New documents revealed last week show Secret Service agents were furious when the White House downplayed then-first dog Major’s attacks last year, and some personnel even attempted to get President Joe Biden to personally pay for damage caused by the aggressive animal.
Leaders of the agency also tried to hide details of the incidents by keeping them out of official documentation, rejecting one agent’s “excessively detailed” explanation of the attacks that occurred eight days in a row, according to documents obtained by Judicial Watch through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.
“Major (family pet) is not always predictable. Be careful, especially if you have to make entry during an [redacted] situation,” an email with the subject line “Notes from Supervisor Meeting” stated.
During a press briefing on March 9, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki addressed the attack on March 8, saying that “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.”
However, the March 8 biting incident was the last of a string of attacks that took place over more than a week.
Additional Judicial Watch documents included one agent’s messages to a coworker slamming Psaki’s comments.
“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.
The agent’s colleague responded, “SMH. .. hope you didn’t get hurt to [sic] bad.”
Another agent documented damage to his wool overcoat, which was ripped in an attack on March 6.
“As Major came around the corner, he attacked me unprovoked, tearing the wool overcoat I was wearing that evening,” the agent wrote in an email seeking reimbursement for the more than $500 coat. “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.”
Another Secret Service staff member criticized the agent’s request, writing, “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.”
A second email slams the attacked agent’s description as “excessively detailed and inappropriate.”
The agent ultimately withdrew his request for reimbursement, instead calling for Biden himself to pay for the damaged coat.
“After some deep thought and reflection, I don’t believe the USSS should be responsible for the damage to my coat as the cause was not under their control. To be compensated in this manner would essentially have the cost borne by the tax payer and this would be unjust,” he wrote, adding, “the responsibility should lie with the party responsible for the wrong doing (i.e. tort), and that of course would be the dog owner/s.”
Judicial Watch Tom Fitton said the documents prove Major was a “dangerous dog and the Biden White House lied about it, placing Secret Service and other White House personnel at needless risk.”
“And it seems the Secret Service management seemed more concerned about managing press relations than taking care of its agents,” Fitton said. “In fact, the agency is still withholding information about this mess!”