September 03, 2002

PROBLEMS WITH THE SECRET SERVICE have been a long-term InstaPundit theme. More recently, U.S. News has been on this story, too, with a series of reports outlining various failings of personnel and management. Here's the latest. Excerpt:

Morale in the service is plummeting, many agents say, in part because of a widely perceived double standard. Agents who enjoy close relationships with Secret Service executives in Washington are given more favorable assignments and other treatment than those who don't, many in the service say. In the sometimes arcane parlance of the Secret Service, these agents have what is known as a "hook" with headquarters. The Secret Service has also had long-standing management difficulties with its Uniformed Division, the officers and technicians who are at the front line of defense at the White House and at foreign missions. They include members of the elite Counter Sniper teams, the Emergency Response Team, and the K-9 bomb squad units. Many of these officers complain of being treated as second-class citizens. . . .

The story is sobering. Question: If the Secret Service can't protect the White House adequately, why should we think a Department of Homeland Security can protect the whole nation? And if, as earlier incidents suggest, the Secret Service can't do its job with a proper attitude regarding individual rights, how can we trust less-elite entities?