At some time the title phrase must have crossed the mind, if not the lips, of a Secret Service slacker who did his or her business in the restroom on presidential candidate Mitt romney’s chartered Campaign jet –and departed, leaving his or her gun behind.
The weapon, presumably left behind in the bathroom by accident, was discovered by a CBS News/National Journal reporter, who alerted a flight attendant about the gun. A member of the Secret Service on board the plane was informed and retrieved the gun.Romney has traveled with Secret Service protection since early February and has an armed detail assigned to him at all times. His wife, Ann, was just assigned her own detail – albeit a smaller one – last Friday.
The exact make and model of the pistol abandoned by the careless special agent is unknown; the CBS reporter wasn’t able to ID it beyond “black and scary.” The Secret Service once used Smith and Wesson .357 revolvers, but adopted SIG 226 (9mm) and later 229 (.357 SIG) pistols in the 1990s, and have been reported by credible sources, but not direct from the Secret Service anywhere we can find, to also use the FN FiveSeveN pistol and P90 PDW in the low-intermediate 5.7 x 28mm caliber. Currently, they are in the throes of exchanging the 229s for the 229 DAK variant, a less accurate double-action-only version of the pistol that is beloved by police managers with little confidence in their officers’ gun-handling, and no interest in training their way out of the problem.
Secret Service agents receive much more extensive firearms training than other Special Agents, at an add-on course after their basic Criminal Investigator training, but that hasn’t translated into a superior safety record. In April, 2007, a couple agents clowning around with guns at the White House wound up hospitalized when one of them had a negligent discharge. There were no lasting, career consequences to either agent.
in a well-run organization (for example, in a Tier 1 special-operations unit), these would be firing offenses, and in any organization, negligent discharges or loss of weapon should be dismissal-for-cause offenses. But the Secret Service, just like all the other federal agencies, does not take gun safety or accountability seriously. The 2007 negligent shooter wasn’t fired, and the SS has already closed ranks around the individual, reportedly a supervisor, who abandoned a sidearm in the charter jet crapper:
Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan told CBS News/National Journal in a statement: “We are aware of the incident. We take the care and custody of our equipment, especially firearms, very seriously. We will deal with this matter internally and in an appropriate manner.”
Note: 1. they haven’t named the irresponsible agent; 2. they haven’t fired the irresponsible agent; 3. Donovan has issued a bunch of empty platitudes (“we take…[this] very seriously”) while 4. actually stonewalling the media. The agency’s action, or more accurately, inaction, contrasts sharply with Donovan’s empty words, and illustrates why newsmen come to distrust such official spokesmen. (In Donovan’s defense, he probably has been stonewalled himself and all he can do is sling platitudes and lie about the Service taking it seriously). The person in question will be removed from the Romney detail, a temporary awshit will go in his (her?) file, and if the person in question is a favorite of management, another plum assignment will be coming after a “decent interval.”
The Romney detail is reportedly not a happy place inside the US Secret Service, in part because agents and support personnel are being debriefed by polirical appointees for nuggets of information useful to the Obama campaign, driving a wedge of distrust between the detail agents and Romney’s staff. This latest bonehead stunt, and the Service’s failure to make an example of the miscreant, won’t help.
This certainly casts a new light on the Secret Service insisting on disarming local police and US military personnel in the presence of the New Nobility that they protect from the peasantry.