The Party's Over at the Secret Service

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The Secret Service has put the kabosh on late-night alcohol benders and morning-after Facebook posts: The agency issued new policies governing alcohol and social media use this week in wake of the drunken prostitue scandal in Colombia five months ago. 

The new policy, obtained by The Washington Post, seems to target the kind of behavior most associated with collegiate life: Co-ed parties and over-sharing on Facebook. The two-pronged policy goes as follows:

  • Alcohol No alcoholic beverages 10 hours before clocking in for work and absolutely no drinking in the hotel once the protected person arrives. “Alcohol may only be consumed in moderate amounts while off-duty on a [temporary duty] assignment and alcohol use is prohibited within 10 hours of reporting for duty,” reads the policy. “Alcohol may not be consumed at the protectee hotel once the protective visit has begun.” 
  • Social media Now agents have to sign a nondisclosure agreement warning of termination of job or prosecution if personal information about the protected persons are revealed or sensitive security information is disseminated. 

The former policy is clearly aimed at the handful of agents who stayed up late partying with prostitutes in their hotel in Cartagena. (The agents implicated in the scandal lawyered up and tried to argue that they hadn't explicitly broken any existing rules.)

The latter policy, on the other hand, seems geared toward the online post heard around the world: When supervisory agent David Chaney joked on Facebook that he was "checking out" Sarah Palin while on assignment during the 2008 McCain-Palin campaign. (Chaney ultimately retired under pressure from the agency)

As the Post notes, it seems like there is still some wiggle room for heavy boozing ("Most of the men implicated in the Colombia scandal did not have to report for any work assignments until the next morning, many hours before Obama was scheduled to arrive") but much less grey area in terms of what's a fireable offense and what isn't. Party's over, folks. 

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