After a series of anti-Trump social media posts, Secret Service agent Kerry O’Grady was removed from her position as head of the Secret Service’s Denver district in March but remains on the payroll and with her extremely valuable
O’Grady wrote on her personal Facebook site in October 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.
Additionally, she updated her profile picture on Inauguration Day to an artist’s rendering of Princess Leia with the words, “A woman’s place is in the resistance.”
Secret Service officials usually take a hard line when it comes to investigations of personal misconduct that include non-paid leave and revocation of valuable security clearances.
Sean Bigley, a partner at Bigley Ranish, a firm specializing in security-clearance denials, said the Secret Service regularly places employees accused of wrongdoing on unpaid leave while they investigate the allegations.
“All the clients I have are on unpaid administrative leave,” he said. “Then they have to sit around for a year cooling their heels before anything is proven. It’s very punitive.”
One of his current clients has been on unpaid leave for three years while the Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General have investigated the charges and counter-charges in the case, he said.
“His life has completely imploded,” Bigley said of the client, who has lost his home and depleted his life savings as he waits for some type of resolution.
Clearly, the Secret Service is choosing to handle the O’Grady investigation is far different manner because they are afraid of stirring up the so-called #resistance.
O’Grady continues to get paid and retains security clearance while these tools are usually used ruthlessly by managers to discipline wrongdoers.
Cheri Cannon, a partner at the law firm Tully Rinckey, said Secret Service managers often impose unpaid leave and revoke a security clearance at the same time to force a person to quit rather than go through the lengthy appeals process to try to get their security clearance reinstated.
“If somebody wants to mess with your clearance, you are going to have to fight them for two years without pay,” she said, noting that there is no way for reinstated officers to get back pay.
The capricious nature of the Secret service’s disciplinary procedures is highlighted by previous incidents.
“It’s always amazing to me how some [disciplinary] issues are considered security-related and some aren’t. The only difference seems to be the person involved” and how well-connected they are to top agency officials, he said. “It doesn’t seem like there is any continuity.”
For instance, he cited a case involving two senior agents who drove into an active suspected bomb investigation on the White House grounds in early March of 2015 after a night of drinking. He said he believes the pair never had their security clearances revoked, even temporarily.
Apparently. O’Grady has an in with the honchos at the Secret Service. They can make things easy for her.
Retiring with a security clearance intact or after having it revoked can make or break future career prospects in a security-related field.
Several sources within the Secret Service community worry that O’Grady will retain her employment and simply be transferred another division of the Department of Homeland Security. Such a move would allow her to serve out her time until she can retire with a pension, a move the agency has used with at least one other official in the public crosshairs.
President Trump promised to drain the swamp. As you can see, the swamp has many tools to fight back.