It might be sort of hard to adequately guard the president while you’re drinking.
Secret Service Director Julia Pierson has demoted the supervisor of one of the agency’s largest divisions and reassigned nearly two dozen members of its staff, part of a broader cleanup effort of security in the wake of astonishing drinking incidents on two recent presidential trips according to three people familiar with the situation, according to the Washington Post.
While it is unknown why this has not always been a regulation of the Secret Service, new rules have been created that state they cannot consume alcohol for twelve hours before reporting for duty and 24 hours before the president’s arrival at a particular destination. This would seem to be common sense, but there have been some incidents that left the White House embarrassed and the president perhaps not adequately protected.
Five employees of the special operations division were named as participating in misconduct ahead of trips by President Obama last month to the Netherlands and South Florida. Frighteningly enough, these individuals are trained for unique protective roles such as counter-assault, emergency response and rooftop sniper teams, and are directly responsible for the safety of the president, the first lady, and their children.
Agency spokesman Ed Donovan was brief but to the point in his statement.
“Personnel are being reassigned as a result of staffing rotations and as a result of assessments made after two recent incidents of misconduct. Director Pierson maintains a zero-tolerance policy regarding incidents of misconduct and continues to evaluate the best human-capital practices and policies for the workforce.”
Donahue ordered the tighter drinking rules after news coverage of alcohol-fueled incidents involving his employees in the Florida Keys and the Netherlands last month, according to an official familiar with the protocols and employees, but Donahue was then removed as the supervisor in charge of the special agents.
A fifth secret service agent has decided to retire, according to the Washington Post. The assistant director in charge of training, who also headed President Obama’s protective detail, announced in recent weeks that he would retire, but it is not clear if this is due to the shakedown.
Acting Director Joseph P. Clancy on Tuesday informed the four assistant directors who oversee the Secret Service’s core missions of protection, investigations, technology, and public affairs that they must leave their posts within 30 days.
Acting Director Joseph P. Clancy said that change was good and needed.
“Change is necessary to gain a fresh perspective on how we conduct business. I am certain any of our senior executives will be productive and valued assets either in other positions at the Secret Service or the department.”
Would do you think, readers? Should these employees be “reassigned” or fired?
[Photo via Cliff Owen, AP]