Secret Service, public disservice

Partying agents heap more disgrace on profligate government

The Colombia hotel at the center of the Secret Service prostitution scandal is declining comment, saying it wants to protect the privacy of its guests.

Finally! Someone with a little discretion!

This is the second historic, landmark, we’ll-always-remember-this scandal to rock the federal government in just a few weeks’ time.

First there were the revelations of wild, unabashed Nevada-casino partying by hundreds of federal employees at a General Services Administration conference in 2010. Now, an international incident, in which 11 Secret Service officers and nine or more military folks preparing the way for President Obama’s visit to Colombia have been implicated in a reckless night of strip joints and prostitutes.

The 11 Secret Service officers were sent home and had their security clearances revoked.

Reuters reported that the prostitutes were taken back to agents’ hotel rooms that also contained the president’s schedule.

America’s influence and prestige at the hemisphere’s Summit of the Americas was already clearly on the wane – with unprecedented challenges by other countries’ leaders of the U.S.’s insistence on leaving Cuba out. But this scandal made the U.S. a laughingstock, and no doubt has further eroded the country’s standing in the world.

The disgrace of a formerly proud Secret Service agency, and the country it serves, also is yet another disgusting peek at the unseemly underbelly of this federal government. One wonders why we should be surprised: Runaway spending begets wanton acts. And never before has federal spending been so out of control and so poorly overseen. Consider: The U.S. Senate has declined for three years now to even pass a budget. The secretary of the Senate recently revealed that this Senate’s time in session and its passage of laws and other measures is the second-lowest in 20 years.

They can’t even watch the numbers. How much are our leaders monitoring the culture of the government they head?

It’s so bad now that even the Secret Service is out of control.

One side note of interest: The hotel in Colombia charges $60 extra for overnight guests. Are taxpayers getting stuck with paying for the Secret Service’s hookers?

We may need to amend our earlier comment about discretion. Apparently the whole affair blew up after one of the agents refused to pay his overnight “guest” extra the next morning. That makes him, says editorial cartoonist Glenn McCoy, “the only employee of the federal government trying to cut spending.”

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