Secret Service: Report hints at ways to restore integrity of 'agency in crisis'

A combination of poor leadership and underfunding have greatly compromised the capabilities of the Secret Service, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform found.

Vanessa Pena/AP
A man jumps a fence at the White House on Nov. 26, 2015, in Washington. Numerous security breaches at the White House and several scandals involving agents prompted members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to declear the Secret Service an 'agency in crisis' on Thursday.

A new report released on Thursday by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform cast the Secret Service as an “agency in crisis,” and exposed more than 143 security breaches at facilities supervised by the agency.

The report outlines several key areas where the integrity of the agency has been compromised and where targeted reforms could lead to improvements, from understaffing and underfunding to insufficient screening of applicants and contractors. 

Numerous security breaches around the White House have prompted concerns about the agency's ability to protect the president. The report found that shortcomings in leadership combined with budget cuts imposed by Congress contributed to the lapses. The committee also identified instances when the Secret Service failed to adequately examine the history of armed agents and suggested that the roots of the problem could be traced to staffing shortages.

The committee's ranking Democratic member, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, said in lieu of the findings Congress should rethink recent funding cuts.

The Secret Service also has been dogged by a series of scandals in recent years, beginning with the 2012 prostitution scandal in South America involving several agents. Most recently, the US Department of Justice announced on Wednesday that a federal grand jury had indicted agent Lee Robert Moore for sending naked pictures of himself to an undercover police officer posing as a minor.

Some actions taken by the Secret Service since the 2012 prostitution scandal may indicate the agency is beginning to make changes to its internal practices.

Despite those efforts, "the Secret Service is in crisis," said Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R), who began an investigation into the agency in 2012.

"Morale is down, attrition is up, misconduct continues and security breaches persist," he said. "Strong leadership from the top is required to fix the systemic mismanagement within the agency and to restore it to its former prestige."

This report contains material from the Associated Press.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Secret Service: Report hints at ways to restore integrity of 'agency in crisis'
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today