When a prostitue woke up an entire hotel claiming a Secret Service agent tried to rip her off, the responsibility to clean up the mess fell to Paula Reid, the head of the Secret Service's Miami Bureau. The Washington Post profiled Reid, tracing her rise through the ranks of the Secret Service, and how she's come to represent the opposite of the agency's old macho reputation.
The Secret Service's reputation has a questionable past, which the Post described as a "'Mad Men'-era" where agent's used to use the mantra "wheels up, rings off" while travelling on the job. A former agent speaking anonymously told the Post that, “If every boss was Paula Reid, the Secret Service would never have a problem [...] It would be a lot more boring, but never a problem.” The profile paints Reid as a no-nonsense hard worker who, according to another former colleague, can quote the agency's administrative manual "like fundamentalists quote the Bible." Reid told the Post that she's still working on the investigation, and sounds like it's taken straight from an agency handbook:
“I am confident that as an agency we’ll determine exactly what happened and take appropriate action,” she said in the interview with her and an agency spokesman. “Despite this current challenge facing the Secret Service, my job is to keep Miami personnel focused on our core protective and investigative missions. Anything less is counterproductive to the many critical functions we perform each day.”
Reid's been with the Secret Service for twenty-one years, and just recently became the head of the Miami Bureau office, which handles all of the Secret Service's South American assignments. When the news first broke that a prostitue was disturbing hotel guests because an agent tried to get out of paying her, the decision to act fell on her shoulders. She rounded up the eleven agents and, with approval from her supervisor, sent them home.
David Axelrod told CNN's "State of the Union" that more firings could be expected as the investigation goes on. Three agents were released on Saturday, and a total of six have been forced out since news of the scandal first broke.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.