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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Secret Service Scandal and the President's Watch

There's a lot of tap-dancing going on in Washington

It's even noticeable in New Zealand.

The story, the way we read it here, is that a couple of dozen president-protectors had a college-boy-style holiday in Cartagena before the President arrived.  It involved a few sex-workers -- something that is not illegal in Cartagena.  But, though, they weren't breaking the law, they were breaking the rules. And, what's more, one of them didn't pay his bill.

The thought of sex-workers getting a glimpse of classified material, however unlikely, has sent a shudder through the ranks. (Maybe some in Congress are old enough to remember the Profumo scandal.)   Hence the tap-dancing.

On what I suppose is the humorous side, the Borowitz Report has reported (tongue in cheek) that there has been a 5000% jump in Secret Service recruitment. Even more bizarre is the (real) report that Congresswomen blame the problem on not having enough female Secret Servicepersons. Have they considered the implications? Are they really suggesting that prostitutes would not be necessary if female co-workers were on tap, as it were? Or are they like the pious whaleship owners of the mid-nineteenth century, who believed that the presence of a lady (in the person of the captain's wife) improved the morals on board?

Personally, I think it is sad, as the President and his family seem to have had such a good relationship with their protectors. 'Way back when, I posted a story about Obama's watch, which is a good illustration of this. 

And, as Laurie Kellman in Washington observes, "For any president, a Secret Service scandal creates discomfort. Members of the agency's elite protective service help the first family feel safe in the public glare."

It's a fairly intimate relationship, as First Lady Michelle Obama told members of the Secret Service last year. The president, their daughters and she playfully argued at the dinner table over their favorite agents, she said.

"We love our detail," Mrs. Obama said. "For us, it's like having family around."

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