Take a couple of their supervisors off the payroll as well. The numbers involved in this scandal suggest a failure of command and control in a go-along, get-along culture without any professional oversight.
On one level, this is a frat party run amok, with agents reportedly trying to impress their female companions with their status as protectors of the president. They were so damn special.
In fact, the behavior is closer to the Army’s Abu Ghraib debacle or the Navy’s Tailhook scandal, where no rules applied and no one was apparently in charge. The heady arrogance exposed is as intoxicating for participants as the vast quantities of alcohol consumed.
None of us would be paying attention if this were a bunch of party-hearty federal employees from the Commerce Department, but the assignment was to secure an unknown environment and help protect the president, Cabinet officials and senior administrators — our leaders representing our interests.
On that kind of assignment is the security detail ever truly off duty? How does mindless, self-indulgent behavior potentially compromise the mission with loose talk or pilfered records and plans?
Apparently, an agency culture that left the agents confident enough to hire hookers did not feel particularly vulnerable to exposure, blackmail or extortion.
The Secret Service agents have had their security clearances pulled, so they have lost the coin of the realm in the federal government. They might as well start looking for other work.
Are they intelligent, brave and well-trained? No doubt. Can their judgment be trusted? Apparently not.