Tag Archive: Secret Service


“As far as I know, I’m the first press secretary in the history of the United States that’s required Secret Service protection.” – Sarah Huckabee Sanders

As a former press secretary – albeit one who served a mere state (e.g., California) – your author only once had concern about personal safety (e.g., anti-South Africa demonstrators at UC Berkeley).

As a message formulator/chief spokesman for a Republican governor, there were many in Sacramento (e.g., Maxine Waters) who did not care for the politics of my boss (Governor George Deukmejian).

Nevertheless, the author of Almost DailyBrett never worried about going to a California capital restaurant with family.

Presidential Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders can’t say the same, and that is a vivid commentary on our sad state of affairs, very sad.

Sanders was viciously attacked for her physical appearance and gender at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner. She was asked to leave the Red Hat restaurant in Lexington, Va., because she speaks for the president and holds a related political philosophy.

Some chastise Sanders for serving the United States. She is the last in a long line of presidential press secretaries, originating with Amos Kendall (worked for Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren) starting in 1829.

Each and every press secretary since (Kendall, slavery) has been embroiled in contentious issues of the day and adversarial relationships with the Fourth Estate. Having said that, none before Sanders needed Secret Service protection for her, her spouse and three young children.

There is no doubt the stakes are high and the vitriol is out of control (see CNN’s Jim Acosta storming out of the White House briefing center), but is the rhetoric worse than the fight over slavery?

Don’t think so.

Some may remember Reagan presidential press secretary Jim Brady being in the line of fire during John Hinckley’s assassination attempt against the president in 1981. Neither Brady nor his successors Larry Speakes and Marlin Fitzwater needed Secret Service protection.

Can’t Sarah Huckabee Sanders be free to joust with the media without any threat to her personal safety?

Praise From An Unlikely Source

“Would it be better if that (Red Hat incident) didn’t happen? I think it would.” — Bill Clinton

William Jefferson Clinton knows something about the job of press secretary.

Speaking to Comedy Central’s Trevor Noah, Clinton said he has “a lot of respect” for how Sanders deported herself in the wake of her and family being shown the door for purely political reasons by a restaurant owner.

There are some, including the aforementioned Maxine Waters, who urge activists to get into the face of public officials harboring different political philosophies and Weltanschauung.

Is the net effect of smash-mouth, in-your-face confrontation in public places against Sanders and others, unprecedented in American history? Maybe in modern times. At least we don’t have a latter-day Aaron Burr challenging Alexander Hamilton to a duel.

At least not yet.

Sanders last tweeted words about her banishment from the suburban restaurant should be required reading for all:

I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so.”

Sanders appears to have her heart in the right place, and yet she is the first press secretary to require round-the-clock Secret Service protection.

Does the fact she needs Secret Service officers at her side, and that includes her family, speak to Sarah Huckabee Sanders or does it represent something fundamentally wrong with our violent society (e.g., Rep. Steve Scalise shooting)?

Maybe we can embrace the notion of treating people respectfully, regardless of how they come down on the great philosophical divide.

http://fortune.com/2018/06/26/secret-service-sarah-sanders/

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/jun/26/sarah-huckabee-sanders-get-secret-service-protecti/

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/02/business/media/sarah-huckabee-sanders-jim-acosta.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/07/27/sympathy-for-sarah-huckabee-sanders/

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2018/08/02/sarah-sanders-blasts-trump-hating-media-and-exposes-their-blatant-bias.html

https://www.thedailybeast.com/bill-clinton-defends-sarah-huckabee-sanders-i-have-a-lot-of-respect-for-her

http://faculty.buffalostate.edu/smithrd/pr/pioneers.htm

 

 

…if you know what I mean.”

These were the last words of US Secret Service supervisor David Chaney’s career. They were plastered on his Facebook page as the cutline for a photo of him allegedly protecting Alaska Governor Sarah Palin from all enemies foreign and domestic in 2008.

chaneypalin

 

Chaney, 49, is now without a job and his wife and family cannot be thrilled with his behavior or his employment prospects.

So what are the lessons from the U.S. Secret Service scandal that simply will not go away?

One is that engaging in foolish behavior on social media (e.g. swimmer Michael Phelps and his bong pipe) is not just restricted to young Bo-Hoes. The digital-is-eternal mantra applies to all age groups, occupations, economic and education levels and demands that we think before we post. Chaney’s crowing about ogling Palin’s curves and using them as eye candy was included among other posts about his extramarital recreational adventures with scantily clad women attending his high school reunion and belly dancers in Egypt (All published in the New York Post).

If you are asking, “What was he thinking?” Well obviously he wasn’t.

The second lesson is captured in the first two-chapters of the New York Times bestselling book by Chip and Dan Heath, “Made to Stick.” When asking what causes a story, a concept, a tagline to adhere with the public like duct tape, the Heaths responded that an account must be simple and unexpected.

Let’s see: Secret Service guys and Colombian prostitutes? Yes, I can understand this combo without hurting my brain. This tale is quite simple, but it cannot be dismissed as a “boys will be boys” story. What is unexpected about this caper is that it involves the Secret Service with its motto, “Worthy of Trust and Confidence,” the elite protectors of US leaders, even those with ornamental value…such as Palin, campaigning for vice president four years ago.

chaney

Don’t we expect unquestioned integrity from the Secret Service, just as we demand the same from the Navy Seals or the Army’s Delta Force? The whole issue exploded when one agent offered a lady of the evening only $30 for her efforts, when she was expecting $800. Prostitution is legal in Colombia and she immediately complained about non-payment to the gendarmes, which brought investigators to the Hotel Caribe in Cartagena and shortly thereafter the story to computer screens and the remaining newsstands around the world.

Another lesson is this simple and unexpected story has “legs” and we are not talking about Palin’s wheels or those of the sex workers in Colombia. We are talking about embarrassment to the agency and the White House in a political year. We are talking about congressional committees. We are talking about marauding reporters. Simple, unexpected and a growing cast of characters with new news angles virtually every day all lead to a story with legs.

And it continued today as Connecticut Senator Joseph Liebermann summed it up: “The White House advance person knows exactly where the president is going to be at any time. If anybody thinking the worst wanted to attack the president of the United States, one of the ways he might find out the path that he would follow in Cartagena is by compromising White House advance personnel.”

Instead of strictly concentrating on protecting the nation’s chief executive in a historically dangerous country, some of our “wheels up, rings off” heroes were visiting the “Play Room” in Cartagena and bringing their special friends back to their Hotel Caribe rooms. Conceivably the president’s itinerary could have been spread out on hotel tables or even night stands. Think about it: This story could have been worse, much worse.

The advent of social media – blogging, webcasting, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Flickr, Pinterest and many, many more – allows us as communication choreographers to enhance an individual or organizational reputation and brand with unprecedented speed and extent in record time. These same tools can feed the human inclination toward negativity, destroying or severely harming a reputation and/or brand even faster.

Does David Chaney wish that he had never had typed those 12 simple words onto his Facebook page? Think of it, compose 12 words and you are toast.

Does the Secret Service agent with flexible morals wish that he had fully compensated his love rental for the evening instead of insulting her by only offering $30? One would think so.

Has the Secret Service taken a severe hit to its reputation and brand, one that may take literally years, if not decades, to repair? That is clearly the case…if you know what I mean.

http://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world/obama-briefed-as-secret-1423377.html

http://photos.denverpost.com/mediacenter/2012/04/photos-the-image-of-secret-service-agent-david-chaney-and-sarah-palin-is-denver-posts/33845/

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/dirty_little_secret_6QBSk49hscdXUEwqchjxJK

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/palin-drawn-secret-service-scandal/story?id=16179857

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/the-secret-service-had-the-worst-week-in-washington/2012/04/22/gIQAna6qZT_blog.html?wpisrc=nl_politics

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