PRESIDENT OBAMA AND FORMER SECRET SERVICE AGENT DAN BONGINO AND REASONABLE EXPECTATIONS OF PRIVACY

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In some instances in the workplace these days there is a lack of loyalty between employers and former employees; More frequently than before in this country disgruntled workers are suing claiming for one reason or another, that they were sacked wrongfully perhaps because of their age, race, gender or some other recognized classification. Often many of these claims have merit. But the vast majority of Americans leave a job with a sense of pride and gratitude for the opportunities that were provided to them. Regardless of the circumstances leading to the separation, one would hope that each of the parties would exercise a proper degree of respect towards each other. This seems especially important in the area of privacy; Employers ought to be able to count on their employees to keep certain matters private- such a practice serves to protect and foster the special relationship between the two and business entities in general, similar to privacy concerns we adhere to in marriages.  We have long recognized the importance of private communications between spouses. During our medieval origins, writing in 1628, Lord Coke observed that “it hath [been] resolved by the Justices that a wife cannot be produced either against or for her husband.” Of course, the law has been modified since then to permit a spouse to exercise the “privilege” to refuse to testify against her spouse adversely; she may be neither compelled to testify nor foreclosed from testifying about certain matters. The point is the rule is still active because it regulates what can be mentioned about private conversations (and acts) between spouses and tends to protect the sanctity of the marriage, “the best solace of human existence” according to the United States Supreme Court in Stein v, Bowman (1839).

What does any of this have to do with Dan Bongino? Well, he once worked at the United States Secret Service. He spent 12 years there and for a period helped to protect President Obama (True, he wasn’t an employee of the President). He has since parted company with the agency and is now the Republican Candidate in Maryland for the Sixth Congressional District (His opponent is Democrat John Delaney). He recently ran for the U.S. Senate there and was defeated although he carried some important counties, some of which are in the Congressional district he is now vying for. My concern is that he is attempting to vivify his candidacy by attacking President Obama not only by using the typical Republican talking points such as “Obama Care”, Benghazi, the White House Staff’s “Pattern of Behavior” the “strained” relationship between the President and the Secret Service, the President’s “ideology” on religion, and so forth, but also through attacks on the President apparently at least based indirectly on information obtained while working at the Secret Service Agency. He is quick to point out that he cannot talk about certain things that he was privy to while working as an agent, but in his book and while on television, he regularly attacks the Obama Administration opining about matters he seemingly observed while working there. Examples include the aforementioned criticism of the President’s staff and how they are quick to blame others for the President’s mistakes and how only connected insiders are rewarded, and the rest attacked. Perhaps most ominous of his intent, while on a television show, he said about his book, “I knew a lot more than I wrote.” What does that mean? Did he witness the President do all kinds of bad things, but he can’t say anything about it? Such comments only reinforce my belief that employees and quasi-employees should not bad-mouth their former employers especially when the relationship between the two created joint expectations of reasonable privacy. Mr. Bongino may be a good candidate with fine ideas, but he needs to focus on fresh ideas and stop using his past position for the purpose of political gain. According to a November, 2013 ABCNEWS.COM article, some of his former colleagues are unhappy with him and think that he has parlayed his proximity to the President into his political career. He cannot legitimately be criticized for touting his accumulated knowledge about particular areas of political interest even when the knowledge was gained during his service to the country, but the line between loyalty and privacy must not be infringed upon.

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