Sen. Joe Lieberman on Secret Service, GSA scandals
Key lawmaker on 'Fox News Sunday'
- Duration 14:27
- Date Apr 22, 2012
Key lawmaker on 'Fox News Sunday'
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Hello again from Fox News in Washington.
Investigators are still gathering evidence and that Colombians sex scandal to determine if it was a one time occurrence or something more.
So far 22 members of the Secret Service and military have been implicated.
And -- Secret Service agents have been forced out.
Joining us now to discuss where the controversy goes from here is senator Joseph Lieberman chairman of the homeland security committee.
Which oversees the secret services -- welcome back to FOX News Sunday Chris -- to be with you before we get to that subject is a report today that Iran has -- engineered that day US spy -- you can -- -- right here in the screen.
That apparently crashed in Iran -- that they captured last year and that the Iranians have begun building a copy.
As a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee if this report is true how significant is that militarily.
I haven't been briefed on other goals of this the first this morning with the announcement from here on -- heard about -- I would take it with some skepticism I think you.
There's -- there's -- history here of Iranian.
Particularly now oh -- when they're on the defensive because of our economic sanctions against them.
But look it was not good for the US -- -- -- went down in Iran and not good when the Iranians.
I grabbed it I I don't have confidence at this point that they're really able to.
Make a copy of it -- super sophisticated.
A piece of machinery and and has served our our national security well including.
I would guess being used to well look all over Iran.
Particularly bad areas where we have reason to believe that there.
Working on a nuclear -- right.
You have been getting briefed.
-- the Secret Service on its investigation into this sex scandal in Columbia.
Do you take what happened in Colombia and is there anything that.
Yeah I take -- I think.
What happened in Columbia very seriously.
And this is Secret Service -- there -- charged.
With the protection of of the life for the president and vice -- the United States and their families.
For what we know or what was happening and -- they were not acting like Secret Service agents that are.
Acting like a bunch of college students away on spring weekend.
And if it's more serious and just a frolic.
The history is full of cases where enemies have compromised people in security.
And beyond that.
And it just are much more practical way.
I don't think we want our Secret Service agents.
You know spending a lot of time drinking.
Bottles of black and president of women weren't before there are going on duty to protect the prison the United States aren't so this is serious let's run.
Through some of the key questions that people are asking that seem to be -- -- any evidence that these women from what you've been told and briefings any evidence that these women had access to.
Privilege secret classified information whether they actually used it or not.
And -- gonna give is not conclusive but from everything I've heard up until this point no there's no no no evidence that.
Information was compromised -- hear again.
If the if the Secret Service gets a reputation that -- off duty -- when they're on duty when they're on assignment an opportunity.
They're going to be acted like a bunch of college kids on spring weekend then people who are high style.
To the US people who may actually want to attack the prison -- the United States.
We'll Begin to take advantage of that vulnerability and that's -- I've begun.
With my staff and senator Collins -- -- were a member an investigation.
Not just this episode I wanna give.
The Secret Service director Sullivan its office of professional responsibility some space to conduct.
Its investigation of what happened in Cartagena but what we're we're gonna send them some questions this week is the beginning of our broader investigation.
Asking whether there was any whether this was an exception or there's anything in the records that -- this is a pattern of misconduct that has going on elsewhere by Secret Service agents on assignment.
But off duty why was and -- noticed that there was -- and what's the Secret -- gonna -- to make sure -- never happens again.
I want to ask you about that that the so called culture of the Secret Service because it turns out that one of the supervisors.
Who was allowed to retire a Fella named David Cheney posted a picture is and you can see it right here on FaceBook.
On FaceBook guarding Sarah Palin back in 2008 that's him.
Standing behind her there any posted this beneath it as you can -- I was really checking her out if you know what I mean which raises the question.
Again I don't know whether you're just asking the questions -- whether you found anything out was this an isolated incident or in fact is that an indication.
That Secret Service agents have acted inappropriately before.
Right now I don't know but but that's a really important question to ask him and our committee is gonna ask you will -- -- A public hearing -- more than one public hearing when when we if you were ready to.
To do so we have we have something constructive to say but.
This is is really important.
But as people said to -- it's hard to believe that this was an isolated incident just happened.
All of a sudden and -- out of nowhere I don't know but.
I'll tell you when you're dealing with those of the life for the president of the United States the continuity.
Of our government.
We we've got to ask every possible question we can about whether there was evidence this was going on and it should have been seen.
By the Secret Service and what can be done to stop it for instance.
What are the regulations the rules of conduct that are drilled into Secret Service agents about what behavior is expected of them.
When -- on assignment but off duty.
That's very important and I don't have the answer to that yet number but we're gonna get a couple of other quick questions again people are asking any evidence that any White House staffers.
Who were there in Cartagena were involved and it's.
Well there's no evidence for I don't know that this adventurous is actually investigating a question I saw that my college senator Chuck Grassley suggests.
The Secret Service -- of the inspector general.
Of the Department of Homeland Security the two.
Ask to -- to Begin to investigate whether any.
White House personnel including of course the advance teams that go ahead of a the president when he.
-- makes a trip either at home or.
IE if the White House asked me how to respond to senator Grassley is.
Inquiry or our request.
I'd say it's a reasonable question.
And that the White House ought to be conducting its own internal investigation.
White House personnel who were in Cartagena just to make sure.
That none of them were involved in this kind of inappropriate behavior I understand a White House advance person.
Is not doesn't have quite the same range of responsibility that a Secret Service agent does.
-- the other hand the White -- advance person knows exactly where the president's going to be at any time if anybody.
Thinking the worst one -- -- were -- the president the United States.
One of the ways -- -- find out the path that he would follow.
And -- is by compromising.
A White House advance personal so that's an important question and and the way to sort of the taking aggressors inquiry not defensively Britain making sure that the answer the question there's been one report one report that cocaine was found.
In the room of one of the Secret Service agents.
Do you know whether that's true or not I don't I don't.
It's about whether rules I've looked dead as of my staff and I begun to go over Secret Service rules there's a rule.
That a secret services and cannot be using what is described as -- -- toxic and we're within six hours -- one he or she goes on duty.
I want to go look at and and as I say the other rules of conduct.
That Secret Service agents are supposed to conduct and -- By if in fact.
They were adequately informed of those rules.
Do you still have confidence in Secret Service director Mark Sullivan especially given the fact that not only distance and and on his watch but also that he was running the agency.
Back in 2009 when not one but three people were able to crash.
President Obama's first state dinner.
Yeah I do you have confidence in March -- -- That I mean that was an unfortunate lapse I think he reacted to -- It was the fault of the Secret Service agents on the ground effective corrected that problem.
In the case of the of the Cartagena situation I think so under to -- and has acted with a sense of urgency and determination.
So that's what I would say today.
And I hope when we look -- what happened before -- -- the we will still be able to.
I have the same confidence in Mark -- They switched subjects and -- committee also oversees the General Services Administration is part of your governmental affairs.
How do you explain this wild overspending and -- them look at some of the videos here that have.
And all -- TV 823000.
Dollars for a conference.
A conference in Las Vegas the regional commissioner taking a seventeen day trip through the Pacific.
How do you explain it and what's your committee gonna do about.
These -- explanation.
Ford is no excuse for it in on I've heard of -- of over these people thinking.
This is taxpayer money that they were living in some strange bubble.
Incidentally in 2010.
The deputy to mr.
nearly who's director region nine -- all this happened out of San Francisco.
Was charged and then convicted.
Of embezzlement he he was embezzling money from the federal government but.
That didn't seem to stop nearly and the others in the region from the extraordinary won't waste fraud and abuse with.
Taxpayer money and I don't know if this does say it but its effect on economies that our people are struggling.
To but the tip the pay their bills when a struggling to pay their taxes.
It's outrageous that federal employees that does I believe this is an exception.
But out -- we have a responsibility on our Governmental Affairs Committee which is the oversight part of our jurisdiction.
To not just walk away from this and -- I'm I'm what was senator Collins.
Asking the inspector general of the General Services Administration GSA.
To Begin an investigation of the other ten regions.
To make sure.
That there's no similar.
Behavior such as -- we've found in region nine with this extraordinary Las Vegas.
Party I'm also going to be holding hearings in which will call and the leadership of GSA.
To make sure that they've taken on a good hard look at the way that they just it does business I mean this is the agencies -- -- achieve efficiency.
And renting leasing operating federal buildings and so they were wasting money but that is -- they've had a tradition.
But having each of their regions have a lot of autonomy that -- was cruelly abused in region I wanna make sure.
It's not happening and other regions and -- ever happens again in region nine.
Governor Sarah Palin says that President Obama should be held responsive.
Responsible for these one.
Boondoggles -- GSA the breakdown in discipline at the Secret Service because they happened on his watch and he's the -- Chief Executive Officer.
-- -- that's fair.
-- say that the president would be unfair to hold.
Prison and a bomber responsible.
This outrageous behavior at the Secret Service and the GSA.
But it is fair to hold the president accountable.
And what our man I mean do you know them.
We have millions of federal employees.
You did did responsibility.
For the abuse of authority at the Secret Service and GSA really is the employees who did -- and their supervisors.
But what do I mean when I say the president should be held accountable.
The buck stops -- the president's desk he's he's the leader of our government he now has to be.
Acting with a kind of relentless.
To find out exactly what happened in the make sure the people who work for him.
At the Secret Service -- -- -- also the government Dolan or anything like this happen again.
As somebody who's spent a lot of my life and government.
I get -- -- by these kinds of stories from Secret Service -- -- they don't reflect what I notably.
The typical federal employees but they do nothing but increase the cynicism.
That the America and anger that the American people -- further government -- -- for -- democracy.
Have you decided who you're gonna support this time Romney or Obama law aunt and in a minute.
What are your thoughts about the two of them.
Yeah I'm I'm gonna try something different this year there have been betrayed us they worked out -- about how -- all have got to try to stay out of this one you know I'm not running for reelection.
I'm enjoying that being involved in the and then that's that -- of campaigning.
In America these that is I think this year when it comes to the presidential election.
I'm just gonna do what most Americans do go into the voting Booth on Election Day in the privacy of the Booth.
Cast my vote is a very important election one -- I will say it seems obvious from.
The polling that's going on a whole year the the American people are very unsettled the very -- easy about the economy about the government.
They've changed their mind a lot as this is gone on and this is going to be a very close and unpredictable.
Presidential election right -- on election.
Senator Lieberman we're gonna have to leave it there thank you so much for coming in today and we will stay on top of the GSA and the secrets of the stories good thank you crews.