Former Secret Service Director Ralph Basham dismissed concerns that the alleged misconduct by Secret Service agents in Colombia is indicative of a wider cultural issue in the agency, calling the incident an “aberration.”
“I will tell you, absolutely, that this is an aberration. This is not the character of the men and women who serve every day in the Secret Service. And, obviously, this is a huge story, it's a huge issue, because this sort of thing does not happen in the Secret Service,” Basham said on CBS’s Face the Nation.
Basham did say that agents “got themselves into inappropriate situations” during his 31 years with the agency, but that an incident of “this magnitude” never occurred. The fact that the incident happened prior to the president’s visit to Cartagena, Colombia, adds gravity to the situation, Basham said, because it “could have compromised the trip and the safety of the president.”
However, Basham struck a positive note looking forward.
“Certainly, this incident is an extremely embarrassing incident, but it is an incident,” he said. “They'll get through this. They'll learn from this. And they'll move on to the important business ... of protecting this nation's leaders.”