When tasked with protecting the president of the United States, it’s probably not a good idea to pass out drunk in a hotel hallway the day before he arrives.
And yet, that’s what happened this past week in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The incident led to a trio of Secret Service agents being sent back stateside and placed on administrative leave, and handed the agency tasked with protecting America’s commander in chief yet another black eye.
The Amsterdam imbroglio comes two years after Secret Service agents got caught up in a drinking-and-prostitution scandal in Cartagena, Colombia. That episode led to a tighter code of conduct for the agency but, it seems, not a change in behavior among some in its ranks.
The three agents put on leave were apparently out drinking in Amsterdam until 2:30 a.m., despite the fact that they were due to work at 10 that morning. One didn’t make it all the way back to his room; he was found asleep in the hallway by hotel employees, who carried him to his room.
And it gets worse. In the wake of the Amsterdam incident, The Washington Post reported that two counter-sniper Secret Service officers who were suspected of drinking were involved in a car accident during President Barack Obama’s visit to Miami this month.
The three incidents led Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., to wonder whether the agency has a “systemic” problem. “It is essential that the culture and behavior within the United States Secret Service be beyond reproach to ensure that the agency has the credibility and integrity to fulfill its vitally important national security function,” Johnson added.
The Secret Service, for serving poorly and not keeping it secret, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.
Cillizza covers the White House for The Washington Post and writes The Fix, its politics blog.