Key members of Congress are weighing dramatic changes to the embattled Secret Service, including moving it out of the Homeland Security Department and changing its mission, the Associated Press reports. Lawmakers are assessing how to improve the agency after a series of scandals, including a White House break-in last month by a man with a knife. Agency director Julia Pierson resigned amid the controversy, but lawmakers are promising they’ll continue their focus once Congress reconvenes after the Nov. 4 midterm elections.
One suggestion for improving the Secret Service involves moving it back into the Treasury Department, where it was for decades until the creation of the Homeland Security Department following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. Some current and former Secret Service agents trace the decline of morale and performance at the agency to its move into DHS, which they say shoehorned the trim and well-functioning Secret Service into a snarled bureaucracy where it became management-heavy and had to compete for funds with other law enforcement entities. “The Secret Service was essentially allowed to run its business unencumbered, with lack of interference,” said ex-agent Dan Emmett, author of a new book on the subject. “Then this monstrosity of a department called DHS was created, and the Secret Service was unceremoniously ripped from Treasury where it had operated so efficiently.”