Concerning details about the Secret Service’s attempt to rescue former President Barack Obama’s personal chef were uncovered by the investigators who broke Hillary Clinton’s email server scandal.
The July 23 paddleboarding incident that resulted in the death of former White House sous chef and personal chef to the Obama family, Tafari Campbell, in the water near their Martha’s Vineyard estate vexed inquiring minds frustrated over stonewalling where transparency would be expected.
Having remained vigilant in pursuit of the facts, Judicial Watch reported Tuesday that their latest response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit had revealed the United States Secret Service’s boats were inoperable at the time of the accident.
Documents from the Department of Homeland Security amounted to 31 pages of records wherein the effort to locate Campbell was hampered by the need to gain use of a third boat belonging to the groundskeeper after the agency’s vehicles weren’t working.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton posted to social media how the Secret Service report described an agent and supervisory agent “attempted to start one of the boats but had difficulties lowering the motor. I headed down with [redacted] but told her to continue down and yelled to SA [redacted] and SAA [redacted] that I would run to get the keys for our USSS boat. I sprinted to the CP [Command Post], grabbed the keys and sprinted back towards the boats. A similar issue occurred with the motor on the second boat. We jumped into a third boat belonging to the groundskeeper and it worked without issue.”
BREAKING: Newly released records show that when Secret Service agents rushed to try to rescue Obama’s chef Tafari Campbell, who was drowning, both of the agency’s boats were inoperable. The agents had to borrow the groundskeeper’s boat. A Secrete Service report describes how two… https://t.co/XyMzHgIRjJ
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) December 13, 2023
“Also, at least one, and possibly multiple, agents from the Secret Service’s Little Rock, Ark., office were involved in the search for Campbell’s body,” the release from Judicial Watch revealed.
One interoffice email sent from a Senior Special Agent out of Little Rock to an individual identified as “Boss” in the days following the incident read, “In case you get calls from HQ about the incident at Martha’s Vineyard regarding the drowning, I have attached a brief report of what happened and our involvement. No one has asked me for a report yet, but I’m sure they will.”
“It is disturbing that Secret Service boats did not work for this emergency situation,” said Fitton in a statement. “This new information perhaps explains why the Secret Service is still hiding video related to the tragic drowning.”
According to the DHS documents, “After a detailed review of all potentially responsive records, 31 pages were released in part, 2 pages were withheld in their entirety and 1 video was withheld in its entirety.”
Also withheld was the identity of the woman who had been with Campbell at the time of the incident who was referred to in the report as “Ms. Taylor.”
“The same report notes former President Obama came to the incident scene and the search was paused so President Obama could speak the eyewitness,” Judicial Watch stated before sharing an excerpt that read, “We continued our search with flashlights. Shortly thereafter we were called to Wilson’s Landing as FPOTUS Obama was there and the local Fire Department in conjunction with Massachusetts Police Department and other local agencies were setting up an Incident Command Post. He had wanted to talk with [redacted]. The first EMS/Police response we saw may have occurred within an hour. I recall seeing a small PD or Fire boat scanning the shoreline just after it was getting dark.”
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