According to Newser.com yesterday evening, the resignation of this government bureaucrat was no surprise:
In a not-so-shocking development, Secret Service chief Julia Pierson has resigned, reports CNBC. The move comes amid withering criticism in the wake of high-profile security lapses involving President Obama. Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson announced the resignation and said he was appointing Joseph Clancy to be interim director of the Secret Service, reports CNN. Clancy led the president’s security team before his retirement three years ago. Pierson took over in March 2013 as the agency’s first female director. “I salute her 30 years of distinguished service to the Secret Service and the nation,” said Johnson in his statement. He also promised a full review of the agency.
I was totally shocked that someone resigned over government incompetence. I heard news reports about Pierson yesterday morning and about how she was “accepting full responsibility” for the Secret Service foul ups. But those stories did not imply she was offering to or being asked to resign. I learned back when the Branch Davidians were burned alive in their building that the statement “I take full responsibility” meant… nothing. Then Attorney General Janet Reno said it several times and the statement was devoid of content. It would have meant something if she had resigned, but she didn’t. She wasn’t even considering doing so.
Who resigned after 9/11? No one!
Government bureaucrats simply say that they accept responsibility and then make it clear that they accept no responsibility. “I accept responsibility” has come to mean, “Let’s move on.”
So I was surprised.
Of course, I shouldn’t have been. The issue of government incompetence is that the people who usually suffer from that incompetence are in no position to demand accountability. The victims have no power. But the President is the boss of the Secret Service. And he is the one who will suffer from incompetence. As CNBC reported,
“Over the last several days we’ve seen recent and accumulating reports raising questions about the performance of the agency, and the president concluded that new leadership of that agency was required,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said after the announcement.
So, in this one case we have one of those rare instances where someone was forced to really mean it when they accepted full responsibility. But it was only because she failed the politically powerful, not because she failed the people.