(This post has been updated.)
After its series of high-profile security lapses, the Secret Service made a big show of ousting its deputy director to prove that the agency was taking seriously its dire mismanagement problems.
But more than two months after Alvin “A.T.” Smith resigned from his leadership post, the Secret Service’s official directory still shows him as an employee in a powerful senior slot: Chief of Staff to Director Joseph Clancy.
Smith’s current status came up Wednesday during a House Oversight and Government Reform committee hearing where Clancy was testifying about the gyrocopter that landed on the Capitol lawn.
Clancy insisted that Smith does not still work at the Secret Service headquarters, saying he’s been detailed within the Department of Homeland Security to work for Customs and Border Protection. He said he’s had no contact with Smith since he was transferred and that Smith is not his chief of staff.
But when pressed by committee chairman Jason Chaffetz, Clancy confirmed that Smith, a 29-year agent, is still on the Secret Service payroll.
“You have done, Mr. Clancy, a very good job of building trust and confidence, and it’s flushed down the toilet when I read and hear about these things. You said to us … that we’re implementing fundamental changes,” Chaffetz said. “Don’t ever come back here to Congress and tell me that you have a financial problem when you’ve got A.T. Smith on your payroll and you say you don’t have enough money. You shouldn’t have to pay for that out of your budget.”
Clancy, then acting director, moved Smith under pressure from Chaffetz (R-Utah) and ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) who demanded others at the top ranks be held responsible for the agency’s recurring missteps.
Smith had overseen the Secret Service’s day-to-day operations, as our colleague Carol Leonnig described in a Feb. 10 story about his departure.
By continuing to give Smith a Secret Service paycheck, the financially strained agency is out – according to Chaffetz – $183,000, which it could use to bring in fresh talent to a high-level position in the coveted senior executive service.
And as it turns out, of the other four high-level agents forced out, there’s another one still on the payroll. He’s been detailed to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Guess Clancy decided to just put him on ICE.