The Secret Service sex scandal in Cartagena, Columbia has women wondering whether the mostly-male bodyguard team might benefit from a few more female figures. On This Week with George Stephanopoulous today, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) discussed Paula Reid, the woman brought in to clean up the scandal, and how the secret service would have behaved if there were fewer men with a “wheels up, rings off” mentality.
Maloney was left asking the same question she asked during the contraception debate: “Where are the women?” As it turns out, there aren’t many. According to Maloney, only 11 percent of the Secret Service are women:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Welcome to you both. I think it’s appropriate that we have female legislators here today, because we just learned this morning that the agent who swept in and cleaned this all up, female agent Paula Reid, head of the service detail down in Latin America, and she seemed to get to the bottom of this quickly.
COLLINS: She did. She acted decisively, appropriately, and I can’t help but wonder if there’d been more women as part of that detail if this ever would have happened.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, what’s the latest, though, on the investigation?
MALONEY: I would like to say I talked to Director Sullivan last night, and he was commending her leadership, too. She really went in there and cleaned up the mess. And one thing I asked him is, how many women are on the force? It’s only 11 percent of the agents are women. And if — we agree on this. If there were more agents on the ground, maybe we would not have had this.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Only 11 percent?
MALONEY: And I can’t help but keep asking this question, where are the women? We probably need to diversify the Secret Service and have more minorities and more women.
There is no reason women shouldn’t qualify for the Secret Service. According to their application requirements, nearly all requirements are of mental acumen, not physical strength. The only physical requirement is “applicants must be determined physically fit by an authorized government physician to perform strenuous and physically demanding duties.” Certainly, there are plenty of women who are fit enough to make the cut.
This 11 percent figure differs from a 2010 Equal Opportunity Employment Commission report that 25 percent of the Secret Service were women, leaving questions about whether the report or Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan gave accurate information.