Plan twice, shoot once.

The Secret Service and its Not-So-Secret Booty Call

By Jay Holmes

This week, we have been treated to two dire federal government scandals in the news. One of those scandals involves misappropriation of funds for partying and luxury travel by General Services Administration big wigs and their tax payer funded minions. But another, similar, and more troubling scandal occurred in Colombia.

It has come to light that (allegedly) eleven Secret Service agents and perhaps ten Marines were involved with prostitutes at a local bordello. Apparently, they took the twenty plus prostitutes back to rooms that were being used by the Americans at a hotel in Cartagena, Colombia. The prostitutes later claimed under-payment by the Americans. It seems that it was the price haggling that brought the activity to light.

The Secret Service is probably one of the least understood law enforcement agencies in the United States. While this is certainly a major black eye for the agency, I would like to take a closer look at the Secret Service before discussing why the prostitutes matter to anyone other than the Americans’ significant others at home.

The US Secret Service was started in 1865 by President Lincoln to combat the rampant counterfeiting of US currency. The US Treasury estimated at the time that one-third of all US currency in circulation was counterfeit.

Once established, the Secret Service quickly gained a reputation for skill and integrity, and with no FBI on the scene yet, they took on a broad range of crime fighting responsibilities in addition to protecting our currency, including murder and fraud cases. Also, while the Secret Service does not currently involve itself in intelligence gathering or counterintelligence work, it was the first non-military intelligence agency in the United States.

Most people think of the Secret Service in conjunction with protecting the President and visiting heads of state. However, that was not that agency’s responsibility until 1901, after the assassination of US President McKinley. In 1968, Congress tasked the Secret Service with protecting ex-presidents and major presidential candidates, as well.

Although the Secret Service and it’s 6,600 members are best known for presidential protection, the majority of their work remains in protecting the American currency and combating financial crimes. The Secret Service currently operates a major task force against internet crime, and they have been responsible for the capture and successful prosecutions of several major internet crime rings.

If you ask a federal prosecutor in your area what they think of the US Secret Service, there is a good chance they will tell you they are always happy to prosecute a case for the Secret Service. That’s because they can count on well-built files detailing meticulous investigations with proper handling of suspects, witnesses, and evidence. The Secret Service, in its remarkably scandal free 146 year history, has quietly established a reputation for integrity and professionalism.

Then the debacle in Cartagena happened. In an odd twist of fate for an agency that has, on several occasions, had to develop expertise in protecting a couple of presidents from their careless sexual practices, the Secret Service finds itself involved in its own sex scandal.

Apparently, Secret Service Agents and US military personnel were partying at a local sleaze joint named the “Pley Club,” where they decided to get themselves played. Witnesses claim they were drinking heavily, and that some of them were bragging that they were on the President’s protection detail. So thus far, that’s three problems.

The first problem is that they went to a sleaze joint while on a foreign assignment to protect the President. The only reason why US personnel or local assets in their employ would go into a sleaze joint prior to or during a presidential visit would be on an undercover assignment to observe a suspected threat, or to gather intelligence from sleaze joint employees friendly to us.

The second problem is that they drank alcohol. Nobody shoots better when they are drunk or hung over. They all should have known better.

The third infraction is that they called attention to the fact that they were on the President’s protection detail. That set them up as potential targets for any of the myriad drug dealers, terrorists, hostile foreign intelligence agents, and other major scumbags who have operatives in Cartagena at any given time.

Then the major violation of rules occurred. They employed twenty-one prostitutes, each a potential Booty Spy, and took them back to hotel rooms which contained, among other things, communications schedules and the President’s detailed itinerary. All Secret Service agents are trained to be aware of the danger of Booty Spies so it is flabbergasting that they would have committed this infraction.

In another show of bad judgment, they ended the night by creating a public disturbance with the hookers, which was perhaps prearranged by the hookers at the behest of hostile foreign agents. An argument broke out in the lobby of the hotel about payment for whatever sexual services were delivered. That public disturbance was an embarrassment to the White House and to the USA.

While some pundits are pointing out the obvious hypocrisy in Congress’ outrage and their demand for swift justice when they’re facing their own General Services Administration partying scandal, the fact remains that these agents cannot be trusted with the President’s security. Regardless of one’s personal political preferences, most Americans would agree that having a President embarrassed, injured, or killed is never a good thing for the nation.

The US military personnel involved in the scandal may have had less training in Booty Spy operations if they were not trained in intelligence, but instead were simply there as highly trained shooters. Nonetheless, this incident won’t look good on their records because they may have violated a curfew set for them by their commander. Nobody (on our side) wants hung over shooters covering the President.

I agree that the Presidential Protection Team needs a major shake up and some intense retraining. (Call it the “IF You Mother %$@#&%* pull a stunt like those idiots pulled your ass is cooked” training module). I could teach that class in half an hour with a twenty minute coffee break included.

image from ‘Gladiator’ by DreamWorks Pictures

Piper’s note: Actual photo of Holmes teaching that class.

I do not agree that Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan should be fired or taken to task for what occurred. His directives were clear and correct. The team in the field violated them. There is no value or justice in running him off.

 

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41 thoughts on “ The Secret Service and its Not-So-Secret Booty Call

  1. Amen. Astounding lack of judgment . . . we’re lucky it did not end worse. “Regardless of one’s personal political preferences, most Americans would agree that having a President embarrassed, injured, or killed is never a good thing for the nation.” Very lucky.

  2. So many glaring neon signs of BAD JUDGMENT, I’m almost blinded by the light. Thanks for the post, Holmes.

    “Conspiracy Me” wonders what sort of future repercussion this scandal will lay the basis for.

    • on ,
      J Holmes said:


      Hi Jenny. Any compromised information will be dealt with, All codes and frequency schedules were changed already. The NSA keeps replacement code systems ready for the White House and Secret Service to use.

    • on ,
      J Holmes said:


      Hi Lili. I added a response to you but in the wrong place. lease look below Shelly’s comment.

  3. Two dire scandals indeed. And both complete with many, many examples of bad judgment. Difficult to chalk them up to human error – participants must be held accountable and face the strong consequences.

    • on ,
      J Holmes said:


      Hi Shelly. I agree. The Secret Service plays in the big leagues and they know it.

  4. on ,
    J Holmes said:


    Hi Lili. Yes there are very pretty ladies in Columbia but there is also lots of danger in Columbia. I cut these guys no slack for chasing tail while they are supposed to be taking care of the President. Had they been there on vacation or even on a joint training exercise I would ignore their after hours activities.

    As to the beauty and effectiveness of any determined Columbian woman it was a lovely Comumbian woman that caused one of the worst double agent scandals in the CIA’s history.

    • *interrupts training* Excuse me, um, Mister Holmes? (Spanish accent) Meesterr Holmes. Yes, um, I just want to say that it’s Colombia with an “o” named after Cristobal Colon, the Spanish name for Christopher Columbus. Thank you. *big smile*

      • on ,
        Jay Holmes said:


        J%$#r. Me da verguenza haber hecho eso. Lo siento. Hablo Espanol mejor que Ingles y me siento como idiota ahora. Hostias!

  5. Your lesson will be lost on macho, pseudo alpha males that are assigned to Presidential Protection. They need to be briefed in the most stringent manner that dismissal is the least of their worries. And for $47. You’d think they’d choose a higher level hooker.

    • on ,
      J Holmes said:


      Hi Tomwisk. Macho guys can get that clear message of “so sorry, no pay check, bye bye”.

  6. Nothing further to comment about those idiots. Just wanted to say I LOVE the photo of Holmes! He starred in the movie too … right? Come on, ‘fess up!

    • on ,
      J Holmes said:


      Hi Patricia. No skirts for me. I would never take on cross dressing as a kink. It would be way outside of my 15 minutes of allotted time for “showered, dressed and gone”. I do play with swords but always the Japanese type.

  7. on ,
    EllieAnn said:


    The name of your training module is hilarious. great article, Holmes.

    • on ,
      J Holmes said:


      Hi Ellie. Some times training modules can be condensed a bit without loosing any meaning. I like renaming the modules from the obscure vague sounding names that they often have to something more direct. “HR” type people are always nervous around me. As long as they stay that way I’ll know in my heart that I’m OK.

  8. Those guys definitely gave us all a WTF moment. Jenny’s right. Bad judgment indeed. Their mamas need to give them a good talking to, I mean that’s our president you’re messing with.

    Great pic of Holmes. That’s exactly how I’ve pictured him.

  9. I was wondering if Holmes would weigh in on this topic. Great historical points. I also have to wonder how much longer it’ll be before the conspiracy theories start cropping up. “It was a plot to…” and you fill in the blank.

    • on ,
      J Holmes said:


      Hi Serena. What a great post that would make. We each get to suggest a plot. Who needs Oliver Stone?

      • Hehe, Oliver Stone with Jim Marrs whispering in his ear! Mix equal portions of alien/NASA rumors, birther stories, plus JFK stuff and see what rises to the top!

  10. This is why I trust (and love) The Inside Scoop News from Holmes.

    Yes, I’d love to be an observer of (not a participant in) the intensive training program.

    Guess debriefing upon their return from the trip to Columbia was a moot point. They chose to handle it in a smaller group session ahead of schedule.

    No. NOT a laughing matter. But, “debriefing” begged to play. My apologies.

    • on ,
      J Holmes said:


      Ho Gloria. No apologies necessary (from you). So far one of them has been fired, One of them has been allowed to retire, and one of them has been reassigned. This will take some time to play out.

  11. Every time I see this story on the news I’m so embarrassed for The United States. Seriously, do you think this stuff has always happened and now the paparazzi just blow up the stories? Or do you think there was a time when the Social Service forces actually exercised more restraint?

    • on ,
      Jay Holmes said:


      Hi Renee. I am not too “hooked up” with the Secret Service but I know a couple of them and am aquainted with a few more. There was a time when the Secret Service folks exercised more restraint. In fact that time includes every day until this debacle. MY hope is that this team is not representative of the overall performance of the Secret Service. It could be that the process of moving the Secret Service from the Department of the Treasurey to the Department of Homeland Security has created a decline in standards. Time will tell.

      When we consider the performance of the “TSA” under DHS “management” we see shockingly low standards of leadership and ethics, and it has about it the sickening stench of ploitical influence. For now all I can do is hope that more incidents like this do not occur at the Secret Service because until now, they have been an outstanding organization with a great record. I was born an optimist so I am hoping for the best but I’ve had advanced training in cynicism so I will not be too confident in my assumptions.

  12. Thank goodness no one was physically harmed. Yes, a lot of egos, reputations, and a number of careers have been mangled, but perhaps an agency without blemish for so long has gotten complacent, and lax in their training/supervisory practices. Something like this could be enough to get them back on track. Along with attending your “Don’t-pull-this-jackass-stunt-like these-guys-did” class, of course. Or am I being too optimistic? I did some research into 19thc counterfeiters a while back, and the Secret Service agents were amazing. Maybe our 21st century agents need a little history lesson, too.

    • on ,
      Jay Holmes said:


      Hi K.B. Thanks for your research. The 20th century Secret Service was just as amazing as the 19th century Service. Most of the current agents are quietly working on massive credit card fraud schemes, securities schemes, banking fraud and counterfeit operations. They are doing a lot with a reasonable sized force and doing it very quietly. I hope that their high standards will overcome this incident and prevent any future institutional insanity.

  13. Hi Holmes.

    They really need to learn to put the “secret” with their “service.” A cock up all round, and all that. On the bright side, it makes a change for the big issue in Colombia not to involve drugs. And all it took was a presidential visit.

    Cheers!

    • on ,
      Jay Holmes said:


      Hi Nigel. Thus far we see no evidence that the Drug Lords or FARC were involved. You can bet that the drug lords are now salivating over the possibility of a future operation now that they think the agents are hiring street flesh.

      One of my first thoughts about this incident was that the price of “contract intimacy specialists” has likely tripled this week. I’m glad I’m not needing to hire any for operations in the Central or South American areas of operatrion. I would love to see the hilarious budget adjustment requests that will soon be arriving at MI-6 or CIA. The box that says “explain the need for the requested increase in funds” should contain some colorful responses.

      The request form that the Canadians and Australians use probably has a line that reads “Step 12: Now place this document and all copies in the shredder.”

      • “contract intimacy specialists” — LOL.

        And the French don’t even have a form, it’s just part of their per diem.

  14. Holmes,
    In a sad way this doesn’t surprise me. I think that these so-called security men of the highest caliber basically acted as if they were college dumb-a$$e$: brainless and having no regard for consequences. (I know – that was redundant.) These men were protecting the president of our country and made so many mistakes, that if something happens it will be an enormous tragedy. A tragedy that these men will have to live with on their conscience for the rest of their lives. Yes, we are all human and make mistakes. But these types of mistakes are unjustifiable.

    I’m glad that you could present this story satirically, because I think that anyone who would have read the story would be calling for more than their resignations. I do hope these men are no longer working for the Secret Service – are they?

    Monique

  15. on ,
    Jay Holmes said:


    Hi Monique. An investigation is underway. Thus far one has been fired, one has been allowed to retire, and one has been “reassigned” (read demoted and ostracized) . My guess is that none of the agents that were inviting hookers to rooms where information was stored will remain in service. For one thing, a room with such information should NEVER be left unmanned as long as the information remains there.

    One thing to remember about the Secret Service is that the President will have the final say in personnel changes on his protection team. With or without explanation he can have any of them removed at any time. Likewise he can request that particular agents remain on his detail. The Service might drag its feet on announcing any conclusions until enough experienced agents can complete the “physical protection” course at the Secret Service Rowley Training Center near Washington DC. It could be that some of the agents went to the club and left early and sober without any hookers in tow. Those agents would likely not be fired but would be reprimanded for visiting the club.

    I’m sure there are some happy divorce lawyers in Washington this week. One thing that spouses find less forgiveable than cheating is cheating and having it become public.

  16. Excellent post! If Obama called Kanye West a jackass, I wonder what he’s saying about the Secret Service right now…

  17. on ,
    J Holmes said:


    Hi Gojulesgo. The press is claiming that “he was furious”.

  18. Just maybe the Secret Service was following orders and vetting these gals for someone who was on his way. Wouldn’t be the first time a married president has violated his marriage vows and oath of office.

    • on ,
      J Holmes said:


      Hi Hardrock. That brings new meaning to the word “vetting”. On the serious side of things I have not seen any information indicating that Presidents Bush or Obama played around outside of their marriages.

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