Tags: Barack Obama | Julia Pierson | secret | service | knife-wielding

White House: Secret Service Chief Won't Resign or Be Fired

By    |   Tuesday, 30 Sep 2014 10:20 PM

Amid the furor over a knife-wielding assailant who made it over the White House fence and into the president's residence 10 days ago before finally being subdued, the Obama administration took pains Tuesday to voice confidence in Secret Service director Julia Pierson and dispel rumors she might resign.

In making it clear that Pierson was not going anywhere, White House press secretary Josh Earnest also answered a "philosophical question" about government's ever having an excuse to mislead the public, and said he never encountered a reason to say anything misleading, "including a security reason."

The regular briefing for White House reporters Tuesday was dominated by questions about the Secret Service's handling of the break-in at the White House on Sept. 20 by Omar Gonzales, and how he was finally stopped at the East Room of the residence when headed for the Obama family's living quarters.

Questioned three times about the status of Pierson, Earnest voiced the president's confidence in the first female head of the agency responsible for protecting first families.

When asked whether the president's confidence in the Secret Service extended to Pierson, Earnest replied without hesitation: "Absolutely."

President Barack Obama's top spokesman then proceeded to praise Pierson's testimony earlier that day before the House Committee on Government Reform.

"[N]otable to me, as I was watching some of the testimony, is that she took responsibility both for what happened and for ensuring that it never happens again," he said "And I think that is a testament to her leadership and her commitment to this job."

When Earnest told how Pierson and other top Secret Service officials briefed Obama (who had already left the White House at the time of Gonzales' alleged break-in), he was asked whether she offered her resignation.

"She did not," he replied.

In an exchange with ABC-TV's Jonathan Karl regarding what the correspondent called "a philosophical question," Earnest was asked, "Is there ever an excuse to mislead the public?"

Calling Karl's question "hypothetical" and "a tricky one," Earnest nonetheless answered it:

"I have worked here at the White House for almost six years now, and I have never encountered a scenario in which I believe that it was appropriate to say something misleading to you or to anybody in the public for any reason, including any security reason."

In saying this and repeating it in a subsequent exchange with another correspondent, Earnest also appeared to contradict a celebrated 1962 remark by then-Pentagon spokesman Arthur Sylvester on the same subject:

"I think the inherent right of the government to lie to save itself when faced with nuclear disaster is basic."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.
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Amid the furor over a knife-wielding assailant who made it over the White House fence and into the president's residence 10 days ago before finally being subdued, the Obama administration took pains Tuesday to voice confidence in Secret Service director Julia Pierson and . . .
Julia Pierson, secret, service, knife-wielding
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2014-20-30
Tuesday, 30 Sep 2014 10:20 PM
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