Saturday, April 28, 2012

Secret Service Issues Enhanced Guidelines

Slow spin the wheels of bureaucracy, but, inevitably, they do spin.  It seems the Secret Service has issued new “enhanced standards of conduct” to regulate the behavior of its agents on protective details overseas for US officials.
“Called Enhanced Standards of Conduct, the new guidelines given to all Secret Service personnel make clear that standards of behavior required in the United States apply on missions abroad, the sources said.
Effective immediately, the new standards require detailed briefings before each trip that will include safety precautions and any necessary designations of establishments and areas that are "off limits" for Secret Service personnel, the sources said.
Also in the new standards, foreigners are banned from Secret Service hotel rooms at all times, except for hotel staff and host nation law enforcement and government officials on official business, according to the officials, and all Secret Service personnel are prohibited from going to a "non-reputable establishment."
The new standards specify that U.S. laws apply to Secret Service personnel when traveling, rendering invalid the excuse that specific activity is legal in the foreign country, the officials said.
In addition, the new guidelines allow moderate alcohol consumption when off duty, but prohibit alcohol consumption within 10 hours of reporting for duty or at any time when at the hotel where the protected official is staying, the officials explained.
An additional supervisor from the Office of Professional Responsibility will now accompany the "jump teams" that bring vehicles for motorcades and other transportation, the officials said. Agents involved in the Colombia incident were part of such a jump team.”
Not bad.  It only took them a couple of weeks to come up with the obvious, although I see a possible problem.
If something is illegal in another country and legal in the US, does this mean US law supersedes local law?  I know, I know, local officials don’t give flying fart about US law, and if a Secret Service officer violates one of their laws, they’ll arrest him/her anyway.  But could that give an agent leverage on US officials to try to get that agent transferred to US custody and then transported to the US and released without charge?  I would be wary of the diplomatic consequences of such a case.  We’ve ticked enough foreign countries off with such arrogance in the past, I’d hope that the new “enhanced guidelines” make clear that such conflicts won’t occur.
Anyway, good to see that officials have responded with some good sense.

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