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October 2022


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Column: Americans Have Little Reason to Trust Secret Service After Recent Blunders

secret service photo

By Glenn Harlan Reynolds
USA Today Column

There’s a connection between the Secret Service’s Colombian hooker scandal and Americans’ increased worry about Ebola. Both have to do with trust.

Until recently, if you’d asked Americans to pick government institutions characterized by efficiency and professionalism, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Secret Service would likely have been at the top of the list. In both cases, recent evidence now suggests otherwise. And that’s especially destructive because both agencies depend on trust to do their jobs.

In the case of the Secret Service, the story comes in two parts — first, the 2012 scandal involving Secret Service agents boozing and carousing with prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia, ahead of a visit by President Obama, and second, the apparent coverup that gave favored treatment to a White House worker who was the son of an Obama donor.

Prostitution is legal in parts of Colombia, but Secret Service agents aren’t supposed to be getting drunk and cavorting with hookers while on official business, as that poses an obvious risk to security. When the scandal broke, nearly two dozen Secret Service agents and members of the military on the advance team were fired or punished. Butone person got a pass — a White House advance team employee who had a woman, who advertises herself as a hooker, overnight in his room. According to investigators, they got pressure from the White House to delay the report until after the 2012 election, and to “withhold and alter certain information in the report of investigation because it was potentially embarrassing to the administration.”

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Experts: Secret Service Could Benefit from Hiring Director from Outside Agency

Secret Service photo

By Steve Neavling

Some members of Congress and other experts believe the next director of the Secret Service should come from outside because much of the agency’s problems are its insular culture, the USA Today reports.

If the White House taps someone with no ties to the agency, it will be the first time an outside leader has taken over the Secret Service.

“If you are going to change the culture, you’re going to have to bring someone from the outside. That has to happen,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, a member of the House panel that has been reviewing agency operations.

Four panelists are currently reviewing the agency’s operations with the goal of completing the study by Dec. 15. Part of the tasks of the panelists is to submit potential candidates for the director position.

‘”I have full confidence that these distinguished individuals will conduct a fair, thorough and unbiased assessment,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said.

Wooden Replica of Branch Davidian Compound in Waco Keeps ATF Memories Alive

photo from

By Steve Neavling

It was one of the darkest days in ATF’s history – Feb. 28, 1993.

Four agents were killed that morning, instigating what would be a 51-day standoff that ended with a raging fire and the deaths of about 80 Davidians members.

To remember that fateful day, an architectural firm donated a wooden replica of the Branch Davidian Compound in Waco, which is on display at the ATF Houston Division headquarters, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Above the replica are photos of the four agents killed that morning.

While the replica may be a painful reminder, it also serves as a way to preserve history and continue the dialogue over what happened.

TSA Bag Handlers Shocked When They Find Kit for IEDs at Honolulu Airport

By Steve Neavling

It’s not everyday that the TSA finds a training kit for military-improvised explosive devices packed into luggage.

But that’s exactly what TSA bag handlers discovered in a checked bag at the Honolulu airport. The items included detonators, blasting caps, detonating cord and C-4, the Henry Daily Herald reports.

The TSA evacuated the handling room, causing a delay in the screening process.

The identity of the traveler has not been revealed, nor has the motive for possessing the equipment.

“Please keep in mind that if an item looks like a real bomb, grenade, mine, etc., it is prohibited,” agency officials wrote on their blog.


DEA ‘Most Interested’ in Americans Who Invest in Medical Marijuana Industry in Canada

By Steve Neavling

The DEA said it is “most interested” in U.S. residents who invest in Canadian medical marijuana, Reuters reports.

Some experts say those investors are violating the Controlled Substances Act because pot is still illegal on the federal level. Using a bank to transfer funds also could be considered money laundering.

Reuters asked about the DEA’s position on these types of investments, and the agency’s spokesman said the DEA is “most interested in these types of activities.”

The news caused a brief decline in shares in medical marijuana companies because a recovery.

Review of Beleaguered Secret Service Will Be Led by 4 Former Senior Government Officials

secret service photo

By Steve Neavling

Four former senior government officials will head up an independent review of the beleaguered Secret Service, Washington Times reports.

The review panel will include two former officials for former President George W. Bush and two who have served under President Obama.

The panel is expected to submit its findings and recommendations to the White House by Dec. 15.

The Secret Service is currently being led by retired Secret Service Agent Joseph Clancy, who will be replaced once a new director is appointed.

FBI Director Comey: ‘You Cannot Trust People in power,’ Question Authority

FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling

FBI Director James Comey said it’s important that the government have the authority to access any American’s phone, he said in a “60 Minutes” interview.

The New York Daily News reports that Comey struck a balanced tone, saying he also thought it was important for Americans to be “deeply skeptical” of the government.

Comey emphasized that access to phones is granted by a judge when the information is critical to a criminal case or security issue.

But don’t stop questioning the government, he said.

“You cannot trust people in power,” he added.

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