Secret Service horndogs dominate Sunday morning news shows

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Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins (sporting a new hairstyle), told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that "it defies belief that it's just an aberration. There were too many people involved. If it had been one or two, then I would say it was an aberration. But it included two supervisors. That is particularly shocking and appalling."

Although a few Republicans (such as Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions) have seized on the story as a way to score points against Barack Obama, most Republicans realize the argument is pretty absurd, as these are the men and women whose job is to take a bullet for the president.

But on Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace asked Joe Lieberman if there was a cultural problem at the Secret Service, referring to a retired supervisor named David Chaney who posted a picture of himself guarding former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin on Facebook with a post, "I was really checking her out, if you know what I mean."

WALLACE: Which raises the question ? and again, I don't know if you are just asking questions or whether you found anything out ? was this isolated incident or, in fact, is an indication that Secret Service agents have acted inappropriately before?

LIEBERMAN: Right now, I don't know. But that's a really important question to ask. And our committee is going to ask it. We'll go to a public hearing ? more than one public hearing when we feel we're ready to do so. We have something constructive to say.

But this is really important. People have said to me, it's hard to believe this was an isolated incident, just happened all of a sudden in Cartagena out of nowhere. I don't know.

But I'll tell you, when you are dealing with the life of the president of the United States, the continuity of our government, we've got to ask every possible question we can about whether there was evidence this was going on, or it should have been seen by the Secret Service and what can be done to stop it.

For instance, what are the regulations, the rules of conduct that are drilled in to Secret Service agents about what behavior is expected of them when they are on assignment but off-duty? That's very important. And I don't have the answer to that yet. But we're going to get it.

The Sunday chat show hosts also mixed in questions regarding the other D.C. scandal that has erupted over the past couple of weeks ? that one being at the General Services Administration, where it's been discovered that more than $820,000 was spent on a Las Vegas conference hosted by the GSA's Region 9 in October of 2010.

Wallace asked Lieberman about Sarah Palin's crack that Obama should be held responsible for both the GSA and Secret Service screw-ups..

The political independent, not running for re-election in 2012, said Obama should be held accountable, but not responsible.

LIEBERMAN: Well, I say that president ? it would be unfair to hold President Obama responsible for this outrageous behavior at the Secret Service and the GSA. But it is fair to hold a president accountable.

What do I mean? I mean, we have millions of federal employees. The responsibility for the abuse of authority at the Secret Service and the GSA really is the employees who did it and their supervisors.

But what do I mean when I say the president should be held accountable? The buck stops at the president's desk. He is the leader of our government. He now has to be acting with kind of relentless determination to find out exactly what happened and to make sure that people who work for him at the Secret Service and GSA and everywhere else in the government don't let anything like this happen again.

As somebody who spent a lot of my life in government, I get sickened by these kinds of stories from Secret Service and GSA. They don't reflect what I know to be the typical federal employees, but they do nothing but increase the cynicism that the American ? and anger that the American people feel toward their government. And that's just bad for our democracy.

  • This former Secret Service agent boasting of checking out the former VP candidate

There haven't been any real scandals in the Obama White House, much to the consternation of a certain segment of the Washington press corps, so perhaps it's not surprising that the reports that a Secret Service agent failed to pay a Columbian prostitute days before President Obama entered the country dominated the Sunday morning broadcast political talk shows (CNN's State of the Union, admirably, at least didn't lead off with this story).

Sure, it was the 44th anniversary of Earth Day, a perfect opportunity to talk about the environment, but that's not where these network producers' heads were at on Sunday.

So far 12 Secret Service agents and 11 members of the U.S. military have been implicated. Six agents, including two supervisors, have lost their jobs.

New York Congressman Peter King, chairman of the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee, said in an interview on Meet The Press that the investigative focus should not be on the moral conduct of the accused, but rather the national security vulnerabilities presented by the incident.

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