A federal watchdog has sent the U.S. Secret Service a formal warning that its overworking of employees is jeopardizing security, citing the discovery that two Secret Service officers were asleep at their posts, the Washington Post reports. The inspector general who oversees the Secret Service issued a management alert, a formal designation that indicates investigators have found a problem so urgent or sweeping that it requires swift attention from senior management. “This alert describes officer safety issues that may pose an immediate or potential danger to U.S. Secret Service officers and those whom they protect,” the inspector general said. “We are concerned that the Secret Service's staffing and scheduling process does not ensure that officers receive adequate breaks while on duty and time off between shifts.”
The management alert stems from a routine check at facilities protected by the Secret Service, officials said. After radio failures when a fence-jumper got inside the White House in September 2014, auditors of the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General rode to various sites with Secret Service staff. They found one officer at an embassy post and another stationed at the White House complex who appeared to be asleep on duty. Secret Service leaders strenuously objected to Inspector General John Roth's conclusions that these incidents show a broader problem in the agency's work schedules. A Secret Service spokesman said the evidence shows an overtaxing work schedule was not the reason for the two employees' lack of alertness. In one case, the officer told investigators that cold medicine he took that day had made him drowsy. The other officer ostensibly had a very full work schedule on paper, but a large chunk of that was sitting and sleeping while flying back in a military transport plane from President Obama's trip to Kenya.