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The Secret Service is reportedly furious at White House officials — and in particular, press secretary Jen Psaki — for dramatically downplaying the frequency with which Biden family dog Major was biting agents.
According to 36 pages of communications from the Secret Service obtained by government watchdog group Judicial Watch indicates that Major, a German Shepard, bit or snapped at agents numerous times throughout last year, several of which left puncture wounds, torn clothing, and bruising.
The New York Post reported that newly released documents show that Secret Service agents were intensely angry at the White House for glossing over the attacks on them, adding that on one occasion, Major tore a suitcoat worth around $500. The agent reportedly attempted to get President Joe Biden to pay for the coat.
Also, The Post reported, citing the documents, Secret Service supervisors were also involved in downplaying the incidents by seeking to leave out of official paperwork details surrounding the attacks, even rejecting at one point an agent’s “excessively detailed” account in order to avoid upsetting the first family after the dog bit agents on eight consecutive days.
The Post added:
They also show internal discord at the Secret Service, which has been embroiled since last week in a bizarre infiltration scandal that involves at least four agents.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki acknowledged just one biting incident at a briefing on March 9, 2021, saying that one day earlier, “the first family’s younger dog, Major, was surprised by an unfamiliar person and reacted in a way that resulted in a minor injury to the individual.”
The March 8 bite actually was the final attack in an eight-day streak and the injured agent — whose injuries were categorized as “severe” by a colleague — fumed about Psaki’s spin.
“NO I didn’t surprise the dog doing my job by being at [redacted] as the press secretary just said! Now I’m pissed,” the agent wrote to a co-worker.
The co-worker responded: “SMH. .. hope you didn’t get hurt to [sic] bad.”
In another message that was written by an unknown agent, a Secret Service agent referred to photos of a bite area and said that “injury cannot be described in any other term than ‘severe.’”
That particular incident occurred on March 8 around 7 a.m. as the agent was stationed in the residential area on the second floor of the White House with first lady Jill Biden.
“Without warning or provocation, Major barked loudly at [the agent] … and charged” is how a newly released, though heavily redacted, the incident report describes what took place.
“Having no time to seek cover from the attack, [the agent] turned away from the dog as he bit into [redacted] right leg,” the account added.
President Biden’s then-chief protective agent David Cho noted in an email about an hour later: “Major bit one of the agents this morning. The agent is ok, but does have bruising and a puncture.”
The same agent was bitten by the dog again, but it is not clear when. They were “the only known PPD [Presidential Protective Division] agent to h[a]ve suffered two attacks from Major in less than 10 days,” said a June 2021 email
“Photos of injuries were redacted in the records, but one photo that was released shows an agent’s wool overcoat that was ripped on March 6 as the president and first lady returned indoors from the White House Tennis Pavilion,” The Post reported.
The agent noted in a first-hand account about two months later as he sought reimbursement for the damaged garment: “As Major came around the corner, he attacked me unprovoked, tearing the wool overcoat I was wearing that evening. This attack occurred through no fault of my own and I could not avoid this unusual circumstance due to the nature and requirements of my position.”
However, the agent was reprimanded by an unknown Secret Service supervisor.
“Please submit with the language that has been approved by [the legal office]. Unless you dispute anything in the verbiage that was presented to you, there shouldn’t be a need to embellish with additional details that aren’t required for approval,” the supervisor noted.
Another email railed at the agent’s account as “excessively detailed and inappropriate” and said that “I was asked to have him submit with the language that has already been approved by [the legal office]. Not sure if he will or not. I don’t think it’s about the money anymore.”
Eventually, the agent withdrew his request for reimbursement by saying that the Bidens should have to pay for the coat, not the Secret Service.
“These documents show Major was a dangerous dog and the Biden White House lied about it, placing Secret Service and other White House personnel at needless risk,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.