Statements and Speeches

WASHINGTON - Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security, joined the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing, "Secret Service on the Line: Restoring Trust and Confidence."

For more information on the hearing or to watch a webcast of the hearing, please click here.

His statement follows:

The Secret Service has a long tradition of protecting the President, Members of the Cabinet, and visiting dignitaries with honor and distinction. Last month, however, the reckless and inexplicable behavior of a handful of agents in Cartagena, Colombia, left many Americans terribly disappointed in these agents and raised serious questions about the integrity of this critical agency. Today's hearing will provide an opportunity for the Secret Service to describe the steps it is taking to restore our nation's trust and confidence in this storied agency and prevent these types of incidents from occurring moving forward.

Few can doubt the sacrifices the brave men and women of the Secret Service make each day, but there is absolutely no excuse for the poor decisions that were made in Columbia. The misbehavior of the agents not only tarnished the image of the agency and the United States, it could have put lives and our national security at risk. With the vast array of threats our nation's leaders face and the presidential election in full swing, there is no room for error or misbehavior.

The incident that we are examining today raises many questions about the culture of the Secret Service, other possible instances of misconduct, and the policies governing the overseas travel of agents. Although the Secret Service did take immediate action to investigate the incident and hold those responsible accountable, the agency must also take a hard look at its policies and culture to ensure that there are adequate safeguards in place to prevent this type of activity from ever happening again. There must be better protocols established so we can be confident that our agents are always setting a positive example and acting with the highest integrity when they are representing the United States at home and abroad.

I look forward to hearing from Director Sullivan about the corrective actions he plans to implement to ensure the safety and security of our nation's leaders. I am also interested to hear from the Acting Inspector General about their comprehensive review of the investigation and what steps need to be taken to prevent this type of misconduct from occurring moving forward. Although I share our nation's disappointment in the Secret Service agents who acted inappropriately, I am hopeful that Director Sullivan and the Inspector General will take the steps needed to right this ship.

I would like to thank Chairman Lieberman and Ranking Member Collins for calling this hearing, and I look forward to working with them on the Committee's continued oversight of the Secret Service.

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