Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Chain of Command

The Friday, May 5, 2006, Washington Post headline read Rep. Kennedy Crashes Into Security Barrier. The subheadline read "Officers Suspect Intoxication, Congressman Blames Prescription Drugs."

Shortly into the article by Washington Post staff writers Del Quentin Wilber, Allan Lengel and Bill Brubaker, we learn that the first-on-scene Capitol Police officers suspected Kennedy might have been driving impaired at the time of the accident. They notified supervisors who arrived at the scene and then took Kennedy home before the officers could administer field sobriety tests and perform other functions to determine if Kennedy had been driving impaired.(Or the supervisors ordered the officers to take him home without further testing. It depends on which news account one reads.)

It's noteworthy that Kennedy claims he has no memory of getting out of bed, getting dressed, driving to Capitol Hill, and striking the barrier, yet he purports to remember clearly that he had not been drinking prior to the incident.

In any event, to understand why Capitol Police supervisors might be inclined to cut a US Representative or Senator more slack than they would give the average citizen, it is important to know that the US Capitol Police is accountable to the US Congress through the Capitol Police Board. That three-person board is composed of the US Senate Sergeant at Arms, the US House of Representatives Sergeant at Arms, and the Architect of the Capitol. These three positions are political plum appointments. The Sergeants-at-Arms are hired by their respective Congressional bodies, but the Architect is a Presidential appointment who must be confirmed by the Senate. The Capitol Police budget is controlled by members of Congress through the Senate and House Appropriations Committees. Congressman Kennedy is serving his fifth year on the House Appropriations Committee.

Any questions?


Blogger Ifit Itches said...

Seems Mr. Kennedy is a chip off the 'ole block, but like you I don't see any justice comming out of this. It's kinda like expecting a road officer to ticket the police commissioner's wife.

10:32 AM, May 06, 2006  
Blogger Bill McCrory said...

What concerns me is that he has experienced some serious problems with depression, alcoholism and substance abuse. Though all can be successfully treated and controlled, he needs to commit full time to rehabilitation. If he doesn't, and if he returns to Congress as he says he will, the septic tank that is Capitol Hill will consume him.

10:44 AM, May 06, 2006  

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