August 26 2013
The Latest Accessory: Secret Service Protection?
One of my pet peeves is people who use security details as status symbols. I once wanted to write a story on body guard chic.
The idea came to me after watching dogs sniff a ballroom in preparation for a speech by a governor of a medium-sized state.
It was before that unnamed governor became head of Homeland Security, and I apologize if there had been any reason for the canine fleet to scour the ballroom.
This is a roundabout way of saying I was delighted to see the Daily Caller’s piece this morning on “Earpiece Envy.”
The story raised a serious question: Why does presidential confidante Valerie Jarrett have Secret Service protection?
White House staff does not traditionally have Secret Service. Indeed, the Secret Service is primarily tasked with protecting the President of the United States.
The Daily Caller's Alex Pappas writes:
It turns out that some of her colleagues inside the White House are skeptical that actual, specific threats resulted in Jarrett’s protection.
“While a high-profile White House official — especially an African-American woman, such as Jarrett — could legitimately be considered a more likely target than most, several West Wing officials I spoke to were dubious there had been any special threats against her,” writer Mark Leibovich reported in “This Town,” a new book on Washington.
Added Leibovich of Jarrett’s White House colleagues: “They suspected, rather, that Jarrett asked the president to authorize a detail out of ‘earpiece envy.’”
In 2010 the Daily Caller reported that Jarrett and then-adviser David Axelrod, who has since left the White House, were being ferried to work by government drivers. This is unprecedented. In the past, White House employees, even high-level ones, have had to depend on their own resource to get to the office in the morning.
The Daily Caller in 2012 filed a Freedom of Information request to the cost of Jarrett’s Secret Service protection. So far, no info.
This says a lot about the sense of privilege prevalent in our new ruling class. They don’t want to drive to work like the rest of us, and they don’t really want to rub elbows with the rest of us. Since the New Class is filled with government employees, they also can demand and get things that in a corporate setting, where costs are evaluated with regard to profit, would not be feasible.
Unless there was some serious threat to Ms. Jarrett’s safety, Secret Service protection is wrong on so many counts: it is using the Secret Service as an accessory to serve somebody’s vanity. It is also asking the taxpayer to assume the cost of Ms. Jarrett’s vanity.