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Tags: Kingston | Pierson | Secret Service

Rep. Kingston: Pierson Wanted Secret Service to Be Like 'Disneyland'

By    |   Thursday, 02 October 2014 09:56 AM

Former Secret Service Director Julia Pierson was "famous" for saying that she wanted the agency in charge of the security of President Barack Obama, his family, and other government officials to be like "Disneyland," Rep. Jack Kingston told MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

Pierson resigned Wednesday from her position as director following security breaches at the White House and an incident last month where an armed private security guard, who was also a former convict, was allowed on an elevator with Obama at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

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"One of the statements that (Pierson) was famous for making was that the Secret Service needed to resemble Disneyland more. Well, that's not the case at all," the Georgia Republican said Thursday.

Questions about security at the White House continued after Iraq war veteran Omar Gonzalez jumped the fence in September and was not apprehended until he was deep into the building. It was also revealed that in 2011 shots were fired at the exterior of the White House and were not discovered until several days later by a housekeeper.

Rather than a Disneyland culture, Kingston said the expectation was for the Secret Service to be forceful in doing their job.

"We want these folks to be tough. We want them to be unmerciful. We want them to protect the president and his family and visiting dignitaries," he said.

Rep. Stephen Lynch told "Morning Joe" the White House "got what they wanted" when they hired Pierson in 2013 following a prostitution scandal in Colombia involving Secret Service agents.

"They were looking at the frat boy nature, the prostitute issue down in Colombia. And, they brought in someone who was antithetical to that type of behavior," Lynch, a Massachusetts Democrat, said Thursday. "The security issue was secondary, I think."

Kingston said the Secret Service "did not follow their own protocol" when Gonzalez jumped the White House fence, breaching "five rings of security."

He said Congress would likely appoint a "blue ribbon commission" to determine how the Secret Service would move forward. Lynch cautioned that officials needed to ensure that "what we're training our agents for today is really the reality on the ground," adding that special attention needed to be paid to the threat posed by terrorists.

"We need to make sure that they're war-gaming all these possibilities with terrorist groups looking at the White House.

"(Terrorists) must be greatly encouraged now, because we had one mentally ill gentleman able to get in the Green Room. So, if this was a nefarious group with resources and a plan, things could have gone much, much worse," Lynch said.

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Former Secret Service Director Julia Pierson was "famous" for saying that she wanted the agency in charge of the security of President Barack Obama, his family, and other government officials to be like "Disneyland," Rep. Jack Kingston told MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
Kingston, Pierson, Secret Service
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2014-56-02
Thursday, 02 October 2014 09:56 AM
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