Issues

Secret Service to Investigate Agent Who Wrote She Wouldn’t Take a Bullet for Trump

Donald Trump
AP

The Secret Service is investigating one of its agents who wrote on Facebook that she would rather face "jail time" than "take a bullet" for President Trump.

The agency told the Washington Examiner this week that its Office of Professional Responsibility is investigating the matter.

Kerry O'Grady, the agent who heads the Secret Service's Denver office, posted on Facebook in October that then-candidate Trump was a "disaster" for the country, and that she would rather go to prison than "take a bullet" for him if he were elected president.

O'Grady was dismissed on Wednesday from the elite group the Association of Former Agents of the United States Secret Service, also known as Old Star, because of the derogatory post, the Washington Examiner reported.

The Facebook post initiated an investigation to find out if O'Grady wrote the anti-Trump message–in which she endorsed Hillary Clinton for president–while she was at work, which would violate the Hatch Act for Secret Service Agents. The act, which O'Grady also mentioned in her message, specifies that agents may not use social media or any email account while at work to post partisan views that either advocate for or degrade a candidate, political party, or political office or group.

"As a public servant for nearly 23 years, I struggle not to violate the Hatch Act. So I keep quiet and skirt the median," O'Grady wrote in October. "To do otherwise can be a criminal offense for those in my position. Despite the fact that I am expected to take a bullet for both sides."

"But this world has changed and I have changed," she continued. "And I would take jail time over a bullet or an endorsement for what I believe to be disaster to this country and the strong and amazing women and minorities who reside here. Hatch Act be damned. I am with Her."

O'Grady was responsible for the Secret Service's Denver district, and collaborated with Washington Secret Service teams to organize presidential and candidate trips to the Denver area.

For seven months O'Grady used Facebook as a platform to post about the election, endorsing Hillary Clinton and disparaging Donald Trump. O'Grady was friends with other agents on Facebook, and at least one complaint was filed to the office that handles Secret Service agent misbehavior.

In an interview with the Washington Examiner on Monday, O'Grady said that she would not let her views of Donald Trump affect her job.

"But I recognize that the agency is the most important thing to me. My government is the most important thing to me," she said. "I serve at the pleasure of the president, but I still have the First Amendment right to say things."

Two days later, the board of directors of Old Star unanimously voted to expel O'Grady, and sent out an email to all members to confirm her expulsion. They arrived at the decision after O'Grady attempted to log into the organization's website and was denied entrance, the Examiner reported.

"By 12:00N January 25, 2017, a motion was made by me and seconded and given to the Board of Directors to address the expulsion of Associate Member O'Grady…" Jan Gilhooly, president of Old Star, wrote. "[O'Grady] engaged in conduct deemed by a majority of the Board to be detrimental to the Association of the U.S. Secret Service."

"I urge all members to remember that this now constitutes a ‘Personnel Action' and as such the Agency is precluded from discussing certain information outside of their officials," he continued. "Thank you to all who made your feelings on this issue known."

The Secret Service announced that its main internal ethics body, the Office of Professional Responsibility, or RES, would continue to investigate the incident. O'Grady could be put on administrative leave.

The Secret Service issued a formal statement on Wednesday night:

In late 2016, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) referred allegations of an employee's social media post to the Secret Service for our review. An inquiry was conducted into the matter and action was taken.

On Monday evening, January 23, this same employee self-reported contact by a member of the national media regarding their social media posts. On Tuesday, January 24, the Secret Service contacted the DHS OIG who declined to take the matter for further review and referred the matter back to the Secret Service Office of Professional Responsibility (RES) for action. Currently, the Secret Service Office of Professional Responsibility (RES) is investigating the matter.

All Secret Service agents and employees are held to the highest standards of professional and ethical conduct. Allegations of misconduct are taken seriously and investigated.

Joseph Clancy, the director of the Secret Service, notified all employees of the formal investigation in an email on Wednesday, asking them for "patience while the RES conducts their investigation."