"Face the Nation" transcript for April 22 with Senator Lieberman and ex-USSS chief Basham

SENATOR JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: Yes, we-- we have launched an inquiry and investigation and we will hold hearings on the Secret Service crisis, scandal, whatever you want to call it. I-- I have wanted and Senator Collins my ranking member, we wanted to give Director Sullivan and the office a professional responsibility. Some room here first to conduct their own investigation. But we begun our own investigation and we will be sending specific questions to the Secret Service this week. When Director Sullivan is through with his investigation of what happened in Cartagena we'll decide whether we need to do any more about that. But about Cartagena but what I am specifically going to be interested in is-- was what happened in Cartagena an exception are part of a pattern or behavior that happened over time elsewhere, and if it did, why didn't somebody at the Secret Service essentially blow the whistle on it? And what are they going to do now to make sure it never happens again.

BOB SCHIEFFER: And-- and well, your investigation include asking about the possible involvement of White House staffers? After all this comes under cabinet member Janet Napolitano, who is the secretary of Homeland Security, will you be calling her? Should she be looking into this?

SENATOR JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: I hope and believe she is. The-- the Secret Service is placed within the Department of Homeland Security now, so there are-- they-- in that sense a part of her administrate oversight. My guess is she is. We haven't decided on witnesses but we will sure be talking to her about what her department's going to do. Look, this is important. This is the safety of the President and vice president of the United States and their families. And for Secret Service agents who have the responsibility to protect the President, to act as these people did in Cartagena as if they were college kids on a spring break is reprehensible. And it-- it really does damage to the reputation of what I think has been a great organization. That's why the Secret Service and those of us who admire it I think have a special responsibility not to just stop after Director Sullivan finishes his investigation at Cartagena, we got to go on and keep asking questions to make sure--

BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): What about the--

SENATOR JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: --it never happens again.

BOB SCHIEFFER: What about the Secret Service director, Mark Sullivan? Do you still have confidence in him?

SENATOR JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: I do at this point. I think he's reacted-- he reacted very quickly and very aggressively when he first heard of-- of the episode in Cartagena. And I think he's conducting a comprehensive investigation, as evidenced by the fact that he's-- he's talk-- his people are talking to everybody down there. But-- but in fairness to him and the-- and the Secret Service, our committee is going to look back at past conduct and-- and records of misconduct and to ask whether anybody at the Secret Service in the administration should have been on notice that something like this might-- might have been happening and to act-- to have acted to stop. Is there a code of conduct that the Secret Service agents know they've got to follow, not just when they're on duty but when they're on assignment because the truth is they should feel that they're always on duty because if they're compromised, then the safety of the President of the United States is compromised.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you one quick question about this scandal in the General Services Administration. I mean here the President's security was not at risk.


BOB SCHIEFFER: It just seems a bunch of people who just basically were idiots about-- about putting on this-- this costly conference out in Las Vegas, all on the taxpayer's tab. What are you going to do about that?

SENATOR JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: Well, this-- this is a really outrageous sickening episode, because, you know, it doesn't represent what I know to be most people who work for the federal government. But it-- but it's so outrageous, these-- these people took something like eight trips to Las Vegas over a year and a half to plan this convention. Those planning trips cost a hundred and fifty thousand dollars--

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, what do you do about that?