The Secret Service will permanently remove a top special agent from her position after an investigation into her Facebook comments that she would rather not defend President Trump or take "a bullet" for him, but some agents are concerned she will simply be transferred to another government job.
About two weeks ago, the Secret Service placed the agent's prior post — the special agent in charge of the Denver District, the top job in that office — on a list of agency openings, according to two Secret Service sources.
Kerry O'Grady, the agent in question, is on administrative leave amid an internal Secret Service investigation into her Facebook comments about Trump.
Current and former Secret Service agents and officers are worried that top officials at the agency are working to shield O'Grady from being fired.
They are worried that she will be transferred to another division of the Homeland Security Department and allowed to serve out her time until she can retire with a pension as the agency has done with other officials in the public crosshairs.
In February 2015, Secret Service Deputy Director Alvin "A.T." Smith was forced to resign when the agency was under pressure from Congress after a string of security lapses. He was allowed to transfer to another position in DHS, according to an email that praised his 29 years of service to the agency sent to all staff.
Agents and officers are also questioning whether the agency's top brass tried to insulate O'Grady from any punishment. The Secret Service knew about O'Grady's Facebook comments in October when a whistleblower contacted the agency to notify it, sources told the Washington Examiner. But the agency did not launch an investigation until the Examiner reported on the controversial Facebook comments.
Roughly a month before Election Day in early October, O'Grady wrote that she would rather face "jail time" than take "a bullet" for Trump because she considered him a "disaster" for the country, especially as it relates to women and children. The post was written on her personal Facebook page late on a Sunday night.
In addition to other anti-Trump posts, on Inauguration Day, she updated her profile picture to an artist's rendering of Princess Leia with the words, "A woman's place is in the resistance."
"The resistance" has become a moniker for those opposing Trump's presidency.
In an interview and subsequent statements, she repeatedly told the Washington Examiner that the Facebook comments would not impact her ability to do her job and protect Trump.
Secret Service employees are among those federal employees subject to enhanced Hatch Act restrictions, including these two rules:
- May not post a comment to a blog or a social media site that advocates for or against a partisan political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group.
- May not use any email account or social media to distribute, send or forward content that advocates for or against a partisan political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group.
The Secret Service misconduct probe is focused on whether O'Grady posted the comments during work hours, according to several Secret Service sources.
Current and former agents and officers within the Secret Service community have called on the agency to fire O'Grady and not try to use a technical interpretation of the Hatch Act rules to allow her to remain on the job or working for the government in another capacity.
The premier association for former U.S. Secret Service agents, known as Old Star, in late January expelled O'Grady by rescinding her associate membership. The vote by its board members was unanimous.
The spouses for agents O'Grady oversees in Denver have been circulating an online petition addressed to former Director Joseph Clancy, calling on the agency to "act now and terminate" her.
Clancy left the agency in early March to retire before the investigation was over.
The Secret Service is facing a new spate of embarrassing incidents and security lapses that are drawing congressional scrutiny.
In addition to O'Grady's Facebook posts, the House Oversight Committee is investigating a March 10 fence-jumping incident in which an intruder strolled around the White House south lawn for 20 minutes before approaching a Secret Service officer assigned to the South Portico's back door, sources told the Washington Examiner on Friday.
The intruder, identified as Jonathan Tran, walked up to the back door and startled an officer, who didn't immediately think he was an intruder, and instead thought he was some type of contractor because he was wearing khaki pants.
Tran was carrying two cans of mace and at one point hid "behind a White House pillar," according to an affidavit by a Secret Service officer cited by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, in his Friday letter to the Secret Service.
On Friday, reports of another serious security breach surfaced. A laptop computer containing floor plans for Trump Tower, information about the Hillary Clinton email investigation and other national security information was stolen from a Secret Service agent's vehicle in Brooklyn.