Secret Service is an incompetent disaster

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Given the apparently bottomless divide separating Republicans and Democrats in Washington these days, anything the two parties agree on must be painfully obvious.

One such truth, apparently, is that the U.S. Secret Service is a mess and needs an immediate and drastic culture change.

This is the overarching conclusion of a scathing report issued Thursday by the bipartisan congressional probe of the inner workings of the Secret Service.

The arm of government charged with protecting the president, the people who want to be president and other top officials was described by House investigators as an "agency in crisis." That's an understatement.

Secret Service was once considered an elite protective force, but it has suffered a number of black eyes in the last few years, including humiliating security lapses and the exposure of scandalous and wildly inappropriate behavior by agents on duty.

The Secret Service has a vital mission, especially in this increasingly violent world and with a president who seems to evoke not just opposition but real hatred among his denouncers. This country needs to re-establish the world's best protective detail, whether by importing managers, increasing funding or both. It should do this now. Right now.

The world is not becoming any less violent in the coming year.

— The San Jose Mercury News


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