Wednesday, March 26, 2014

US: Senate Homeland Security Committee Chair Flags Concern with Drunken Secret Service Agents

According to The Associated Press, Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee said Wednesday (March 26) that he's very concerned that a drunken  Secret Service agent was involved with President Barack Obama's overseas trip to The Netherlands.

On Sunday (March 23) the Service re-called three agents home from the Netherlands just before Obama's arrival for talks with foreign leaders in The Hague. One agent was found inebriated inside a hotel.

The latest embarrassing incident involving a drunken Secret Service agent comes a year into the term of a new agency director who already has been confronted with a handful of incidents since the Colombia prostitution scandal nearly two years ago. 

In that incident, thirteen agents and officers were accused of partying with female foreign nationals at a Cartagena hotel where they were staying prior to the President's arrival.

Since then, the agency banned drinking alcohol fewer than 10 hours before a shift, and said alcohol may only be consumed in moderate amounts on foreign trips.

COMMENT: Obama named Julia Pierson as the agency's first female director last March as an indicator that he wanted to change the agency's culture and restore public confidence in its operations. 

Since then, Pierson has had to face some misbehavior on the elite service, which is charged with protecting the president and investigating financial fraud.

In November 2013, two Secret Service agents were removed from the Presidential detail after one was allegedly discovered trying to re-enter a woman's hotel room because he left a bullet from his weapon behind. 

In a subsequent probe, investigators came across sexually suggestive emails that the agent and another supervisor had sent to a female subordinate, THE WASHINGTON POST reported.

Director Pierson said in a letter to former Acting Inspector General Charles Edwards that, while the agency agreed with the report's 14 recommendations, she was concerned about how the survey was conducted and its results.

Director Pierson served three years in the Orlando Police Department, patroling the northeastern section of Orlando. She was one of the first female OPD officers assigned to a pedestrian beat.  

She joined the US Secret Service in 1984 as a special agent. She served in the Miami Field Office from 1984 to 1985 and the Orlando Field Office from 1985 to 1988. Pierson served as deputy assistant director of the Office of Protective Operations from 2005 to 2006, deputy assistant director of the Office of Administration from 2001 to 2005, and special agent in charge of the Office of Protective Operations 2000 to 2001). She served on the presidential protective details (PPDs) of Presidents George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. 

From 2008 to her appointment as director, Pierson served as the chief of staff and the assistant director of the Office of Human Resources and Training for the Secret Service.