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High profile security branches make bad judgment decisions

Roger Caldwell

Roger Caldwell

High profile security branches make bad judgment decisions

By Roger Caldwell

      The Secret Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are expertly trained, and they do a great job protecting the president, political representatives, government officials and the country. But, in a huge bureaucracy with so many different moving parts, there are always certain members who break the laws, or make bad decisions.

In a statement, Rep. Jason Chafftz, R-Utah, chairmen of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md, the ranking member on the panel said “The fact that this event involved senior-level agents is not only embarrassing but exhibits a clear lack of judgment in a potentially dangerous situation. The Committee as a whole remains committed to restoring the integrity of this elite agency and improving accountability at all staff levels.”

The incident that they are referring to is last month when two senior Secret Service agents drove a government car into security barricades, a result of them drinking and partying. This was extremely embarrassing to Joe Clancy, the new director of the Secret Service, who was appointed by the president to clean up the recent high profile security breaches.

Last September, a man scaled the fence around the residence and entered the White House while carrying a knife. In one case there were reports of supervisors sending sexually suggestive email to a subordinate, and in another case, several agents were recalled from the Netherlands where they used an advance trip as an excuse to drink so much they reportedly passed out in a hotel hallway.

Recently, there was a report published by the inspector general that claims the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are patronizing prostitutes and frequenting brothels while in an overseas posting. According to the report, 10 agents, an assistant regional director and nine special agents had alleged sex parties “at government-leased headquarters” and three of the special agents were provided money, expansive gifts, and weapons from drug cartel members.

At times, it appears that many of our security agents operate without integrity, and prefer to party than do their job. In many of the countries, prostitution is legal, and the agents have a daily allowance with disposable income. Agents are away from home and they know how to have a good time, and keep their actions secret.

There are systemic problems in all the high profile security branches, and to begin change, the different organizations must start with transparency. Drinking, partying, and patronizing prostitutes is standard operating procedures in all the agencies. The inspector general report investigated allegations of sexual misconduct between the dates of October 2008 to September 2012. Everyone can act surprised, or the Department of Justice can get engaged and ensure a zero tolerance policy toward sexual and drinking misconduct is enforced.

Director Clancy will not be able to correct the massive problems in the Secret Service without cooperation and partnership from the other security branches. These problems are systemic to the internal operating procedures in all the security branches, and senior officers and directors must first clean up their acts.

There is something wrong with a system when two agents are caught driving a government vehicle intoxicated, and are not booked and taken to jail. Instead, they are reassigned to non-supervisory assignments and the incident is swept under the rug. The security branches protect their own members, and once you are in, no one speaks about the misconduct of agents.

Transparency, integrity, and honesty are the start of changing systemic problems where everyone looks the other way. The entire country is entrusting these agencies with the security of our nation, and they must exhibit clear judgment in stressful and dangerous situations.





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