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credit: sltrib.com

I have, since October of 2014, been writing about the bizarre and seemingly never ending succession of monumental screw ups by the Secret Service. From patronizing foreign prostitutes, to letting potential killers into the White House, to publically repudiating every agent’s oath, we have now come full circle, back to patronizing prostitutes.

The latest revelation is from the Washington Post, which occasionally takes a few minutes from its busy schedule attacking President Trump to report on news. But first, here are links to the Secret Service series:

The Secret Service And Ebola: Seen Through Krystal Ball 

Can The Secret Service Be Fixed?

Can The Secret Service Be Fixed 2? 

Can The Secret Service Be Fixed 3?

Can The Secret Service Be Fixed 4?

Can The Secret Service Be Fixed 5?

Can The Secret Service Be Fixed 6? 

Can The Secret Service Be Fixed 7?

Can The Secret Service Be Fixed 8? 

And on to the WaPo:

A Secret Service agent on Vice President Pence’s detail has reportedly been suspended after meeting with a prostitute at a Maryland hotel. [skip]

A spokesman from the Secret Service confirmed in a statement to The Washington Post that the agency ‘is aware of an alleged incident involving an off-duty Secret Service employee.’

The employee was required to surrender all equipment and was placed on administrative leave, the spokesman said. The employee’s security clearance and access to all Secret Service facilities has also been suspended.

It would appear that the Secret Service’s hiring process has substantial holes in its assessment of psychological stability.

Police responded to a call from the Maryland hotel manager who became suspicious of activity in one of the rooms, CNN reported, citing multiple law enforcement sources. One source told CNN the agent was caught after police saw him exiting the hotel. This was not a sting, the source said.

The agent was arrested and charged with solicitation and later self-reported his arrest to the Secret Service, CNN reported.

‘The Secret Service takes allegations of criminal activity very seriously,’ the spokesman said in the statement. The incident is being investigated by the Office of Professional Responsibility, he said.

‘The Secret Service is committed to ensuring that all employees are held to the highest level of professional and ethical standards of conduct,’ the statement said.

Well, it’s good they take some criminal activity seriously. They don’t seem to care overmuch about trespassing. It should go without explanation why Secret Service agents patronizing prostitutes, even off-duty—why would I be unsurprised to learn this sort of thing might be happening on-duty?—is a problem, but let’s explore it a bit.

Among the most common, and successful, methods of recruitment used by foreign intelligence services is the “honey trap.” An American is lured into a compromising position—usually an actual position or positions, and always on film—with a prostitute, or a foreign intelligence agent acting as one, and are then blackmailed. The blackmail might be something small at first, merely turning over a seemingly unimportant document or a bit of relatively harmless information, but inevitably, as the American is reeled completely into the trap, they do as their blackmailers demand or face prison and ruin. The dangers of blackmail against a Secret Service agent are obvious. The mere fact an agent would so willingly put himself in a position to be compromised is in itself a disturbing matter. This would be bad enough if the agent were assigned to a regional office, but an agent working the vice-presidential detail? What worries me most is that little or nothing may be done in response to this incredible lapse of self-control and judgment, qualities one might think worthy in a Secret Service Agent.

He might be better off with them…

The incident echoed aspects of a scandal years ago that marred the agency’s reputation and prompted congressional hearings, investigations and vows from senior officials to curb a male-dominated culture of sexism and hard partying. The damaging scandal, reported extensively by The Post, stemmed from a night of heavy drinking in April 2012 in which male agents brought prostitutes back to their rooms in Cartagena, Colombia, during a presidential trip to the country. About a dozen agents were sent home from the trip for misconduct. Though prostitution was semi-legal where it occurred, it was still banned for Secret Service agents.

Then-Director Mark Sullivan apologized for the scandal but called it an anomaly.

Actually, considering the number and nature of public revelations, it would be entirely safe to believe there is far, far more, and far more serious lapses in professional conduct about which the public will never know. Anomaly, not so much, apparently, as this would suggest:

In May 2013, a senior supervisor in President Barack Obama’s security detail was accused of attempting to re-enter a woman’s room in the Hay-Adams Hotel in Washington after accidentally leaving behind a bullet from his service weapon. It later emerged that he and another officer also both sent sexually suggestive messages to a female subordinate. Officials removed one of the supervisors from his position and moved the other off the detail to a separate part of the division, The Post reported.

How does one accidently “leave behind a bullet from [one’s] service weapon”? What the hell was a Secret Service Agent doing removing a bullet from his handgun in the first place? No, on second thought, I don’t think I really want to know…

To close the last article in this series, I wrote:

Barack Obama had a pen and phone, but Donald Trump has a ‘you’re fired,’ and we know he knows how to use it. I rather wish he would.

I certainly don’t know everything Mr. Trump does about these inexplicable incidents, nor do I know what, if anything, he has done about it, but it seems obvious various lunatics and terrorists around the world are taking what would appear to be complete institutional and personal incompetence into account, and I rather suspect since Mr. Trump was elected, an unprecedented number of death threats have been pouring in. Were I him, I would consider the protection of my family, if not myself, a priority. I would not be surprised to find that Mr. Trump is maintaining a private security force. It’s hard to imagine why he has not, very publically, sent a variety of heads rolling.

The assassination of any American president would be a blow to American prestige and international authority from which we might never recover, and we’re already about as far from being respected as it is possible to be.  To paraphrase Casey Stengel: “Can’t anybody here do this job?”

Just another legacy of the Age of Obama?