The probe was reportedly launched when a whistleblower from the State Department claimed that the Diplomatic Security agents, supposed to provide safety for the US secretary of state, were merely viewed as “UberEats with guns” and ordered to pick up takeout food for the top diplomat, his family dog, or drive his adult son home.
Democrats on a House congressional committee, whose name the congressional investigators asked to keep a secret, are probing allegations that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s security agents were tasked with running personal errands for him and his family, CNN reports. A whistleblower from the State Department, which is supposed to furnish security, has reported several cases over recent months when agents from its Diplomatic Security Service received questionable tasks.
According to the outlet, these “missions” included delivering takeout Chinese food, which allegedly prompted some agents to brand themselves as “UberEats with guns”, picking up Pompeo’s dog from a groomer or driving the top diplomat’s grown-up son home from Union Station in Washington.
The broadcaster points out that it is unclear whether Pompeo doled out these tasks himself or was in the dark about some of his staffers making security agents run such errands. However, it points out that such requests might be improper anyway as the Code of Federal Regulations rules that a federal employee “shall not encourage, direct, coerce, or request a subordinate to use official time to perform activities other than those required in the performance of official duties or authorised in accordance with law or regulation”.
Agent in charge of the Diplomatic Security Service Lon Fairchild has not refuted the allegations about questionable tasks but insisted that during his service neither the secretary of state nor members of his family asked his team to “act in any way that would be inconsistent with our professional obligation to protect the Secretary 24-hours a day, 7-days a week”.
Apart from the personal errands, the whistleblower also raised doubts if the security, assigned to Pompeo’s wife Susan in the US, was justified. He or she raised allegations that a formal threat assessment, needed to order personal security, had not been done and suggested that there was no threat to her safety.
“According to this source they have seen nothing to indicate it is justified. In fact, just the opposite. It’s their understanding there was no finding of a high-enough level threat to merit this detail”, an aide, acquainted with the congressional investigation told CNN.
A State Department spokesperson, however, refuted these allegations and stated that the Protective Intelligence and Investigations Division had carried out this assessment.
“The provision of a protective detail to Mrs Pompeo is expressly authorised by federal law. In this case, Diplomatic Security determined that the threat warranted the provision of such a protective detail to Mrs Pompeo and began providing it as of July 28, 2018”, the statement said.