Secret Service's 'Major' headache: The truth behind POTUS' pet that left agents fuming
Agents tried to get POTUS to pay personally for damage, furious at the White House's spin on the severity of Major's bites reveals new documents
On March 8 2021, The White House confirmed President Joe Biden's dog Major had bitten a Secret Service agent. However, it was later revealed that it wasn't a one-off incident, Major had bitten staff for eight consecutive days. In April 2022, that scandal has only gotten worse after new documents revealed that Secret Service was furious with the cover-up, and has been attempting to get Biden to personally pay for the damage.
After a second biting incident was reported in late March, questions began to arise about whether or not Major was abused. In a bid to draw attention away from the scandal, the White House first sent Major back to Delaware, claiming it was a "prearranged visit to family." However, by December 2021, Biden had reportedly given Major away, replacing him with a new puppy named 'Commander'.
The move immediately caused much speculation, and now we may know more about why exactly Major had to go. It appears his biting incidents were also biting Biden's stock inside the White House, with Secret Service agents furious at the way the incidents were being handled.
The Major scandal covered up
In August 2021, the transparency group Judicial Watch said, "It is disturbing to see a White House cover-up of numerous injuries to Secret Service and White House personnel by the Bidens’ family pet." That condemnation came after it was revealed Major was involved in at least eight biting incidents, not just the one the White House acknowledged. The group also filed a Freedom of Information Act request, leading to the release of some stunning details about the scandal.
Amongst them is the fact that top leaders at the Secret Service attempted to cover up Major's incidents, so as to avoid upsetting the First Family. As a result, they even rejected one agent's "excessively detailed" report. One agent reportedly told his colleague, "NO I didn’t surprise the dog doing my job by being at (redacted) as the press secretary just said! Now I’m pissed." Another message says "injury cannot be described in any other term than ‘severe’."
The reports are heavily redacted, indicating that there's still plenty the White House isn't revealing. However, what little they do reveal, indicates that things were very different from the story Jen Psaki told the press in March 2021. "Without warning or provocation, Major barked loudly at (the agent) … and charged,” the report reads. It contradicts Psaki's version of events where she said "Major was surprised by an unfamiliar person and reacted in a way that resulted in a minor injury."
One incident left an agent's wool overcoat torn, and he wrote about it, "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." The agent sought reimbursement for the coat, but was told by higher-ups, "if you update the request with the approved verbiage, your request will be processed.” After some condemnation, the agent was forced to change his tune, writing, "I don’t believe the USSS should be responsible for the damage to my coat as the cause was not under their control."
As a result of the revelations, Judicial Watch's president Tom Fitton said, "the Secret Service management seemed more concerned about managing press relations than taking care of its agents." So far, the White House has not responded to the story, but like many other scandals, it is likely to be brushed under the carpet.