This is disturbing, not only because it has now happened again, but because the agents involved were reportedly part of one of the most elite details within the Secret Service. At a time where the world seems to be in a perpetual state of agitation, it would be nice to know the guys paid to protect the President are actually protecting the President.
Three Secret Service agents responsible for protecting President Obama in Amsterdam this week were sent home and put on administrative leave Sunday after going out for a night of drinking, according to three people familiar with the incident. One of the agents was found drunk and passed out in a hotel hallway, the people said.
The hotel staff alerted the U.S. Embassy in the Netherlands after finding the unconscious agent Sunday morning, a day before Obama arrived in the country, according to two of the people. The embassy then alerted Secret Service managers on the presidential trip, which included the agency’s director, Julia Pierson.
There are rules about conduct like this. After the prostitute scandal, Secret Service agents are barred from drinking for 10 hours before an assignment, which began when they climbed on the flight to the Netherlands. The three sent home were part of one of the most elite teams in the Secret Service, too:
The Counter Assault Team’s job is to protect the president if he or his motorcade comes under attack and to fight off assailants and draw fire while the protective detail removes the president from the area.
Two former agency employees with experience on foreign trips described the counterassault team as one of the most elite units in the agency, responsible for “the last line of defense” for the president. Those selected for CAT are required to be highly skilled shooters and extremely physically fit, with a demanding training regimen, said the two former employees, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal operations.
There are also high expectations for personal conduct on the squad, they said. On foreign trips, one former agent recalled, the counterassault team often worked shifts as long as 12 hours, the former agents recalled, and agents were expected to get rest during their time off to be in prime condition.
“They received the best technical training in the service,” said one of the former agents. “They were the only team constantly training — training on assaults, on evacuations, all sorts of things. They were very squared away. It was really difficult to get on CAT.”
I would certainly sleep better at night if I knew the Secret Service was doing their job and not partying it up. They owe it to us. We sign their paychecks.