Carousing Secret Service agents should have learned better in elementary school

May 05, 2012

Your article about Secret Service agents hiring prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia, during a presidential trip suggests to me the agency has poor judgment from top to bottom ("Secret Service to receive ethics training at Hopkins," April 30). It's also come to light that in the past agents have indulged in similar behavior in Argentina and El Salvador.

The top brass has mandated ethics training at Johns Hopkins University for agents, hoping that such training will help them steer clear of unethical behavior. Christopher Dreisbach, director of Applied Ethics and Humanities for the Division of Public Safety Leadership says the sessions are intended to give agents tools to grapple with ethical issues before they arise. He says 99 times out of 100 agents know the right thing to do, but it's the 1 percent of really tough issues that are a problem.

Mr. Dreisbach is out of touch with reality. Ethics lessons will not save these agents from themselves. They don't need a college course in nuanced responses to ethical queries, challenges and dilemmas. They should have gotten the moral underpinnings to deal with these kinds of situations in elementary school.

Usha Nellore, Bel Air

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