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Why the Secret Service Sex Scandal Matters

The image of insecurity that the agents' recklessness projected to our enemies is damaging and dangerous.

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

April 17, 2012 - 6:16 pm
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And though the number was initially reported at five, now up to a dozen U.S. service members are also under investigation in the scandal for allegedly taking some of the women the Secret Service brought to the hotel. Members of that team included explosives experts and dog handlers, and at least one Army Green Beret.

The questions of a deeper cultural problem are valid simply for the fact that so many men were involved and nobody ratted out anyone: they were only discovered because one guy was being cheap.

“The Secret Service demands more from its employees and these expectations are met and exceeded every day by the vast majority of our workforce,” Morrissey said. “This incident is not reflective of the behavior of our personnel as they travel every day throughout the country and the world performing their duties in a dedicated, professional manner.”

The extent of that behavior, though, does need to be investigated because it leads to that massive breach in the airtight security the Secret Service is supposed to be providing.

When agents are drunk, boasting of a cool covert job, and hiring ladies of the night, you never know what’s going to come into that agent’s room — and what wrench can be thrown into the U.S. security apparatus.

Once overrun by drug cartels, Colombia has battled back to the extent that it can now welcome foreign tourists. That war is far from over, though, and cartels throughout Latin America have been courted by nefarious elements that seek better positioning at America’s doorstep: Iran and Hezbollah.

And leftist rebels, though hobbled over the years, still wage war on the government, take hostages, and conduct bombings. Four bombs went off in Cartagena to mark the opening of the Summit of the Americas, though none were close enough to endanger the leaders.

The agents were in a dangerous part of the world, yet acted as if no lives depended upon their recklessness.

The White House stressed yet again today that it is waiting for the investigation to run its course, though Obama said in Colombia that he’ll be “angry” if the allegations are found to be true.

Press secretary Jay Carney also said that the president has “confidence” in Sullivan, lauding how he “acted swiftly in response to this incident and is overseeing an investigation that obviously needs to be conducted.”

“The Secret Service performs admirably in its number-one mission, which is to protect the president of the United States, to protect the family of the president, to protect those who travel with him or her,” Carney said. “That has been the case for this president’s predecessors and their families. And the president, as he said in Cartagena, feels very strongly that the work the Secret Service does, the men and women who protect him and his family, and those of us who work with him, is exemplary as a rule.”

“And they put their lives on the line, and it’s a very, very difficult job,” he added. “And he acknowledges that and appreciates it.”

Reform — and determination of how far these flaws extend into other critical agencies — needs to be the result of this fiasco, as the weaknesses of the U.S. security apparatus aired for the world to see only empower those with the goal of striking at American targets.

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Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.
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