Saturday, June 19, 2021

the last book I ever read (Carol Leonnig's Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service, excerpt thirteen)

from Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service by Carol Leonnig:

This seamy culture at the top of the Secret Service was revealed thanks to an eight-year-old racial discrimination lawsuit filed by Black agents back in 200, one that the Secret Service had been trying to quash since it was filed. Led by presidential detail agent Ray Moore, the Black agents had claimed a racist culture had blocked and stalled their ability to rise in the organization. The senior leadership of the Service made promotion decisions informally and kept no official files documenting them. Moore couldn’t take another year of being passed over for white agents who rated below him and others he had trained. He and his colleagues risked career suicide when they filed suit, seeking to find out whether race played a role in supervisors’ pattern of elevating whites so much more frequently. In 2004, a judge had ordered the Service to provide supervisors’ internal emails. But by late 2007, the Service was still dragging its heels, claiming it would take years more for the overburdened agency to gather the material.

In a three-day court hearing on the case in late 2007, federal magistrate Deborah Robinson said she was out of patience and rebuked the Service for its stonewalling. She gave them a do-or-die deadline and the threat of daily fines afterward: Turn over all electronic messages among supervisors within three months, or else. The Service hired PricewaterhouseCoopers to review 20 million electronic records on promotions and race, and ended up discovering more warts than it bargained for. In their private chats on email, some of the Service’s highest supervisors had traded racist jokes about Black men’s genitalia, the illiteracy of Black adults, and the sexual prowess of different races. With the agency already being questioned about the noose found at the training center, Sullivan decided the Service had to turn over the records mentioning race to the plaintiffs.

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