"Should the shit hit the fan, you grab the President's left arm and I'll grab his right and we shove him with all our might into that doorway over there, got it?" the Secret Service agent instructed me as President Bill Clinton was about to complete inspection of a Vietnamese military honor guard at the ornate French colonial presidential palace in Hanoi on Nov. 16, 2000.
Rules on personal conduct, however, are almost beside the point. Two other considerations are more paramount: security and image. By bringing uncleared persons (in this case, Colombian prostitutes) into their hotel rooms, agents not only
endangered themselves, but by leaving their IDs, badges, guns and possibly schedules of presidential movements in the open, they also endangered the president. They opened the door as well to possible blackmail. The "honey trap" is one of the oldest espionage lures in the books. Those who work in national security with top secret clearances are trained to be vigilant against hostile players such as foreign intelligence services and terrorist groups who seek to compromise U.S. officials.
As for image, all Americans who are entrusted with serving their country abroad have a special unspoken responsibility to show the United States in the best possible light by dint of their professionalism and personal comportment. Visiting strip clubs and engaging whores two days prior to a visit by the U.S. president, needless to say, does the exact opposite. Furthermore, the supervisor who put up a photo on his Facebook page of himself on a Sarah Palin protective detail with the caption, "I was really checking her out, if you know what i mean?" is at least guilty of terminal stupidity.
“Most of the time they’re so exhausted they don’t even have a home life,” Kessler said.
Clearly, Congress needs to take a broader look at the Secret Service, beyond this scandal. A thorough review of management, training and resources is glaringly needed with an eye toward reform so that those responsible for protecting our leaders can do their job efficiently and with the knowledge that they have the full support of the American people.