It’s reprehensible that the U.S. Secret Service has bungled guarding the White House, which is supposed to be the world’s most fortified presidential residence in the world. The latest revelation is that the two off-duty Secret Service agents took down fence jumper Omar Gonzalez. Wow, I don’t see how Secret Service Director Julia Pierson will survive this break-down.
Gonzalez, 42, was the first person in modern memory to jump over the White House fence and get into the mansion, largely the result of a failure of numerous layers of Secret Service security on the northern fence line.
Though the Secret Service initially said that Gonzalez was quickly detained inside the front door, The Washington Post reported Monday that the man actually made it well into the house before he was tackled on the far southern side of the 80-foot-long East Room. Once he burst inside the unlocked front door, Gonzalez, a former Army veteran, overpowered one Secret Service officer and, on his journey, sprinted past a stairway that leads up half a flight to the first family’s living quarters.
The additional information about the incident came as Secret Service Director Julia Pierson was being grilled on Capitol Hill about the Gonzalez incident and other security lapses revealed in Washington Post stories in recent days. The Post on Sunday detailed the agency’s fumbling response toa November 2011 shooting, in which a man fired a semiautomatic rifle into the White House residence while Sasha Obama was home, but the Secret Service discounted the gunshots on Constitution Avenue as a shoot-out between rival gangsters. Source: Washington Post
Even if the November 2011 shooting was the result of a shoot-out between rival gangsters, it’s shameful, nonetheless that bullets hit the White House and the Secret Service didn’t know. It seems to me that the Secret Service troubles are pause for concern. How can we expect them to adequately protect the president and his family when they can’t even guard his residence? Are these deliberate acts on their part?
Separately, the Secret Service dropped the ball again during President Obama’s visit to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) earlier this month. They allowed a security contractor with three prior convictions for assault and battery, who was armed with a gun, to get on an elevator with the president. Um, is the Secret Service trying to kill President Obama?
Obama was not told about the lapse in his security, these people said. The Secret Service director, Julia Pierson, asked a top agency manager to look into the matter but did not refer it to an investigative unit that was created to review violations of protocol and standards, according to two people familiar with the handling of the case who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The incident, which took place when Obama visited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to discuss the U.S. response to the Ebola crisis, rattled Secret Service agents assigned to the president’s protective detail.
When a supervisor from the firm providing security at the CDC approached and discovered the agents’ concerns, the contractor was fired on the spot. Then the contractor agreed to turn over his gun — surprising agents, who had not realized that he was armed during his encounter with Obama.
Extensive screening is supposed to keep people with weapons or criminal histories out of arm’s reach of the president. But it appears that this man, possessing a gun, came within inches of the president after undergoing no such screening. Source: WaPo