Roybal-Allard: concern over Secret Service

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), the Ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, spoke at Tuesday’s Subcommittee hearing on the U.S. Secret Service’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2016. The hearing’s witness was U.S. Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy. Roybal-Allard delivered the following opening statement at today’s hearing:

“Director Clancy, welcome to your first appearance before the Subcommittee, and congratulations on your appointment as Director. I hope you will find us to be tough but fair partners in your efforts to make the Secret Service the very best it can be.

“The agency has endured significant criticism over the last several months – indeed, over the last few years – and, unfortunately, much of it has been justified.

“I, like Chairman Carter and others on the Committee, were disappointed to hear last week about yet another incident of potential agent misconduct. This time, the incident involved senior personnel, including a member of President Obama’s protective detail, who drove a government vehicle through an investigation scene near the White House, allegedly after consuming alcohol. Perhaps even more disturbing, if true, is an allegation that a supervisor overruled an initial decision by officers on duty to conduct sobriety tests.

“I applaud your quick notification of the Inspector General in this case, but I hope you won’t wait for the conclusion of the IG investigation to start addressing what went wrong.

“If the allegations of misconduct are accurate, I worry that they may be indicative of a larger cultural problem at the Secret Service. While we will certainly be discussing that incident this morning, I don’t want it to completely overshadow the good work that the vast majority of Secret Service officers and agents are doing every day.

“I saw that good work firsthand when I visited your Los Angeles field office last week. I was particularly impressed by the quality of a staff briefing in which USSS personnel were discussing the final security plans for the President’s visit to Los Angeles the next day.

“In the interests of time, I won’t elaborate on everything I saw, but I do want to highlight one program that the Los Angeles field office is implementing in a very impressive way: the Los Angeles Electronic Crimes Task Force. As you know, ECTFs are strategic alliances of law enforcement, academia, and the private sector, dedicated to investigating and deterring cyber-crime. It is a “round table” concept comprised of local, state, and federal law enforcement partners.

“The ECTFs facilitate collaborative investigations through the exchange of information, shared assets, and common strategies. This month, I am proud to say that the LA ECTF was selected out of 80 nominations to receive the 2015 Centurion Award for Excellence in Investigations from the Peace Officers Association of Los Angeles County.

“Director Clancy, we stand ready to help the Secret Service regain the respect it deserves for the good work done every day by your dedicated officers and agents on behalf of our country.

“Thank you for joining us this morning. I look forward to discussing your proposed budget for the coming year, as well as your plans to point the Secret Service in the right direction.”

 

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Published: March 19, 2015 - Volume 13 - Issue 49