A Secret Service agent with an overdeveloped sense of sharing finds herself in hot water with her superiors after posting a note on social media that she’d “take jail time over a bullet” and refuse to protect Donald Trump if so assigned. CBS News reports this morning that the agency has already opened an investigation of Kerry O’Grady, and that they plan to take some sort of action soon:
CNN reported last night that the agency will take action soon on O’Grady:
The Secret Service said Tuesday it is taking “appropriate action” after one of its agents suggested on Facebook that she would not defend President Donald Trump should someone try to shoot him.
Kerry O’Grady, a senior agent in the Denver field office, made a series of now-deleted postings on Facebook during the campaign saying that she supported Democrat Hillary Clinton and that she would not honor a federal law that prevents agents like her from airing their political beliefs publicly. O’Grady deleted the posts shortly after The Washington Examiner reported them on Tuesday. …
The Secret Service said in a statement Tuesday that it could not comment on a specific personnel matter but that it was “aware of the postings and the agency is taking quick and appropriate action.”
“All Secret Service agents and employees are held to the highest standards of professional and ethical conduct,” the agency said in a statement. “Any allegations of misconduct are taken seriously and swiftly investigated.”
O’Grady appears to have learned a belated lesson on the value of silence. She refused to speak to CNN when they got her on the phone, and she wasn’t picking up when CBS called either.
Clearly the Secret Service has to take some action. They have to remain apolitical, at least at the level of the agents, in order to fulfill their mission to protect the leadership of the nation. Individual agents obviously have their own perspectives on politics; they don’t cease being American citizens or forbidden from casting votes. However, we simply cannot have them politicking for candidates in public forums, let alone threatening to allow one of their assignments to be harmed simply because they don’t like them or disagree with their politics. It’s insubordinate, and it’s dangerous to fellow agents as well as those they protect.
Should O’Grady get fired? Theoretically, it shouldn’t be the only possible outcome. The Secret Service has other missions than personal protection, as their website notes:
The Secret Service has primary jurisdiction to investigate threats against Secret Service protectees as well as financial crimes, which include counterfeiting of U.S. currency or other U.S. Government obligations; forgery or theft of U.S. Treasury checks, bonds or other securities; credit card fraud; telecommunications fraud; computer fraud, identify fraud and certain other crimes affecting federally insured financial institutions.
The agency could just punish her with a suspension and/or demotion in rank, and then assign her to other tasks than personal protection. However, O’Grady could have asked for those kind of assignments herself if she felt uncomfortable in providing protection to a certain individual, which is what she should have done rather than shoot her mouth off on line. That lack of judgment is certainly going to be weighed in determining how to handle O’Grady, as is the fact that she’d dragged the Secret Service into yet another embarrassing political controversy.
On the other hand, the Secret Service could just give her what she wants and assign her to Hillary Clinton’s detail, since she’ll have official protection for the rest of her life as part of the security for former president Bill Clinton. According to at least one former Secret Service agent, that might be punishment enough. Be careful what you wish for …