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Monday, September 22, 2014

Are standards slipping in the American Secret Service?

If you posed the question as to a fall in standards in the secret service in Britain you would be told that it was a secret. Fortunately for news editors with papers to fill, America is a bit more open.

Thus today's Independent reports on a growing scandal amongst the elite officers who are charged with protecting the President of the USA. Apparently, many are being distracted from doing the job they are paid for.

The paper says that late last Friday a man jumped the fence separating the executive mansion from Pennsylvania Avenue, dashed unimpeded across the lawn to the North Portico and made it through the front door. It seems that no one had thought to lock it. And this has not been the only lapse since the Obamas moved into number 1600:

Recall the “Cartagena Prostitute Scandal” when 13 Secret Service members, dispatched to the Colombian coastal city in early 2012 to prepare for the arrival of Mr Obama a few days later for a regional summit, allegedly got carried away in a downtown club and later availed themselves of some of the finest in local professional sexual services in the privacy of their hotel rooms. Only three returned to work after a red-faced internal investigation.

Something also went awry when three Secret Service agents were sent home in disgrace from the Netherlands in March this year after a night of alleged drinking. One of the trio – all remain on administrative leave – was found passed out on a hotel hallway floor. And in May this year reports surfaced of agents – who were meant to be watching the perimeter of the White House – were assigned to keep an eye on a friend of the then director of the Secret Service who was being harassed by a neighbour. In Maryland.

The men and women who work in the American Secret Service are only human after all, but that will be no comfort for a president who relies on them for his onw safety.

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