If there was one government agency which Americans thought merited our confidence it was the Secret Service. The sorry episode in Cartagena, in which our allegedly incorruptible men-in-black allegedly drank heavily and caroused with prostitutes, embarrassing the United States and potentially compromising the president's security, will undermine that confidence. To what degree depends on how much rot gets exposed in the various investigations that will ensue.
I wonder if this will open the door a crack into looking at waste and abuse of taxpayer dollars by the agency. Inquiring minds would like to know whether agents doing advance security prep have to pay for their own booze and hookers, or are allowed to lump those necessaries in with the other closely guarded costs of keeping the president safe.
Maybe the president should just stay home more. It would be cheaper for us and safer for him.
Just kidding! In an oddly related story, President Obama candidly admits to doing some advance prep of his own:
Just two days after President Barack Obama gave a sharply edged response to news anchor Larry Conners of KMOV in St. Louis after Conners had asked the president about Americans who “get frustrated and even angered when they see the first family jetting around [to] different vacations and so forth,” Obama told a panel at the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia that part of his job there was to scout out locations for a future vacation with First Lady Michelle Obama.If you think he's just a smidge tone-deaf, well, you're wrong. Americans know how hard he works, blah blah blah.
Obama was speaking on a panel with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff when he made the remarks. The panel was moderated by Chris Matthews of MSNBC.
“I want to thank President Santos and the people of Colombia for the extraordinary hospitality in the beautiful city of Cartagena,” said Obama. “We're having a wonderful time. And usually when I take these summit trips, part of my job is to scout out where I may want to bring Michelle back later for vacation. So we'll make sure to come back sometime in the near future.”
Perhaps Obama was just making nice with the Colombians. But let his comment serve as a reminder that we'll have the privilege of supporting the security costs, whatever they may be, of at least another decade's worth of Obama vacations. Would anyone like to try to calculate how many that might be?
Update: Yet another case of governmental advance preparation gone wrong.
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