Secret Service May Have Partied Hard on Martha's Vineyard

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Fox News has a long, entertaining investigation alleging that members of the Secret Service have "partied like rock stars" while on detail with President Obama on Martha's Vineyard, suggesting that the bad behavior first revealed in the Colombia prostitution scandal wasn't unprecedented.

Some of the crazier anecdotes Winter offers include a few that just feel very Martha's Vineyard. Among them:

  • "Antique furniture was destroyed, expensive 'locally harvested' wide pine flooring was ruined and beer and liquor bottles were scattered throughout the property after agents stayed in the house."
  • "[P]olice responded to complaints about a truck parked half on the lawn, half on the driveway. Cops arrived, spoke to the Secret Service agents inside and, moments later, a half-dressed woman came running out." (Apparently the grave offense of parking on the lawn only scratched the surface.)
  • Glen Caldwell, general manager of a bar in Oak Bluffs, found a Secret Service badge and a list of emergency numbers on the floor after closing. The agent eventually came back for his things. Writes Winter: "'You didn't call any of those numbers did you?' the agent nervously asked, recalled Caldwell, who had not."

At this point, one seriously wonders just who was on vacation -- the Obama family, or their security detail. Still, none of this really reaches the level of scandal uncovered when the Secret Service agents got in a dispute with some Colombian prostitutes over payment and bragged to them about protecting the president. But as we noted then, that incident spurred the media to take a closer look and find that the Secret Service had made hard partying kind of a pattern. In fact, The Washington Post's Carol D. Leonnig and David Nakamura reported, there's a long history of bad behavior from the Service.

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Fox's story addresses events that happened before the Colombia incident, so while the tony setting makes for particularly interesting reading, it doesn't give us much information on whether they've effectively put a stop to this kind of behavior. And because Obama's Vineyard trip this year became a casualty of election year politics, the residents of Oak Bluffs* will have to wait at least a year, and perhaps much longer, to find out whether it's worth risking their wide pine flooring by renting to the Service again.

*Not "Oak Bluff" as the post originally had it. We apologize for the error. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.