It sounds like something that you see in a movie. Sleek, mysterious Secret Service officers, complete with suits and dark shades attract worldwide notoriety after hosting a throng of prostitutes in the Colombia hotel where they were supposed to be doing their job or protecting important political figures. Over the weekend, this became a shocking reality when eleven Secret Service members were placed on leave for allegations accusing them of that very scenario.
Unsurprisingly, this kind of misconduct violates strict protocol that is rigidly enforced by the Secret Service. Also unsurprisingly, the agency has been quite tight-lipped about the whole scandal. While it is true that prostitution is in fact legal in some parts of Colombia, it remains unacceptable according to the agency’s conduct code. The hotel that the prostitutes were brought to was being held secure for the Summit of the Americas. Ron Kessler, formerly of the Washington Post has been quoted on the issue, saying that “this is the biggest scandal in the history of the Secret Service.” Dan Emmett, a former Secret Service agent himself, agrees with Kessler’s sentiment, stating that this is a “very isolated incident.”
However, this outrageous scandals begs the question of whether or not this type of thing really does or doesn’t occur on an all too regular basis. What if this was just the first time they got caught? Should higher officials be doing more to make sure their service men aren’t conducting themselves so foolishly on the job?
I think that this publicized incident will definitely make it harder for upcoming and current Secret Service agents, and possibly others. It will probably make the primary and secondary screenings (and screenings after those) of potential candidates much more difficult to pass, and it will make the ones selecting the candidates more careful with who they will choose to represent their agency. It will also make the moral conduct training more extensive for trainees who need it, though possibly tedious for those who are morally sound. Most importantly, it will open the eyes of higher officials in the Secret Service to really keep an eye on their men in the field, and maybe take a second look as to whether or not certain agents are really ready to be in the field. In reflection, this scandal could be a good thing. I think it could really cause everyone involved, directly and indirectly, to really step up their game and make these United States government agencies places people will be proud to serve.