© 2024 Michigan State University Board of Trustees
Public Media from Michigan State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

No Widespread Misconduct In Secret Service, Investigators Say

U.S. Secret Service

"Although individual employees have engaged in misconduct or inappropriate behavior, we did not find evidence that misconduct is widespread," concludes a report from the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general. The IG's investigation was launched after the 2012 scandal over some agents' behavior while they were on a mission in Colombia.

The report, which is posted here, notes that:

"In April 2012, United States Secret Service (USSS) employees were preparing for a Presidential visit to the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia. While off duty, several employees were suspected of soliciting prostitutes and consuming excessive amounts of alcohol.

"We assessed the adequacy of the agency's efforts to identify, mitigate, and address instances of misconduct and inappropriate behavior. To satisfy our review objectives, we (1) interviewed more than 200 USSS supervisors, managers, and senior officials; (2) administered an electronic and in-person survey with a combined response rate of 41 percent; (3) reviewed USSS internal affairs cases; (4) analyzed discipline records; and (5) analyzed personnel security records. ...

"We did not find any evidence that USSS leadership has fostered an environment that tolerates inappropriate behavior. Of the 2,575 employees who responded to our electronic survey, 2,144 (83 percent) indicated they were not aware of USSS employees engaging in any of six behaviors that were displayed in Cartagena. Additionally, 61 percent of survey respondents believed management does not tolerate misconduct."

The IG goes on, however, to make 14 recommendations, including:

-- "enhance policies related to reporting and investigating employee misconduct and security concerns;

-- "strengthen procedures for proposing and issuing discipline;

-- "ensure compliance with federal disciplinary regulations;

-- "ensure discipline is aligned with agency disciplinary principles;

-- "ensure appointments to the Security Appeals Board are made according to policy."

Though the IG found no widespread misconduct, the agency's new director, Julia Pierson, has previously vowed to change its culture — which some lawmakers say tolerates "morally repugnant" behavior.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
Journalism at this station is made possible by donors who value local reporting. Donate today to keep stories like this one coming. It is thanks to your generosity that we can keep this content free and accessible for everyone. Thanks!