April 24, 2012

Obama refers to the Secret Service scandal as "a couple of knuckleheads."

Basically, the Secret Service "guys are incredible. They protect me. They protect Michelle. They protect the girls. They protect our officials all around the world... A couple of knuckleheads shouldn't detract from what they do. What these guys were thinking, I don't know. That's why they're not there any more."

44 comments:

rcocean said...

I remember when SS agents had class. In those days only JFK underpaid the hookers.

Oh for the good old days.

30yearProf said...

Now they are just policemen in expense account suits (boffing expense account hookers). Nice work if you can get it.

wyo sis said...

Oh, those goofy knuckleheads! They're so funny.

David said...

I'm sure the respect Obama gives to the good ones is deserved.

However in this job a few knuckleheads (and apparently there were more than just a few) can undermine the entire mission.

So the question is, how did these knuckleheads get there in the first place, and why weren't they weeded out well before now?

That's the question a leader should be asking.

Maguro said...

Boys will be boys, eh?

Rob said...

Sure, a couple...well, maybe more than a couple. But definitely knuckleheads, hardee har, har, har.

On this ONE thing I don't blame the President. However, how did we reach this pathetic state? These are the best people we can find?

You are guarding the President. In a foreign country. You should not even be TALKING to strangers, much less...you know.

Synova said...

And they were fired, just like Shirley Shirrod, so look somewhere else now, kay?

And maybe they should be fired, but seriously, this is the first response to anyone who is embarassing to the administration, if they deserved it or not.

It wasn't "knuckleheads", most likely, so has any effort been made to clarify policy about prostitution in other countries (sex workers were a major feature of the big old climate conferences in Europe, IIRC) and any effort made to find out how common this behavior is? No, it's just fire the guys and it will go away, see, they're gone, it's all over now.

They should either NOT be fired, or other administrative, leadership-action, is in order. Or they should not be fired, but should be reassigned or assigned training and the entire organization asked to clarify, internally, their policy for off-duty time at home and abroad.

rcocean said...

I'll say this for Clinton's SS agents, they never paid for prostitutes.

Interns for everyone!

edutcher said...

Isn't that what Meathead called Billy Crystal on "All In The Family"?

And it's more than a couple, but Barry wants this culture of government slugs screwing around on the taxpayers' dime because it's their money, not ours, but I'll bet he's looking over his shoulder a whole lot more these days.

Synova said...

"You are guarding the President. In a foreign country. You should not even be TALKING to strangers, much less...you know."

I don't think they were guarding the president. All I've heard was "advance work" or something. I'm assuming that they're scoping the place for a future visit.

And I'd think that talking to strangers, and even particularly low-lives, might be an essential, rather than a forbidden, part of that job.

JAL said...

Yup. It's Obamamath.

12 (and counting?)= "a couple."

A relative is a Secret Service agent. He is quite serious about his job. Even though he occasionally has to hang out with Biden.

Too bad these guys were such unprofessional jerks who put the interests of the USA at risk.

Maybe they can get work as dogcatchers.

John Burgess said...

Synova: The USG, particularly those parts that work overseas, have a catch-all policy of warning against behavior that 'may bring discredit on the USA.' Tangling with hookers, no matter whether they happen to be legal in any given country, is seen as a discreditable action. That's because sex workers are not legal in most of the world and are, therefore, likely to discredit their customers.

No federal employee misunderstands this. The only training opportunity here is "If you get caught, you will be fired." But as that was already in the lesson book, repeating it isn't likely to make an employee any smarter.

This is another of those 'WTF were you thinking!' moments. When they get caught, they damage the reputation of otherwise honorable bureaus, agencies, and departments. Same as the federal tax cheats and embezzlers. They didn't think for a moment what they were doing was right.

William said...

I can understand the President speaking in gentle terms about this. A wise leader does not publicly insult his bodyguards until after they have been fired.....I've seen the picture of the hooker involved. She's a lot better looking than that hotel maid in the DSK scandal. I take it as a matter of national pride that our mid level civil servants have better taste, if not discretion, than the head of the IMF.

William said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bender said...

has any effort been made to clarify policy about prostitution in other countries

It says something -- something really bad -- that this Administration should need a policy against this. In any decent professional organization of even miniscule integrity, agents naturally would not even think of doing such things, they would not need to be told not to.

SteveR said...

"knuckleheads" is downplaying it a bit. Even though not directly guarding the President, they were on official business. If you've ever had any security clearances with the government, this was way beyond knuckleheaded.

rcocean said...

"A relative is a Secret Service agent. He is quite serious about his job. Even though he occasionally has to hang out with Biden."

Talk about a meaningless job. Who wants to assassinate Biden, I mean, other than English teachers?

Sorun said...

If every American man was condemned who had screwed a foreign "bar girl" (or whatever), while collecting a federal paycheck, the American race would be extinct by now.

Sorun said...

Oh yeah, and that includes me.

Carl Vero said...

There was a Knucklehead pub SW of Waukesha, WI, some years ago; voluptuous waitresses who treated bikers really nice.

Penny said...

nyuk nyuk nyuk

Odds are... President Obama's one of the Pep Boys!

Penny said...

Unless you prefer that he's Curly in the Three Stooges?

wyo sis said...

But, above all the pro should be attractive. Our national pride is at stake here. Sheeesh, get your priorities straight.

Penny said...

So?

Curly or Jack?

Synova said...

"No federal employee misunderstands this. The only training opportunity here is "If you get caught, you will be fired."

In which case the real rule is "don't get caught."

In any case... I would far rather the president had said, "Hiring prostitutes is specifically against the rules even where prostitution is legal. (and if it was illegal in this place, I don't know if it was) Those men broke the law and are no longer working for the secret service."

What's with "Har, Har, Knuckleheads, Har?"

That's not any more *serious* than getting drunk and having a party and trying to stiff the escort.

And Obama does tend to fire anyone who gets some bad press, if they actually did anything wrong or not, as if that makes a problem go away.

I don't believe for a moment that anything new or different than "don't get caught" was communicated by that.

Kchiker said...

"And Obama does tend to fire anyone who gets some bad press, if they actually did anything wrong or not, as if that makes a problem go away.”

Everyone else is discussing Obama’s attempt to ‘speak in gentle terms’ about this. You are wayyyyyyy off in left field citing this an example of how Obama likes to fire people.

Oh, wait....

EDH said...

Knucklehead Smiff Gets Fired!

Winch tries to help Knucklehead fill out papers for unemployment insurance, so that he can still get paid while the show is on summer hiatus.

"But Knucklehead, you're not fired."

MayBee said...

He's not paying for them, so what does he care if we have to pay for 20 knuckleheads to go for weeks at a time and close down hotels and roads? As long as there are enough good ones, too, he's ok.
Not his dime, not his problem.

MadisonMan said...

He sounds like my Dad in that quote.

Jay said...

20 people, including supervisors, are a couple of knuckleheads now?

More like a culture in this Administration:

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Tuesday three Marines on a U.S. Embassy security team and one embassy staff member were punished for allegedly pushing a prostitute out of a car in Brasilia late last year after a dispute over payment.

The incident is similar, but unrelated, to the scandal involving Secret Service agents at the Summit of Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, before President Barack Obama arrived for a visit.

Panetta, speaking to reporters in Brasilia, says the Marines were pulled out of the country. Two had their ranks reduced. The embassy staffer was removed from his post.


Remember, the buck stops with Bush!

Paul said...

And now many of those 'ladies of the night' were paid SPYs from China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, etc....

Ever hear of a 'Honey trap'? It's were spy's get a joe in a compromising position and they extort information from them. It's done all the time.

And they were just a couple of 'knuckle heads'? The president is just full of it.

tim maguire said...

"knuckleheads" is a typically Obamian unpresidential word choice, but I think his point and theme are right.

He needs to publicly support the people who have pledged to take a bullet for him (lest we forget, their job is to protect the life of the president even at the cost of their own) while privately cleaning house.

Peter said...

If you're the Emperor, it's best to praise the Praetorian Guard.

prairie wind said...

This president...does he think seriously about anything?

leslyn said...

He struck "just the right tone."

And Bender, they don't have to write into the conduct and values policies, "And that includes prostitutes too!" Never heard of such a thing, and I doubt that it exists here.

Joe said...

One thing I've learned in life is that when there are systemic problems with underlings, there are systemic problems with management. The reverse is also true; if you see management misbehaving and, among other things, not taking responsibility, it is inevitable that you find the same attitude permeating amongst the employees lowest on the ladder.

There will always be bad apples in any organization, but this corruption is endemic in government and both parties are responsible.

DADvocate said...

Obama's such an idiot. The knuckleheads are mixed in with the good ones, and he has no way of telling who's who. He needs to take a more serious tone rather than sound like a mother trying to excuse her kids behavior. Oh, you little knucklehead!

TheCrankyProfessor said...

How many Secret Service agents are there if THAT many men can be identified as "a couple"??

Roger J. said...

As others have noted, this issue does not reflect on Mr Obama--while I think his response was a bit foolish, this lapse is not of his making. There are times when Mr Obama need to keep his mouth shut--this was one of them.

ndspinelli said...

The prez is just stealing Mike Wilbon's signature line.

ndspinelli said...

You know the prez watches Wilbon regularly. Knuckleheads has been kept alive by Wilbon, nobody uses it anymore.

ken in sc said...

I know Synova has mentioned on other threads that she spent time on Clark Air Base in the Philippines. I'm betting she did not hang out much at the Fire Empire, Blue Diamond, or even the Red Baron. Those that did think this whole kerfuffle is ridiculous. There are people in government service who volunteer for foreign trips just for the opportunity to do this sort of thing. A house cleaning that would put an end to it would wipe out most of some federal agencies.

Synova said...

Ken, I will admit that I never went to, oh, the Nippa Hut, or the really nasty places. But a person couldn't go to a bar that didn't have dancers, not even *on* base.

And it's impossible to not know what's going on anyway.

Synova said...

And any story that started with, "Hey! TDY to Thailand...."

Well!