, this once-sleepy agency was rapidly transformed into a proud, elite unit that would finally redeem themselves in 1981 by valiantly thwarting an assassination attempt against Ronald Reagan. But this reputation for courage and efficiency would not last forever. By Barack Obama’s presidency, the Secret Service was becoming notorious for not averting break-ins at the White House, an armed gunman firing at the building while agents stood by, a massive prostitution scandal in Cartagena, and many other dangerous lapses. To expose these shortcomings, Leonnig interviewed countless current and former agents and whistleblowers who risked their careers to speak to her about an agency that’s broken and in desperate need of a reform.

About the author: Carol Leonnig is a national investigative reporter at The Washington Post, where she has worked since 2000. A three-time Pulitzer Prize winner and co-author of the #1 New York Times bestseller A Very Stable Genius, Leonnig is also an on-air contributor to NBC News and MSNBC. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and two children.

About the interlocutor: Andrea Mitchell, the veteran chief foreign affairs correspondent and chief Washington correspondent for NBC News, is also the host of Andrea Mitchell Reports on MSNBC and appears regularly on NBC Nightly NewsTODAY, and Meet the Press. Since joining NBC News in 1978, Mitchell has covered seven presidential administrations. In Nov. 2019, she co-moderated the fifth Democratic presidential debate in Atlanta, GA. Mitchell's extensive reports over the years include all of the Reagan/Gorbachev arms control summits, a series of exclusive interviews with Cuba's late President Fidel Castro, coverage of the diplomatic normalization with Havana, the Iran nuclear negotiations, conflicts in Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo as well as assignments in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Israel and the Palestinian territories. She has also covered every presidential campaign for NBC News since 1980, and was the lead correspondent assigned to Hillary Clinton throughout 2016. She has been honored for her distinguished reporting, receiving the lifetime achievement award at the 40th News & Documentary Emmy Awards, the Los Angeles Press Club’s Joseph M. Quinn Lifetime Achievement Award, The International Radio & Television Society Foundation’s Giant of Broadcasting & Electronic Arts Honor and the International Women’s Media Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award. A native of New York, she received a B.A. degree in English literature from the University of Pennsylvania.

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