The US Secret Service has traditionally had two responsibilities
- Financial Crimes, covering missions such as prevention and investigation of counterfeiting of U.S. currency and U.S. treasury securities, and investigation of major fraud.
- Protection, which entails ensuring the safety of current and former national leaders and their families, such as the President, past presidents, vice presidents, presidential candidates, visiting heads of state, and foreign embassies (per an agreement with the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) Office of Foreign Missions (OFM), etc.)
The Secret Services operated as part of the US Treasury Department, which makes sense considering the first responsibility listed above, until March 2003. At that time, it was moved to the newly-created Department of Homeland Security, the most bloated, expensive, inept, and unnecessary governmental agency in history.
Imagine a labyrinthine government department so bloated that few have any clear idea of just what its countless pieces do. Imagine that tens of billions of tax dollars are disappearing into it annually, black hole-style, since it can’t pass a congressionally mandated audit.Now, imagine that there are two such departments, both gigantic, and you’re beginning to grasp the new, twenty-first century American security paradigm.
For decades, the Department of Defense has met this definition to a T. Since 2003, however, it hasn’t been alone. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which celebrates its 10th birthday this March, has grown into a miniature Pentagon. It’s supposed to be the actual “defense” department — since the Pentagon is essentially a Department of Offense — and it’s rife with all the same issues and defects that critics of the military-industrial complex have decried for decades. In other words, “homeland security” has become another obese boondoggle.
But here’s the strange thing: unlike the Pentagon, this monstrosity draws no attention whatsoever — even though, by our calculations, this country has spent a jaw-dropping $791 billion on “homeland security” since 9/11. To give you a sense of just how big that is, Washington spent an inflation-adjusted $500 billion on the entire New Deal.
Despite sucking up a sum of money that could have rebuilt crumbling infrastructure from coast to coast, this new agency and the very concept of “homeland security” have largely flown beneath the media radar — with disastrous results.
And that’s really no surprise, given how the DHS came into existence.
If you wonder how the Secret Service went from state of the art/ best of the best to the comedy of errors it now is, I’d say look no further than the DHS.
Why do I call it a comedy of errors? How about a walk down the Secret Service Memory Lane?
There was the 2009 incident in which reality show bimbo and her husband were somehow able to gain access to a White House party for the Prime Minister of India.
There were the dozen or so Secret Service agents who were fucking hookers in Columbia instead of doing the advance work for a presidential trip.
There were the drunken episodes – from Miami (where oddly, no breathalyzer test was given after an accident during which “the Florida Highway patrol officer “detected a slight odor of alcohol”) to The Netherlands (where at junior agent who had passed out drunk in a hallway and later had to be lifted into his room by several hotel employees).
And that brings us to the major security breaches at the White House, about which there is nothing even remotely funny.
Rather than re-hash the scary details, let me direct you to Carol Leonnig’s great reporting at the Washington Post. Just follow the timeline up, as she’s the one who broke the stories about the 11-11-11 shooting and the lies that the Secret Service told us about the fence jumper incident on 9-19.
For really great reporting, check out this multimedia account of the shooting that was not reported until Leonnig broke the story a few days ago.
The House Oversight Committee hearing into the Secret Service began this morning just as the show started. I checked in on the audio occasionally throughout the show, but if you’d like to see the madness for yourself, just click here and watch!
Thank goodness it’s Tuesday, so GottaLaff joined me for the second hour and helped bring my anger down a few notches!
I’ll be back tomorrow with Ryan Grim and the latest on Julian Assange, and Crooks & Liars’ Susie Madrak too… radio or not!