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December 20, 2013

Thompson Statement on Secret Service Report

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, released the below statement on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) report on the U.S. Secret Service (USSS). The report, entitled "Adequacy of USSS Efforts to Identify, Mitigate, and Address Instances of Misconduct and Inappropriate Behavior" (OIG-14-20) details 14 recommendations to improve USSS processes for addressing misconduct in the wake of the Cartagena scandal from 2012.

The OIG recommendations include several suggested actions that the Secret Service should undertake to reform its disciplinary process. The recommendations address basic concerns about policies to report and investigate employee misconduct allegations, procedures for proposing and dispensing discipline, compliance with Federal disciplinary regulations, compliance with DHS disciplinary principles, and fundamental changes to the operation of the Secret Service's Security Appeals Board. The Secret Service concurred with each of the recommendations and indicated that policies had been written to address the concerns. This report also raises concerns about the process and procedure used by the Secret Service and points toward the need to bring about an organizational culture that has fair procedures, standardized processes and uniform penalties.

"This report exposes long-standing problems with Secret Service management. I have written to the Secret Service about each of these issues on several occasions and raised these issues in meetings with former Director Sullivan. The Inspector General has revealed what we already knew – that the Secret Service does not have standardized practices in place for handling employee misconduct and discipline. The lack of consistent policy has led to an agency culture dominated by personalities instead of rules."

"I will continue my oversight of the Secret Service to ensure it follows through on all the recommendations in the report. Organizational change cannot occur unless the Secret Service begins to develop an open and transparent environment – and this report is a blueprint to achieve the desired change. However, change does not happen on paper – organizational reform requires that new policies are joined by consistent action and meaningful enforcement."

"I look forward to working with Secret Service Director Pierson and the new Homeland Security Secretary to bring change to the agency and fully incorporate it into the Department of Homeland Security."

Link to Report

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Media Contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978