It seems we've been laboring under a misapprehension.

We thought the U.S. Secret Service was an elite corps of highly disciplined agents whose mission was to protect the president and other high-ranking officials.

In recent years, they seem more like a pack of drunken frat boys turned loose on the world.

Clearly, the organization has problems with booze and rowdy behavior.

In recent weeks, the service tallied two more incidents of suspected alcohol consumption by agents on official trips.

In Miami, during a presidential trip, two counter-sniper officers suspected of drinking were involved in a car wreck.

More recently, an agent working a presidential visit to the Netherlands was found black-out drunk in a hotel hallway and had to be carried into his room by hotel employees. He had been out carousing until 2:30 a.m. with two other agents, all of whom were scheduled for work at 10 a.m.

Isolated incidents? If only. They are part of a lengthening pattern of irresponsible behavior.

There was that 2011 incident involving strippers in El Salvador. And a 2012 instance in which an officer was found passed out and drunk on a sidewalk in a Miami nightclub district.

But all of those pale in comparison to the Colombian prostitution scandal.

Two years ago, a dozen agents and officers were part of a drunken partying spree involving prostitutes at a Caribbean resort. Eight Secret Service employees were forced out of the agency and another may yet lose his security clearance.

The incident prompted soul-searching, an Inspector General report and promises the agency would be cleaned up.

Yet, it doesn't seem like the reforms have fully changed the ageny's culture. Some agents still don't seem to understand that the party's over.

 

—The Denver Post