Tags: Barack Obama | Joseph Clancy | Secret Service | replica | White House | training

Secret Service Chief Wants Replica White House for Training

Secret Service Chief Wants Replica White House for Training
(Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 17 March 2015 02:36 PM

To do a better job protecting the real White House, the Secret Service wants $8 million to build a fake one.

The New York Times reports that Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy, in prepared testimony before the House Appropriations Committee, is seeking funds to build a replica of the White House at the Secret Service's 500-acre training area in Beltsville, Maryland, about 20 miles from the real White House.

Currently, Clancy said, "We train on a parking lot, basically. We put up a makeshift fence and walk off the distance between the fence to the White House and the actual house itself.

"We don’t have on that parking lot, we don’t have the bushes, we don’t have the fountains, we don’t get a realistic look at the White House.

"Even our K-9s, they’re responding on hard surfaces rather than grass. So we think it’s important to have a true replica of what the White House is so we can do a better job of this integrated training between our uniformed division officers, our agents and our tactical teams," the Times reported.

Politico notes that the request comes in the wake of a lengthy series of scandals involving Secret Service agents hiring prostitutes in Colombia, failing to intercept a man who jumped the White House fence last year and made it through an unlocked front door into the foyer before being tackled, and a March 4 incident in which agents drove into a White House barricade while returning from a drinking outing.

The intruder incident and others, including gunshots fired into the White House and an armed security guard with a felony record allowed to ride in an Atlanta elevator with President Barack Obama, resulted in the resignation of Secret Service Director Julia Pierson and Clancy's subsequent appointment to head the agency, USA Today reported.

While testifying at the House Appropriations Committee, Clancy was blasted by lawmakers who insisted that he needed to take serious action, including moving agents around or firing them, to fix the agency's problems.

Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, told Clancy, "You’ve got a big job, and you’re going to have to make some heads roll. If there’s a place that’s the Mojave Desert of the Secret Service, maybe you’re gonna have to send some people to the Mojave Desert."

Committee Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., told Clancy, "Your actions should be punishment, termination, firing people. This is a breakdown, to put it mildly, of discipline within the ranks of your agency, and that’s a cancer that can consume you," Politico reported.

The White House replica, which would provide a "more realistic environment, conducive to scenario-based training exercises," Clancy said, would include the facade of the White House residence, the East and West Wings, guard booths and the surrounding grounds and roads, the Times reports.

In addition, the Secret Service is seeking funds to renovate a "live-fire shoot house" and a "tactical village" training site on the property, the Times noted.

A panel appointed by Department of Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson recommended that Secret Service employees train "in conditions that replicate the physical environment in which they will operate," and added, "A security team should also be trained so that it is intimately familiar with the space in which it is operating," the Times reports.

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To do a better job protecting the real White House, the Secret Service wants $8 million to build a fake one.
Joseph Clancy, Secret Service, replica, White House, training
Tuesday, 17 March 2015 02:36 PM
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