"Scandal highlights lack of women in Secret Service; Some argue more women may mean less bad behavior" by Eric Tucker | Associated Press, April 29, 2012
WASHINGTON - Secret Service agents are often portrayed in popular culture as disciplined, unflappable, loyal - and male. A spiraling prostitution scandal that has highlighted the dearth of women in the agency that protects the president and dignitaries has many wondering: Would more females in the ranks prevent future dishonor?
Only about a tenth of field agents and uniformed officers are women, a shortage some attribute to travel demands that can be especially taxing on women balancing families and careers. A scandal that risks portraying the agency as unfriendly to women, however, could set back efforts to close the gender gap.
“I can’t help but think that there would be some progress if there was more diversity and if there were more women that were there,’’ said Representative Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “When you have a diversity of people there, it brings more accountability.’’
The agency has aggressively recruited women, targeting female-oriented career fairs and sending brochures to colleges....
But that wasn’t easy even before the prostitution embarrassment in Colombia, which arose the morning of April 12 when a Secret Service officer and a prostitute publicly argued over payment in a hotel hallway. A dozen Secret Service employees and a dozen military personnel have been implicated. Although Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said it appeared to be isolated, the agency has since confirmed it’s investigating if employees hired prostitutes and strippers ahead of President Obama’s visit to El Salvador last year.
Why does government have to lie about every damn thing?
The agency on Friday also announced stricter measures, including assigning chaperones on some trips to enforce new rules of conduct.
What is this, high school? Taxpayers are going to be paying for this?
Also see: Secret Service toughens agent conduct rules
Paige Pinson, 45, spent 15 years with the agency, and her father, W. Ralph Basham, is a former director. She said it wasn’t the culture that encouraged her to forego her agent’s position. After all, male agents were loyal to each other and fiercely protective of her. It was, instead, the birth of her first child that inspired her to seek a less travel-intensive analyst’s position.
“You do miss birthdays, you do miss Christmas, and you miss piano recitals,’’ Pinson said, “and maybe women are just more sensitive to that than men can be.’’
I'm tired of the sexism, aren't you?
The agency enjoys vaunted prestige in American popular culture, but the rigors of a protective detail - jet-setting the globe at a moment’s notice to protect a dignitary, being on-call around the clock - isn’t for everyone. It’s the type of full-bore commitment that leads to canceled vacations and blown-off family obligations, an occasional workaday drudgery that, former agents say, can distinguish the Secret Service from other law enforcement agencies.
Thank you, Hollywood!
“I know they work hard and long hours too, but at the end of the day, they go home at night,’’ said Barbara Riggs, who spent 31 years with the agency, serving on presidential protective details for Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush - ascending to the role of a supervisor - before retiring as deputy director in 2006. “You can’t say the same for being a Secret Service agent.’’
Cavorting with prostitutes on the job isn’t all that different from holding a business meeting in a topless joint: Both are hyper-sexualized activities that some men may condone but are bound to make women uncomfortable, said Donna Milgram, executive director of the National Institute for Women in Trades, Technology and Science.
This is an epidemic among the elite because it is more about power and control.
Other incidents over the past 15 years haven’t helped the Secret Service come off as welcoming to women. E-mails filed as part of a race discrimination lawsuit show workers sharing racially and sexually inappropriate jokes. An alcohol-soaked bar brawl involving off-duty agents in 2002 involved allegations that an agent had bitten off part of a man’s ear - though no charges were brought and a jury sided with the agent in a civil trial. A 2002 US News & World Report contained allegations of heavy drinking, pornography viewing at work, and security lapses.
See: The Good Stewards of Government
Looks like more the rule than exception.
Some former agents acknowledge a close-knit atmosphere where employees travel, dine, and socialize together. They say the prostitution scandal does not represent a cultural problem or reflect a broader disdain for women.
The cultural problem for the government is one of lying:
"Secret Service misconduct isolated, Napolitano says; Testimony at odds with statements of former agents" by Ed O’Keefe | Washington Post, April 26, 2012
WASHINGTON - The findings by the Secret Service Office of Professional Responsibility that no similar complaints were lodged would appear to contradict comments by some employees ousted in recent days because of the scandal. They privately contend that their conduct did not warrant dismissal because senior managers tolerated similar behavior during official trips.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday that people close to the accused employees said that in an effort to fight for their jobs, the ousted employees might opt to divulge details of how colleagues spent some of their downtime on presidential trips: drinking heavily, visiting strip clubs, and cavorting with women for hire.
One wonders how many of them might start turning up dead "accidentally."
During the hearing, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Secret Service director Mark Sullivan continued to have Obama’s support, and she assured lawmakers that Sullivan’s investigation “will be complete and thorough.’’
Yeah, right. It's a government investigation, isn't it?
"Secret Service inquiry turns to El Salvador trip last year; Reports suggest scandal may not be so isolated" by Alicia A. Caldwell | Associated Press, April 27, 2012
WASHINGTON - Expanding the prostitution investigation, the Secret Service acknowledged Thursday that it is checking whether its employees hired strippers and prostitutes in advance of President Obama’s visit last year to El Salvador.
The disclosure came not long after the Homeland Security secretary assured skeptical senators that the recent prostitution scandal in Colombia appeared to be an isolated incident.
Translation: She lied.
A spokesman for the Secret Service, Edwin Donovan, said the agency was investigating allegations raised in news reports about unprofessional behavior that have emerged in the aftermath of the Colombia incident....
Separately, The Washington Post this week cited unnamed confidants of the Secret Service officers implicated in Colombia saying senior managers had tolerated similar behavior during previous official trips. The Post described a visit to Buenos Aires in 2009 by Bill Clinton, whose protective detail it said included agents and uniformed officers. During that trip, the Post said, members of the detail went out for a late night of partying at strip clubs....
"Obama adviser says scandal was not security threat" Associated Press, April 30, 2012
WASHINGTON - The White House’s top counterterrorism adviser said Sunday that the Secret Service’s prostitution scandal did not weaken the president’s security.
John Brennan said the disciplinary actions taken against the officers allegedly involved show that the Secret Service will take whatever action is necessary to ensure that potential threats will not get an opportunity to “penetrate the security shield that surrounds the president.’’
Better not because as we have seen through history, assassinations of powerful people or figurehead leaders are inside jobs.
Brennan spoke on CNN’s “State of the Union.’’
The scandal has put the storied agency under a different line of fire, as lawmakers and internal investigators try to get to the bottom of officers’ behavior and any implications for the safety of those they protect, starting with Obama.
The agency is also looking into whether agents hired prostitutes and strippers in El Salvador in advance of the president’s trip last year.
Brennan said officials are satisfied the Colombian episode did not pose a threat to the president. Obama joked about agents being on a shorter leash in his remarks at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner Saturday night. “I really do enjoy attending these dinners,’’ he said. “In fact, I had a lot more material prepared, but I have to get the Secret Service home in time for their new curfew.’’
Okay, I was told he was going to be angry if the stories were true and here he is joking about it?
I mean, if he is not taking it seriously after other reported instances.... sigh.
The Secret Service was formed to chase counterfeiters at the end of the Civil War, a mission it still carries out. Its protective work began informally, as part-time security for President Cleveland in 1894.
After President McKinley’s 1901 assassination by an anarchist who hid his gun in a handkerchief, Congress put the agency in charge of protecting presidents, then an expanding list of family members, US and visiting foreign officials, and political candidates.
And yet they still failed JFK on November 22, 1963.
Yeah, if only more women were in charge:
"More female executives are rising to the top levels of the largest defense companies, setting a standard that industry officials say may help encourage more women to enter the field....
I'm sure that will make the war corporations more nurturing and caring when dealing out death.
Also see: Drill sergeant says sexism, racism led to suspension
Slow Saturday Special: You've Come a Long Way, Baby
A Night With General Carter of the Massachusetts National Guard
Globe's Good Night Kiss
I suppose it wouldn't be the first time something like that has happened in the service -- or the last.
One often hears the refrain that the world would be so much better with women in charge. Of course, we all know how much Margret Thatcher improved the world, how Nancy Pelosi brought the wars to an end (spending bills begin in the House), and can one imagine Hillary Clinton easing back the neo-con war plan for the planet? The fact is the "the world would be better if women ran the planet" is a trap. It leads us all into infighting over gender, race, age, etc, when the REAL FACTOR is CLASS! It turns out it DOESN'T MATTER what HAND is on the controls, it is the INSTITUTIONS THEMSELVES that are the problem.
This is not to indict women; however, why do they keep sending their sons and daughters into wars? Why aren't women coming together collectively and stopping the slaughter?
I will say this in favor of women: some of the best models for harmonious living were the Native American societies that were basically controlled by matriarchs before they were smashed by colonization. There were tribal wars and life was far from perfect, but when has it ever been?