The Secret Service has, in the last year or so, taken quite a beating, and justifiably so, including on this scruffy little blog:
The decline of the once vaunted organization took place on Barack Obama’s watch, and appears to be one of many horrific messes he left behind for Donald Trump to clean up. It would appear that like virtually arm of government, Mr. Obama managed to politicize, perhaps even weaponize, the Secret Service, as The Washington Examinar reports:
Kerry O’Grady, the special agent in charge of the Secret Service’s Denver district, oversees coordination with Washington-based advance teams for all presidential candidate and presidential trips to the area, including all upcoming or future trips by the president, vice president or Trump administration officials.
Despite her senior security role, she has made her disdain for Trump and his incoming administration clear to her Facebook followers, who included current and former Secret Service agents and other people who were employees at the time of the posts. O’Grady’s posts triggered at least one complaint to the office that oversees investigations into Secret Service misbehavior, two knowledgeable sources told the Washington Examiner.
In one Facebook post O’Grady wrote at 11:07 p.m. on a Sunday in October, she endorsed Hillary Clinton and said she would endure ‘jail time’ rather than ‘taking a bullet’ for what she regarded as a ‘disaster’ for America.
In many respects, that’s the end of the story, or it should be. In its protective function—the Secret Service has other duties—the willingness to do whatever is necessary to protect those they are sworn to serve, including taking bullets, is the bare minimum qualification for any agent. It is not only a matter of honor, but a matter of necessity. What to do with an agent who cannot be trusted by the President to protect him or his family? What do fellow agents do with an agent they can’t trust to do their job when in matters most?
The post didn’t mention Trump by name but clearly referred to him.
In the same post, she mentioned the Hatch Act, which bars executive branch staff, except the president, vice president and some other senior executive officials, from engaging in certain political activities.
Secret Service employees are among those federal employees subject to enhanced Hatch Act restrictions, including these two rules:
May not post a comment to a blog or a social media site that advocates for or against a partisan political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group.
May not use any email account or social media to distribute, send or forward content that advocates for or against a partisan political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group.
Again, that would seem to be the end of the story. O’Grady, an SAIC, advocated for a partisan political party/candidate. This is a far more serious matter than if such actions were taken by a agent just out of training. O’Grady is expected not only to set the standard to which the agents under her are expected to perform, but to supervise them and render appropriate discipline when they do the sort of thing she has done.
In a lengthy interview with the Washington Examiner Monday, O’Grady said she took down the post after two to three days of greater reflection and wasn’t trying to imply she wouldn’t take a bullet for Trump or any officials in the Trump administration.
‘It was an internal struggle for me but as soon as I put it up, I thought it was not the sentiment that I needed to share because I care very deeply about the mission,’ she said.
O’Grady repeatedly stressed that she would in no way shirk her duties to protect the president because of her opposition to Trump’s candidacy and support for Clinton.
‘No, not at all. I firmly believe in this job. I’m proud to do it and we serve the office of the president,’ she said.
Hmm. “I would take jail time over a bullet or an endorsement for what I believe to be disaster to this country.” “I am with her.” Are you, gentle readers, experiencing cognitive dissonance?
O’Grady’s negative stance regarding Trump did not end when he became president.
O’Grady posted the logo for the Women’s March on Denver as her Facebook cover backdrop on Inauguration Day, Friday, Jan. 21 at 12:25 p.m.
When one of her Facebook followers commented that ‘none of these women represent me #justsayin,’ O’Grady countered that ‘all of these women represent me! Proud to say it! #nasty.’ That back and forth, captured in a screengrab of the post, no longer appears on O’Grady’s Facebook page.
No. I suppose not. But if O’Grady is all about the mission, why was that posted in the first place? And if she has done nothing wrong, why was it necessary to take it down? Surely O’Grady thought that enough?
At 11:23 p.m. on Inauguration Day, she updated her profile picture to an artist’s rendering of Princess Leia with the words, ‘A woman’s place is in the resistance.’ ‘The resistance,’ with its allusion to the rebels in the ‘Star Wars’ movies, has become a moniker for those opposing Trump’s presidency.
Those posts remained on O’Grady’s Facebook page as of Monday afternoon. She took the posts down after her interview with the Washington Examiner and replaced them with a backdrop of a snowy scene and a smiling photo of herself sporting ski gear.
Well. Surely she learned her lesson after that…?
In another pre-election post that no longer appears on her Facebook page, O’Grady shared a Huffington Post story with the headline: ‘Scott Baio Defends Trump’s Sexism with More Sexism.’ She accompanied her Facebook post of the story with the words: ‘One word: douche. How do you like them apples?!’
In a post in late November, O’Grady shared Facebook remarks from the liberal news outlet Vox, which carried a photo of Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and a story with the headline, ‘Donald Trump nominates Jeff Sessions to serve as attorney general.’ The Vox Facebook post commented, ‘Just a few years ago, this would have been unimaginable.”
O’Grady added her own comment on the post: ‘We are moving our civil rights into a period of bigotry, misogyny and racism that this country has not tolerated for decades. Dark ages. I am horrified and dismayed beyond words.
Imagine the dismay of O’Grady’s fellow agents, and anyone for whom she is responsible. Secret Service agents must react within fractions of a second. There can be no doubt, no hesitation. Despite O’Grady’s claims to be all about the mission, she has injected massive doubt into the minds of those the Secret Service protects, and those fellow agents that depend of each other for their lives.
Is O’Grady representative of the politicization of every arm of government during the Obama years, or just an aberration? The multiple and dangerous failings of the Secret Service suggest she could be the tip of the iceberg. However, management seems to be providing at least the appearance of action, as this Washington Examiner story reports:
The Secret Service has placed the senior special agent who wrote a Facebook post decrying ‘taking a bullet’ for Trump on administrative leave while the agency investigates her social media activities.
An agency spokeswoman on Friday afternoon informed the Washington Examiner of the management action, which takes the agent off the job with pay while the investigation proceeds.
The move is a sign that the agency is taking the investigation against Kerry O’Grady, the agent who wrote the Facebook post, seriously. Critics, however, question why it took the agency three months and a report in the Washington Examiner earlier this week for it to initiate the probe. [skip]
The Secret Service said its Office of Professional Responsibility, or RES, its main internal ethics entity, is investigating the matter. Joseph Clancy, the director of the Secret Service, sent an email to all employees Wednesday night notifying them of the formal probe, and asking them for ‘patience while the RES conducts their investigation.
As I noted in a recent article, an attorney in the IRS Office of Professional responsibility stands accused of being a drug dealer. One might hope the parallel office in the Secret Service is a bit more—responsible.
It also seems that O’ Grady’s fellow agents, and their families, take this matter rather more seriously than Secret Service leadership, or at least more seriously than they believe the leadership will take it. Wnd.com reports:
The U.S. Secret Service agent who publicly stated she would rather face jail time than take a bullet for Donald Trump is now being targeted for termination by the spouses of her fellow agents.
The family members have posted an online petition addressed to Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy, calling for the agency to ‘act now and terminate [Special Agent in Charge] Kerry O’Grady from the duties she boldly stated she will not perform.’
‘This petition is to make known the sincere concerns that many special agents’ wives, loved ones and American citizens have with the written statements made by Kerry O’Grady regarding her unwillingness to conduct herself in a professional manner and to uphold the oath she willingly took 23 years ago,’ the petition states.
As family members of Special Agents that put their lives on the line every day for “the protective mission,” we are outraged by her lack of respect for her colleagues and those that find themselves under her command. She has lost all credibility with the agents, their families and the American people that pay her salary. US Secret Service agents are the defenders of democracy. They are ALL that stands between those who would harm our national leaders and they are sworn to defend the constitution, giving the ultimate sacrifice if necessary. Ms. O’Grady stated she will not defend our democracy. Her statements show an incredible lack of judgment that can not be tolerated so close to the heart of our government.
The men and women of the US Secret Service are to conduct themselves above reproach, in a constant professional manner to complete the mission, regardless of who the protectee is or their politics. Ms. O’Grady has publicly aligned herself with the worst in our society, those who wish to bring harm on our leaders.
Because of her statements and blatant disregard for her oath, we are asking that the US Secret Service terminate Ms. O’Grady of her duties effective immediately. She is no longer worthy of trust and confidence.
Oh my. Here one sees the devotion to duty and person honor so apparently lacking in O’Grady and apparently in some of the leadership of the Secret Service.
The petition went live Jan. 26, and as of Feb. 7, it has at least 770 signatures with a goal of 2,000.
Those commenting on the petition itself have strong sentiments against O’Grady, including:
She must be removed immediately from any and all positions involved with the various protection details. She could be moved to treasury, but if she is unwilling to do one part of her job, then she should be removed from government service immediately’ (Jeffrey Kneiblher, Satellite Beach, Florida).
No tolerance for a person who refuses to do their job, especially one who has sworn to protect our president at all costs!’ (Cindy Rettman, Annapolis, Maryland).
‘Fire O’Grady. If she states she won’t fulfill her obligations of employment, she definitely does not deserve a paycheck and time off. Just. Not. Right’ (Cheri Paul, Williamsburg, Virginia).
There is little I can add to those sentiments. One issue that may be problematic is the sheer number and depth of serious problems with the federal government may prevent Mr. Trump from promptly dealing with them. The damage wrought by Mr. Obama and his minions will be popping up for decades, and one can only hope those problems won’t cost too many lives.
In past articles, I marveled that Mr. Obama would allow the Secret Service, including those protecting the White House, to be so incompetent, but that apparently served his political needs and aligned with his progressive ideals. One can only hope Mr. Trump takes his personal safety, and that of his family, more seriously.
I can only say if I did what O’Grady has unquestionably done, I would expect to be fired. I would understand I had no defense.
But this is the federal government…