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Friday, May 25, 2012

The Secret Service Scandal: The More We Know, The Worse It Gets

     Dania Londo Suarez, the prostitute who set off the Secret Service scandal in Cartagena, Columbia, in a 90-minute interview broadcast on Columbia radio and TV, said that after spending 5 hours with an agent at the Hotel Caribe, instead of getting $800 for her services, she barely got enough for cab fare. (Had she been paid in stimulus money, the government would have given her the $800, and bought her a car to get home.) According to the hooker, she met the agent in a Cartagena bar where most of the 10 agents with him were drunk. Although the trick (she didn't know his name) who took her back to his room (after making a condom stop) was only moderately intoxicated, the others "...bought alcohol like they were buying water."

     The prostitute told the Columbian interviewer that "If I had wanted to, I could have gone through all his documents, his wallet, his suitcase." She said that had she been so inclined, she could have compromised the security of the President of the United States. She related how the agent had refused to pay up even after she threatened to call the police. Calling these Secret Service Agents "bobos," Spanish for fools and idiots, she said, "Didn't they see the magnitude of the problem?" (No. And they still don't.)

     On May 23, 2012, Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan testified before a senate homeland security committee investigating the prostitution/security scandal. In his opening remarks, Sullivan apologized for the embarrassment, but assured the senators that what had happened last month in Columbia "is not representative of the agency's values, or the high ethical standards we demand from our nearly 7,000 employees." Several of the senators, however, were suspicious that this off-duty activity in Cartagena represented a culture within the secret service that tolerated this sort of behavior.

     In questioning the Secret Service director, Senator Susan Collins of Maine, pointed out that the agents didn't bother to disguise their identities, or the identities of the prostitutes. (They registered them, as required, as "house guests.") This suggested to the senator that the Columbian affair was not an isolated event. Senator Collins noted that "two of the participants were supervisors--one with 22 years of service, and the other with 21--and both were married. That surely sends a message to the rank and file that this kind of activity is tolerated on the road."

     In response to Senator Collin's skepticism, Director Sullivan said, "I do not think this is indicative. I just think that between the alcohol and, I don't know, the environment, these individuals did some really dumb things. And I just can't explain why." (That's exactly what we want in presidential protection, agents who do dumb things--bobos in paradise.)

     Director Sullivan, in the course of being grilled by Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, revealed that an internal secret service agency survey found that only 58-60 percent of its employees would report unethical conduct. When asked by the senator why these results were not a matter of grave concern, the director said, "We want to improve that number to 100 percent." (The next time this survey is conducted, secret service employees, pursuant to orders, will give the right answers--they will lie, and not report this unethical conduct.)

     As Director Sullivan struggled to restore the tarnished image of the Secret Service, 4 of the 8 agents fired over the prostitution scandal were fighting to get their jobs back. No kidding. These disgraced agents are not denying they hired hookers in Columbia. They are arguing that because the agency tacitly approved of these road trip antics, they, as scapegoats, have been wrongfully dismissed. This line of reasoning reminds me of cops in the 1960s and 70s fired for taking bribes who didn't understand why, in a department corrupt from the top brass down, they were being selectively sacrificed. To hear them tell it, if they hadn't taken bribes, they would have been drummed out of law enforcement. It was a bogus argument then, and a load of crap now.

     I'm pretty sure these secret service agents will remain fired, and more will follow them into private life, including Director Sullivan.   

2 comments:

  1. Jim,

    I bet they get their jobs back and with full pay. In dealing with FOP and other unions an arbitrator will rule in their favor. Where the agents will get f***ed is by their wives. The wives will go for a divorce, go after their pensions and money. That is where they will get theirs.

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  2. I think this is just a cover up- this president is not president material, period. Hasn't been and he is the most hated president I think the secret service found out about his anti american views early on and that is why they "had to go" and go with disgrace, even made up accusations.

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