Is this a one-off as the Secret Service insists or are there more revelations to come about the culture of an elite agency that’s entrusted with protecting America’s leaders?
What is particularly disturbing about the case is that veteran supervisors were involved in the partying in Cartagena just before President Obama arrived for the Summit of the Americas last weekend.
That in istelf suggests there is more here than if it had been only junior agents blowing off steam and may well reflect a casualness throughout the agency.
If supervisors thought it was okay to party with escorts while on travel duty, then it suggests that they may have felt they had some immunity or that this would not get them into trouble with higher-ups.
In all eleven Secret Service agents and nine military servicemen are under investigation for hiring 20 or 21 hookers in Cartagena last week. The two veterans were named first by CBS as Greg Stokes and David Chaney.
Chaney, who has been forced into retriement, is the son of a George Chaney, who had himself a long career with the Secret Service and was on the LBJ detail. Stokes, an assistant special agent in charge of the K9 division, has been removed for cause, i.e. fired, but has an opportunity to appeal the dismissal during the 30-day notice period.
Chaney’s lack of discretion comes through on his Facebook page where, according to the Washington Post, he posted a photo of himself showing him behind Sarah Palin during the 2008 campaign with the comment, “I was really checking her out, if you know what I mean?”
“Well, check this out, buddy — you’re fired!” Sarah Palin has taunted in a TV interview.
From my experience of the Secret Service while covering Capitol Hill and the White House for several years, agents are highly professional but they do have a tendency to drink hard in the evenings at the various Capitol Hill watering holes.