Exiting stage right: Cartagena's Dirty Dozen
Exiting stage left: Five members of the U.S. military
Dan Emmett misses the point in addressing the negligible risk of future blackmail because of the solicitation of prostitutes by members of the advance party tasked with securing the physical spaces being used by the POTUS.
The primary issue is a sloppy chain of command. One rogue agent I can understand. One rogue military officer is certainly possible. But sixteen accused of heavy drinking (unsubstantiated report) and solicitation of prostitutes? (verified report) Now we have a weakness in the chain of command.
Mr. Emmett does admit that "things" can happen on these glorious little taxpayer-funded road trips. He is a former Marine and a Secret Service veteran.
I remember the warning given with strict consequences when part of the Advance Party for WATC02. (Ghana, W. Africa) Any solicitation of prostitutes would cause new orders to be cut and the member would be sent back to CONUS. We were in the hotel for five days until the main body arrived in Accra. And we spent a couple nights at the end of the mission in the same hotel.
I noted a rather lonely prostitute in the bar area one evening. She was eating french fries covered with ketchup and drinking a glass of white wine. A poor pairing of food and beverage. But I think she also was poorly prepared for the lack of business provided by our team.
Possibly men cavorting with prostitutes does not imply a blackmail risk. But it certainly presents as a security risk to the POTUS.
The Secret Service chain of command, top-to-bottom, deserves an examination. On the witness stand, eleven men who felt the corporate culture sufficiently lax to get away with their antics. If there is one thing I know about chain of command it is this: Fear of reprisal for misdeeds locks all vertebrae in place - all the way to the top - all the way to the primary nerve center. Is this incident solitary in nature? I doubt it.
Link to article
LCDR Tammy Swofford, USNR, NC