This morning, the Washington Post reports conclusively that Secret Service personnel did not falsely portray themselves as journalists while doing advance work in a Mississippi town Bush was set to visit. An earlier article from a local paper suggested this was the case.
No, it was instead “two government employees” who first impersonated journalists from FOX News, and then impersonated the Secret Service.
Jerry Akins, the Mississippean who was the butt of the joke, had told the Biloxi Sun-Herald two days ago that he had “assumed” the two men were Secret Service, after they showed him “blue porcelain lapel pins” and a third man confirmed they were “with the Presidential entourage.”
Akins’ recollection seems to have improved since then. As he tells the Post now, the two men said they were Secret Service:
“[A]fter everything was over with, [the two “journalists”] approached us and they were laughing, and they said: ‘You know, we really weren’t with Fox. We’re government, Secret Service men.'”
Now, impersonating a journalist is highly unethical and puts working journalists in jeopardy. But impersonating a federal officer — a Secret Service agent — is, I believe, a federal offense.
The Post quotes a White House spokesperson who assures us the administration “will discipline two government employees who masqueraded as journalists[.]” What will it do if they did in fact pose as Secret Service members?