You’ll recall that in August 2021 we uncovered records from the Secret Service revealing that President Joe Biden’s dog, Major, was responsible for many more biting incidents than the Biden White House had publicly acknowledged.
One email noted that “at the current rate an Agent or Officer has been bitten every day this week (3/1-3/8) causing damage to attire or bruising/punctures to the skin.”
This week we released 400 pages of new records, including incident reports, detailing multiple attacks and damages to Secret Service members by the dog at both the White House and Biden’s lake home in Wilmington, DE.
The documents also reveal that a Secret Service member who was attacked by the dog was displeased that White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki misled the press about the incident.
Major was given to family friends in December 2021, but not before causing considerable chaos in the White House.
We obtained the documents in response to an October 2021 FOIA lawsuit we filed after the Department of Homeland Security failed to respond to a July 29, 2021, request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (No. 1:21-cv-02824)) for:
- All records related to all dogs owned by the Bidens that have lived at the White House, including communications sent to and from USSS officials, and reports filed about dog bites and other dog-related incidents.
- All medical and vaccination records for all dogs owned by the Bidens that have lived at the White House.
In an email chain dated March 9, 2021, a member of the Presidential Protective Division (PPD) expresses anger that White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki lacked candor about the dog bite incident during a press briefing. The chain begins when a fellow agent checks on the welfare of a colleague asking, “You ok? Someone told me you got bit.”
The agent replies, “Yes I got bit by Major on [redacted] and NO I didn’t surprise the dog doing my job by being at [redacted] as the press secretary just said! Now I’m pissed. Thanks for checking in.”
The initial agent replies, “SMH [shaking my head]… hope you didn’t get hurt to bad. Take care.”
A Secret Service incident report concerning a dog attack on the morning of February 28, 2021, at the Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware, lake home discloses the following:
At approximately 0900hrs, while working the AM shift for POTUS at the Wilmington, DE Lake house, SA [redacted] was walking to relieve SA [redacted] from the [redacted] location. SA [redacted] stated that [redacted] observed Major running at SA [redacted] and heard him yelling at the dog. At this point, SA [redacted] continued to walk toward SA [redacted] location and saw Major had turned in [redacted] direction running at high speed. SA [redacted] once more heard SA [redacted] yell, “Major stop!” before [redacted] turned around to avoid a direct attack. Upon turning [redacted] was struck on [redacted] right thigh by the dog’s mouth. Major then ran across the yard towards the opposite end of the house. SA [redacted] was shaken from this encounter, having almost been bitten, therefore SA [redacted] held the [redacted] with [redacted] until Major had been brought back into the residence. SA [redacted] did not seek medical attention for this incident.
The report has a footnote regarding a photo taken a week after the attack, showing “a bruise where Major’s mouth impacted [redacted] leg. The oval shape of injury demonstrates the outline of the dog’s closed jaws.”
In an email dated June 24, 2021, regarding the February 28 incident, a Secret Service official writes: “I have taken the liberty of adding the Uniformed Division to this email chain as I understand there have been multiple bite/attack incidents involving Major and their officers.”
A separate incident report concerning another dog attack on the evening of February 28, 2021, at the Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware lake home notes:
At approximately 1900hrs, while working the PM shift for POTUS at the Wilmington DE Lake house, SA [redacted] was [redacted] of the residence. SA [redacted] observed POTUS Biden walk up to the front door with the elder family dog Champ. SA [redacted] stated that POTUS [redacted]. After several minutes of waiting, Major failed to appear and POTUS took Champ inside closing the door behind him. Almost immediately after the door had shut, SA [redacted] observed Major running at [redacted] full stride from the main driveway. SA [redacted] quickly made an effort to seek shelter inside [redacted]. Despite the attempt, Major intercepted SA [redacted] and bit down on [redacted] left forearm. SA [redacted] quickly shook Major off of [redacted] arm and once more attempted to [redacted] to avoid further attack. In so doing, SA [redacted] briefly turned [redacted] back on Major and the dog bit [redacted] a second time on the right buttock. Fortunately, despite the two injuries, SA [redacted] was able to [redacted], separating [redacted] self from the animal. Approximately 15 minutes after this attack, POTUS Biden opened the front door to let Major into the residence. At this point, SA [redacted] stated the dog then went inside and POTUS [redacted]. SA [redacted], shaken by the ordeal, took a relief push to inspect [redacted] injury at the [redacted]. He then [redacted] and finished the remainder of [redacted] shift despite the discomfort.
A footnote indicates photos were attached:
The images attached were taken on the date of SA [redacted] injury (02/28/21) and shows a puncture mark [redacted]. The second image is a picture of the rain jacket SA [redacted] was wearing the evening of 02/28/21, which Major bit through causing the puncture…. As of this date, [redacted] has not been compensated for the injury or damage to [redacted] jacket.
A second footnote points out: “NOTE – The attack on SA [redacted] occurred less than 12 hours after the first attack on SA [redacted].”
An incident report stemming from a March 6, 2021, dog attack discloses the following:
As the dog came around the corner from the diplomatic room [of the White House], he [Major] locked eyes with SA [redacted]. SA [redacted] having been a [redacted] his entire life, knew from this moment of eye contact with Major that something serious was about to go down. Major advanced on SA [redacted] and quickened pace in the final 10ft of distance. The dog then attempted to bite SA [redacted] left arm but was only able to lock teeth on his overcoat as he stepped aside from the attack. The First Lady [redacted]; however the coat was torn during the altercation. The President witnessed the First Lady [redacted] and [redacted] before moving the entire party onto the residence elevator.
A photo is attached to the email, and a footnote in the email reads: “The image attached was taken approximately one month after the attack and shows the severity of the bite through SA [redacted] wool overcoat. (The overcoat is valued at >$500. As of this date, SA [redacted] has not been compensated for the damage.)”
A Secret Service incident report concerning a dog attack on the morning of March 8, 2021, at the White House discloses the following:
At approximately 0700hrs, while working the AM shift for POTUS at the White House, SA [redacted] was positioned at the 2nd Floor [redacted] in the residence. Around this same time, the First Lady [redacted] to the 2ndfloor residence. Without warning or provocation, Major barked loudly at SA [redacted] and charged at [redacted]. Having no time to seek cover from the attack, SA [redacted] turned away from the dog as he bit into [redacted] right leg. The First Lady [redacted]. The First Lady then [redacted] into the residence elevator and down to the ground floor [redacted]. ATSAIC [assistant to the special agent-in-charge] [redacted]. [Redacted] immediate supervisor, heard the barking from the ground floor and immediately came to the 2nd floor post to check on SA [redacted] status. He instructed [redacted] to take a picture of the injury and seek medical evaluation from the White House doctor on the ground floor. At approximately 0800, the White House nurse on duty [redacted]. Despite all this, [redacted] managed to complete the remainder of [redacted] shift even with [redacted] on [redacted] right leg.
A footnote indicates that photos, which were redacted, are attached, and states: “SA [redacted] injury cannot be described in any other term than ‘severe’. [Redacted] is the only known PPD agent to have suffered two attacks from Major in less than 10 days. (As of this date, [redacted] has received no compensation for either injury.”
A Secret Service email concerning a dog attack on the morning of May 12, 2021, at the White House discloses the following:
On May 12th, 2021 around 630-645am. The First Lady brought Major down to take him outside before movement to an in town site. The First Lady and the Usher were standing next to me at [redacted] along with a [redacted]. I was standing back against the wall as to leave space for the First Lady and Major who was on a leash. Out of nowhere the dog jumps and bites the sleeve of my suit jacket missing my arm (front teeth just scratching the top of the skin). As I lift my arm up the dog was still attached to my suit jacket and the First Lady was attempting to pull the dog off of me via the leash. Once the dog let go, the First Lady ran into the Dip[lomatic Reception] room with the dog. The usher came out to see how I was. Later [redacted] said the First Lady [redacted]. SAIC Cho was at my post 20 min later to check on my well-being.
In a memo prepared by Secret Service management regarding a May 13, 2021, meeting several managers had with the Secret Service agent who was attacked by Major on March 6, one of the officials “explained the delicateness of the situation, in terms of potential damage in the trust of our protectees.”
Mr. [Redacted] also stated that based on the most recent bite incident he was unwilling to change the verbiage on the official SSF 3361 [reimbursement form]. Mr. [Redacted] further stated this incident was one of many of negative aspects of [Presidential Protection Division] he and other Agents are dealing with. Mr. [Redacted] stated the dangerous atmosphere surrounding Major needs to be documented and henceforth, he would serve as a depository to document all past and future incidents.
In a May 11, 2021, email, a Secret Service agent describes the dog bite incident and is criticized for adding the additional details:
I have attached yet another revision to the SSF3361. In hindsight, I agree that the brief description of the nature of the dog bite damage to my wool overcoat was lacking in sufficient details.
I included the following as well as the language you felt at liberty to provide:
“On the evening of March 6th 2021 I was working an evening shift at the White House as per my usual duties. While leading the President and First Lady back from the Tennis pavilion to the Residence, Major, the younger of the First Family’s two dogs, was [redacted] the First Lady in the Diplomatic Reception Room. As Major came around the corner, he attacked me unprovoked, tearing the wool overcoat I was wearing that evening. 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.”
After providing the additional details, the agent is admonished for providing too much detail, with another official telling him, “Please submit with the language that has been approved by LEG [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.”
That official’s email is forwarded with criticism of the additional detail, “SA [redacted] verbiage was deemed excessively detailed and inappropriate. I was asked to have him submit with the language that has already been approved by LEG [legal office]. Not sure if he will or not. I don’t think it’s about the money anymore.”
In a March 1, 2021, Secret Service “PPD [Presidential Protective Division] Supervisors Meeting Notes” memo, one bullet entry under the heading “SAIC CHO” [then-Special Agent-in-Charge David Cho] reads “First Family Pet Behavior.”
In a March 5, 2021, email, a redacted Secret Service official advises White House officials:
For your awareness, WHMU [White House Medical Unit] responded to the South Portico a short time ago on a UDW (Uniformed Division White House) report of a pass holder with a dog bite. The pass holder is [redacted] of the Residence staff. He is currently being treated in the Doctor’s office.
In an email chain dated March 8, 2021, with the subject line “Family Pet,” Cho contacts unidentified White House officials to advise them of a dog attack:
For your awareness, Major bit one of the agents this morning. The agent is ok, but does have bruising and a puncture. [Redacted]’s at the EEOB [Eisenhower Executive Office Building] clinic getting it tended to.
Additionally, we have noticed Major getting more aggressive lately. We have extended the offer of our K9 trainer (RTC Training Facility) to help train Major.
An official in the Office of the First Lady replies, “She [redacted]. The dogs are en route Delaware.”
Cho replies, “Thank you, sir. Would like to follow up with you sometime this week.”
The official replies, “Always available to you. If easier, Mr. [redacted] can find time for us.”
Another White House official responds, “I will join as well.”
The Office of the First Lady replies, “What if it’s private and doesn’t include you? <wink emoji>”
“Duly noted,” the White House official responds.
In an email dated March 9, 2021, with the subject line “Supervisor’s Meeting Notes,” a redacted Secret Service official advises other agents about the press coverage:
Family pets are both in Wilmington. Younger pet bit a Shift SA [special agent] yesterday. Staff/first family are getting him a full time trainer to correct his behavior in Wilmington.… The biting incident is in the news now (Google it). Just another reminder that the press is always looking for a story. Maintain awareness of your conversations and social media presence. We do not want and cannot have a press lead attributed to us.
In an email dated March 16, 2021, an assistant to the special agent-in-charge writes to a supervisory program manager in the Presidential Protective Division regarding a reimbursement request for a torn special agent’s overcoat, noting: “This is reimbursement of an article of clothing that was damaged by a family pet. Sending this to you direct to limit distribution.”
The recipient replies, “Thank you Sir. To limit distribution, I will handle this directly with [redacted] in Budget for reimbursement.”
The documents also reveal significant back and forth regarding reimbursement of a USSS agents’ clothing that was damaged by Major.
In an email dated July 14, 2021, the agent rescinds his request for reimbursement for the damaged coat, advising officials that the Biden family, not taxpayers, should be responsible for the reimbursement:
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.
As I read the email chain below, this incident should be treated as a “tort claim”. I believe this is accurate and as such, 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.
Therefore, I’d like to formally withdraw my [reimbursement] claim for the 3361.
These documents show Major was a dangerous dog, placing Secret Service and other White House personnel at needless risk, and the Biden White House lied about it. It seems that Secret Service management seemed more concerned about managing press relations than taking care of its agents. In fact, the agency is still withholding information about this mess!