Children At Play
Bureaucracies are great fun, if you have a sense of humor. None are funnier, in a sad way, than the Federal bureaucracies.
Case in point, the Secret Service has provided us a cynical chuckle.
The Secret Service has been known as the agency where its agents are prepared to “take a bullet” to protect the President. Valor, honor, and integrity are their watch words, or so we thought. Recent events have cast the service in a different and more confusing light.
First, agents were sent home following a “drinking” and “shake down” of local Columbian prostitutes. Senior officials tried to make like the issue was the prostitutes and waving their “no-no” finger, pronounced the agent’s behavior as unacceptable and inconsistent with the Service’s mission. Hmmm. (What about fitness for service?)
Second, about two years later, after being warned about drinking and duty, three agents went out on the town in Amsterdam. One agent had such a good time that he collapsed in the hotel hallway and had to be put to bed. The agents were sent home.
This past week, saw the inexplicable. Someone scaled the 7 foot White House fence along Pennsylvania Avenue and proceeded to run across the lawn and enter an unlocked door. No damage was done but one cannot help but think “what if”?
The Secret Service response to what amounts to a dereliction of duties was to propose establishing “check points” several blocks away from the White House. One can only surmise that government officials are seeking a diversion. Let citizens get mad about being searched (under the name of security) while the Secret Service is let off the hook for not having performed as was presently expected.
Where were the dogs whose task it is to catch anyone sneaking over the fence? Where were the Secret Service Agents who are authorized to shoot such intruders? And why do we have a seven foot fence if there is not secondary lines of defense?
When any organization begins to behave in ways inconsistent with its mission, the best advice is to go back to basics. The mission may have become too routine for the current cadre or the long hours (when nothing happens) and frequent trips have dulled the responsiveness of the agents.
Clean house by bringing in new agents and transferring current agents to other government branches.
Oh, and yes begin with supervision and senior management.