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In the Line of Fire: Alles Out at Secret Service

Following the news of Kirstjen Nielsen’s departure as secretary at the Department of Homeland Security over the weekend, now comes word that Randolph “Tex” Alles—whom Donald Trump appointed as Director of the Secret Service shortly after he assumed office two years ago—is also getting the bum’s rush treatment.

Say what you will about the Trump administration, but at least it’s never boring:

The ouster. . .was not unexpected, and, in fact, was welcomed by most members of the law enforcement agency.

The sentiment at the agency is “good riddance,” they say. 

The Secret Service, which had operated as an agency of the Treasury Department since its formation in 1865, was folded into DHS as part of a massive reorganization of the federal government’s security apparatus in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Since that time, the Secret Service—which had been considered among the most elite of law enforcement agencies—has been criticized for faltering in its mission, particularly when it comes to the Protective Division.

Charged with guarding the lives of the president, vice-president and their families—along with dozens of other Washington dignitaries—the Protective Division has become mired in scandals that have tainted the agency’s image and called into serious question its basic competency. From allowing uninvited guests to crash a White House Party to allowing a self-described schizophrenic who had once been charged with murder to stand next to the president, the Secret Service hadn’t exactly distinguished itself—and that’s not even taking into account agents from Barack Obama’s advance team getting caught banging hookers down in Cartagena.

With all this dysfunction so widely known for so long, one would think that serious and immediate fixes would have been at the top of any director’s to-do list, but apparently not:

“Alles seemed more interested in making friends with agents than fixing the problems that plague the once-proud agency,” according to agency sources. “He proved to be the exact opposite of what was needed to reform the agency.”

Wait, there’s more:

Alles not only retained the same senior management that produced so many scandals, he did nothing to change the agency’s culture that has led to those scandals and the low morale that has resulted in a shockingly high turnover rate. 

That’s not to say that Alles didn’t bring any new ideas to the table. They just weren’t very good ones:

At one point Alles actually proposed saving money by withdrawing Secret Service protection of some Trump family members and some aides – unless they had actually received a threat. 

I’m guessing that was what finally convinced Trump to pull the plug on this guy—although to hear the official line coming out of the White House, you’d never know it.

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that Alles “has done a great job at the agency over the last two years, and the President is thankful for his over 40 years of service to the country.”

Translation: Don’t let the door hit you on the keister on the way out.

Word is that Trump was never really that keen on Alles, but hired him in deference to John Kelly, who was DHS secretary at the time and a close friend of Alles. With Kelly now gone after resigning as Trump’s chief of staff—and with a fresh Secret Service scandal erupting after a Chinese national was allowed into Mar-a-Lago carrying a USB drive filled with malware—there wasn’t anybody left to protect Alles, which probably made his removal inevitable.

So now we’re left to wonder if his successor, James Murray, will actually start doing the dirty work necessary to get the Secret Service back in fighting shape. As Murray will be the third new director to take the reins in just the last five years, however, it’s a safe bet that such an undertaking will not be easy.


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