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Virgin Martini (With A Twist of Lemon, Please)

April 29
21:49 2012
Dan Rudy

PORTLAND, OR

 

In response to last week’s Colombian peccadillos, the US Secret Service has announced a series of tighter regulations on the conduct of its agents.  Gone are the days of Felix Leiter and James Bond, belting back bourbons over cigarettes while staking out the brothels of Kingston’s backstreets.

The agency described the changes as “common-sense enhancements” of existing rules – “refinements of existing rules” governing employee responsibilities and conduct. Agents deployed on foreign assignments will in future receive briefings on arrival that include “off-limit zones and off-limit establishments”. Drinking within 10 hours of being on duty will be banned, as will allowing foreigners into hotel rooms, with the exception of hotel staff and official counterparts. At other times only “moderate” alcohol consumption is permitted. [link to the full story]

While laudable in spirit, these modifications fail to address the underlying cause of such self-destructive coping methods.  Over the past decade, agents have been increasingly removed from contact with civilians while on duty.  It is little wonder agents have resorted to problem drinking and ‘comfort women’, compensating for an isolation from the wider public as the institution of Free Speech Zones has become commonplace.  And now with last month’s passing of H.R. 347, agents are finding themselves not only isolated, but with very little to do by way of protecting their charges.
By happy coincidence, a friend of Adam and I from college has since joined the service’s ranks.  I gave him a call Friday, hoping to get his opinion on the changes; he sounded bitter.  “We just stand there, struggling to look busy.  There isn’t the element of danger I’d expected when I signed on.  Frankly, it’s disheartening,” he admitted, apparently drinking a plain soda water with lemon at the time.  “I’m considering joining the NYPD.  At least they get to beat up protesters.”
But the element of danger may be returning.  Both Florida and North Carolina have upheld the right to carry concealed weapons at the Democratic and Republican conventions later this year.  One wonders who will have more to worry about, security forces of would be assassins or conventioneers of feverishly detoxified and doubtless nervy agents.
Villainous wag and part-time blogger, Dan Rudy keeps a freshly-started site at sluffabout.com.

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