The Secret Service is bracing for the impending appointment of a new director, but this time round will be different. Normally, the director comes from within the service. Trump is planning to change that by appointing someone with a senior military rank and an outsider.
Agents and officers are expecting Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, a retired Marine general and former head of U.S. Central Command, to tap another general to head the Secret Service and help reform the agency and impose more rigorous and even-handed discipline, according to two knowledgeable sources.
The announcement is expected in the next week.
There have been a lot of serious security lapses recently. The most serious of these was when a fence jumper was able to walk around the White House South Lawn for nearly 17 minutes without being detected.
In addition, the Secret Service has suffered a string of embarrassing mistakes over the past month. In one, a special agent had her laptop with floor plans for Trump tower stolen out of her car in Brooklyn overnight. In another, two senior agents took photos of Trump’s sleeping eight-year-old grandson.
There are other concerns as well:
The Secret Service in recent years has a recent history of uneven punishment. Agents and officers describe a “culture of corruption” in which senior officers close to the 8th floor at headquarters, where the top managers have their offices, often escape the same disciplinary measures rank-and-file agents and officers would for similar misconduct.
The uneven discipline and tight-knit atmosphere at the agency has contributed to severe morale problems that have led to an exodus of agents and officers to other government agencies.
It’s no wonder Trump wants some new blood in the mix. Someone who will actually take the job seriously.