Friday, February 23, 2018

Secret Service agents' Dutch misadventures happened despite warning

As the U.S. Secret Service arrived in the Netherlands last weekend for a presidential trip, managers were already on alert to avoid any more embarrassing incidents involving agents.

Two counter-sniper officers had been involved in a car accident during a presidential visit to Miami two weeks earlier, several people with knowledge of the incident told the Washington Post. The driver was administered a field sobriety test because his breath smelled of alcohol, but he passed and was not arrested.

With that in mind, Secret Service supervisor George Hartford issued a warning to a group of agents gathered in Amsterdam on Saturday night: Go out if you want, but stay out of trouble.

But by the next morning, Hartford was pounding on the hotel door of a junior agent, 34, who had passed out drunk in a hallway, according to a hotel spokesman and two other people familiar with the incident.

The new incident, which unfolded in the hotel where President Barack Obama was scheduled to arrive the following day, prompted condemnation Wednesday from lawmakers in Washington. Sen. Ronald Johnson, R-Wis., said the agency has a "systemic" problem of rowdy and inappropriate behavior by its agents.

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