The Secret Service Scandal on the Presidential Trip to Columbia
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- Narrative Summary of the Case
a) Summary of the Case
Scandals arise every so often. It matters not where one is in this world. Human is to error. However, if a person can be able to avoid a scandal, it is better to do so. It will save the country a lot of money and time. There is a crop of sadists who argue that scandals create jobs since in most cases tribunals are formed. There are people who are employed in these tribunals either directly as judges and lawyers or indirectly as the support staff. However if we compare the number of people who lose jobs because of the scandals, they are a lot more than those who gain the jobs. It is, therefore, far much better to avoid the scandals if possible. Scandals have been with us for quite a long time. In the olden days when scandals arose and once the people vindicated in the scandal were found guilty, they were treated as outcasts and in some cases chased out of the community.
In this particular scandal, the president of the United States was going for a trip in Cartagena Columbia. As is the norm, the Secret Service had to go with him or ahead of him in order to guarantee his security. The secret service did go and since there had been some cases of security threats, the secret service officers who went had to make sure that the president Barrack Obama’s security was tight. However, once the security service agents were there, eleven of them went in search of prostitutes (Thomas, 2012). This was not good for the security of the president. It was actually compromising the security. It was very possible that terrorists could use the prostitutes as bait in order to get to the secret service agents, subdue them and increase their chances of getting to the president. Later that same evening there were some minute explosions in that city. Therefore, it was very ill and risky for the secret service officers to go looking for prostitutes. Furthermore, these officers were married and it was disrespectful of them to be unfaithful to their wives. Their wives were at home waiting for them and they did not deserve that at all. The secret service officers were relieved of their duties and their positions taken over by other people.
b) Key Actors and their Roles
The parties involved in this case are several. The very first person in the list is the president of the United States of America. He is involved in this case since it is his security that was compromised (Thomas, 2012). The Secret Service was also a central figure in this case. It is the secret service that had been accorded the responsibility to ensure the president’s security. In this trip, the situation was no different as the secret service was supposed to ensure that the president gets to Cartagena Columbia, stays there and comes back safely. In order to implement its security policy, the Secret Service needs to have its foot soldiers. These are its agents who were actually responsible for the president’s security. It is some of these officers who were construed in the scandal. Therefore the case had three main actors: the president, the secret service and the secret service agents who committed the actual crime. Each of them had a role to play either directly or indirectly.
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c) Central Problems
There are two central problems in this case. The first problem is security. The security of the president of the United States of America and therefore, the security of the entire country was at risk. The prostitutes posed a threat in the sense that some people with malicious intentions could use them to penetrate the Secret Service and this would result in almost all the secrets on American security being known (Thomas, 2012). It would make it very easy for an enemy to attack the country. Also, if the security of the president was compromised, he would not be at a very good position to make decisions as an enemy would use that loophole to strike.
The other issue that is also at risk here is the credibility of the secret service. With such a scandal hitting the agency directly, it would be quite hard for the agency to prove that they can be trusted with the president’s security. Before any person or agency can be given that contract, it would take quite some time. Furthermore, the families whose members work in the Secret Service would also lose credibility with them. It would not be easy for the other family members to trust them since their colleagues had earlier been associated with prostitutes.
- Identification of Case Problems and Issues and Application of Public Policies to Related Case Problems and Issues
This is not the first scandal involving extra marital affairs. In 1998, the then president of United States, Bill Clinton also found himself in the same position. He was being accused of having an extra marital affair with Lewinsky. It was a hard time for him and he tried all that he could to clear his name. It was in vain as it led to him being impeached by the senate (Clinton, 2005). He had a fair trial to explain himself. The evidence to the extra marital affair was presented by a friend of Lewinsky whom she had confided in. She had secretly recorded their conversations. A sworn affidavit which Lewinsky had taken was therefore overridden by the new evidence that was presented. There is no way the senate could not find it as true and evidence enough to prove that indeed president Bill Clinton had had an extra marital affair, thus he was forced to leave office. It was embarrassing for him but it was a matter of public policy and he had to do it. Luckily for him, his wife, Hillary Clinton, stuck by his side all along and are still together up to today.
Back in 2011 there was a scandal involving another security agency; the Federal Bureau of Investigations. An FBI agent had shot a man dead in Honolulu (Thomas, 2012). There was no evidence to prove that the man had wronged him. To the court he had just shot a man dead for nothing. He was therefore, found guilty and sacked from FBI, and jailed for life. He was supposed to be aware of the consequences of his ation and should have thought twice before doing so. It may seem just like a normal crime when a man shoots dead another man. But it is no ordinary case when the man who perpetrates the crime is an FBI agent; the one who is supposed to protect people from such harm. He had to be an example to the rest so that no one would ever repeat such a crime. If all the security agencies behaved like rogues because they had the privilege to carry guns and were at liberty to use force to stop a crime, then United States would be at a hullabaloo. They would shoot anybody whom they would disagree with on very diminutive matters.
In both cases, the president and the FBI agent were forced to vacate office. Since the president had not committed a crime per se; he was just setting a bad example to the American people, and was used as leverage for engaging in extra marital affairs. Lewinsky had consented he had committed no crime and was thus to leave office only. It would have been a different story all together had the former president Bill Clinton raped her. He would have not only left office but would have been sent to jail as well. The FBI agent had committed a crime. He had killed a person. It is against the American law to take away the life of a person or for a person to take away his own life. So, when the agent killed the man, he committed a very grave crime punishable by death. There were other avenues through which he would have sought justice if the man had infringed on his rights. It would have taken longer but finally justice would have prevailed. He would not have been sent to jail. He now has to suffer two times; the wrong that the man had done to him and serving his jail term for exterminating the man.
- Alternatives for Action
There are several alternatives that would be available to those men who committed crime.
a) Alternative One
The very first alternative was to remove them from office and ensure that they do not join any other Secret Service either in the United States or any other country in the world. The security of the American people is paramount and it would be very important to put people who understand the importance with which the matter should be treated at its helm. The eleven officers were not serious as the law requires of people working in the security docket. It would ensure that such a thing never happens at any other time.
b) Alternative Two
The fact that it was not one, but eleven officers, who were involved in the scandal of prostitution, shows that there is something wrong somewhere. Either all the officers were in a conspiracy or something was wrong with the Secret Service policies. There is no way that eleven sane men would all go to twilight girls all at the same time. Maybe the working environment at the Secret Service was not conducive for them to meet with their families. Agents are also human (Ellet, 2007) and they should be allowed to meet their family once in a while in order to satisfy their human needs. It is possible that the Secret Service management was very tough on them, and that was a way of airing their grievances. If the avenue through which they could have properly aired their grievances was full of corruption and could not be trusted, then they were bound to react in the manner in which they did.
Such officers should not be fired. Instead they should be suspended and there should be a commission which can be convened either by the management or the government. The mandate of the commission would be to look into the interrelationships in all Secret Service agencies of the United States and try to establish whether officers are indeed happy with their jobs. If they are not happy, the commission should try as much as possible to get to the root cause of their unhappiness. Once they have established the cause, they can now try to find out how they can alleviate the situation and also make sure that the other Secret Service Agencies do not trend down the same road like the affected Secret Service.
c) Alternative Three
The last alternative would be to assume that human is to error and there is no human being who is perfect. Many people do commit crimes and go unnoticed. The vindicated officers are not the very first to get prostitutes neither will they be the last. It is therefore, justified to treat them as other human beings would be treated. They should not be crucified for crimes that every other human being can commit. Prostitution is neither legal in the United States nor in Columbia. It is a reeling menace that both governments try to fight; a war which they have not won so far (K.Yin, 2009). It would appear as though they are supporting prostitution. However, since it was the very first time and knowing how men easily fall prey to them, it would not have hurt anything to forgive them and give them a stern warning never to do that again.
There are opportunists in every society and the United States of America is no different. They are bound to commit the same vice that the eleven officers committed and state expressly that they should also be forgiven as the others. When such an issue comes up, it should be treated with the seriousness it deserves. They should be banished completely from the Secret Service agencies of United States. The Secret Service should also make sure that it has circulated some memos to all its agents. It should state that such behavior should not be condoned. In addition to that, the rules that had been set up by the commission should now be applied to that crop of people who are trying to take advantage of the Secret Service Agencies. Once they do this, no person will come up and try to take advantage of the Secret Service again.
- Selection of Recommended Alternative
The method to be used is to be selected by a group of ten people from multiple disciplines. Two from the national seecurity docket, two from the Secret Service agencies coordinating, two from the affected Secret Service management, and two employees from the secret service agencies. They would consider all the three alternatives and choose the best that suits the case based on a certain criteria. The criterion follows in the next paragraph.
The criteria used to evaluate these methods revolve around three things. First of all, the method chosen should not in any way try to patronize the security of America. Security is paramount and no person or institution within the United States should compromise it. Therefore, the method chosen should ensure that security comes first and is enhanced if possible. The second thing is to ensure that all parties to the case are properly taken care of (K.Yin, 2009). This would ensure that all opinions and perspectives of the case are also taken aboard due to the principal of equality. It would also ensure that the decision arrived at is both satisfactory and best for the parties involved. The third aspect of the criteria is to ensure that the method does not in any way compromise the autonomy and working of the Secret Service. The method, as a solution to the case, should not interfere with the smooth running of affairs in the Secret Service.
The recommended action which favorably suits the above criteria is alternative two. That is to appoint a commission that will look into the matter impartially with no interest in the parties to the group. That way, everybody will be well represented. The security of the United States will be looked into. Then the method ensures that the autonomy of the Secret Service agency is maintained. Before the commission comes into play, the employees who have been involved in the case should be suspended. This will give the commission all the space it needs in order to come up with a solution to the case. If the employees were to be left to continue working in the secret service they would use the opportunity to maybe threaten anybody who has evidence against them. That way, they would have compromised the autonomy of the secret service. Also, ensuring that they are suspended is a way to ensure that the independence of the body implementing the recommended is maintained. If they become part of the Secret Service while the investigations are taking place, they would have access to the Secret Service resources such as the system, and they would use it to make sure that any evidence against them is not found. Thus, alternative number two best suits the criteria.
- Implementation of Recommended Alternative
a) Implementation Plan
The management of the secret service will appoint into place a commission of seven officers. The number, seven, is very important in that it ensures that at any one time there is no tie in making a decision since the number is odd. Also, it is huge enough to ensure that sufficient votes are taken and that the decision is close to what majority of the people would want (Kessler, 2009). The commission will start to look into the documents since the tour was planned. It would get a copy of all conversations that took place in the Secret Service premises, both in audio and video.
After obtaining everything they need, the commission would now call the eleven officers one by one. They will come and face the commission. Anyone of them who has got witnesses will be asked to bring them in. This would be sessions of around five hours each. Only two officers would face the commission per day. There will also be assurance that none of the officers would come into contact with each other until the last one of them is visited.
The commissions will then get the prostitutes from Cartagena Columbia. They will also face the commission in sessions of two hours each. They will also be treated in the same manner as the officers in that they will not be allowed to be in contact with each other until the last one of them is probed.
Next in line will be the spouses of the officers. They will be asked questions by the commissions. And lastly, the employees, both top and the agents themselves, would face the commission.
After all those parties have been investigated and the commission has gotten enough information to make a decision, the commission will come up with the most satisfactory decision that they can make. A satisfactory decision is one that will take into account all the information given by the parties.
The most likely obstacle that the commission will face is how to identify the prostitutes who had slept with the officers. It would also be difficult to convince them to come to the United States to give evidence. The officers can give the name of the place where they found the prostitutes and they can be traced from there. Then the officers of the commission can go to meet the “women” there in Cartagena Columbia instead of asking them to come (Thomas, 2012).
c) Evaluation plan
The evaluation plan will involve three types of people. The first group will be the officers who work in the Secret Service. The commission will try to find out if they love their work more and whether there are good working relations between the employees in the organization. The second group would be the family members of the officers who work in the secret service. The commission will try and establish if they are happier as a family (Ellet, 2007). The third group will be the security docket. The commission will try and find out if they find the Secret Service more reliable and trustable. The methods of evaluation will be thorough observation and filling in questionnaires and interviews. The evaluation process will take place every six months for a period of two years from the day of the decision. The same officers who made the decision will carry out the evaluation process.
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