Tags: Barack Obama | Politico | Secret Service | Obama | Omar Gonzalez | White House

Politico Report Rips Culture at Secret Service

Politico Report Rips Culture at Secret Service
Members of the US Secret Service Uniformed Division stand guard outside the White House in Washington, DC. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 01 October 2014 12:36 PM

It is getting harder to defend the foibles of the U.S. Secret Service, an agency tasked with protecting the president but letting down its crucial role at every turn, Politico reports in its latest magazine.

The cover story details a "rotten" agency whose arrogance led it to issue a news release after Omar J. Gonzalez, 42, actually scaled a fence and got way inside the White House last week as showing "restraint" — a superlative dubbed laughable by some FBI agents and one that belies real problems as the president's security seems threatened by such embarrassing gaffes.

Noted Politico's Ronald Kessler of the agency's laxity: "On a regular basis, to appease White House or campaign staffs, Secret Service officials order agents to ignore basic security rules and let people into events without being put through a magnetometer or metal detector. That’s like letting passengers into a commercial airliner without metal detection screening."

Such problems come at a challenging time as the Islamic State's threat spreads and amid fears that President Barack Obama's life has gone shockingly unprotected at a time when vigilance should be paramount, Politico noted, citing the Secret Service's "broken management culture."

"Agents tell me it’s a miracle an assassination has not already occurred. Sadly, given Obama’s colossal lack of management judgment, that calamity may be the only catalyst that will reform the Secret Service," Kessler wrote as congressional hearings featuring tense testimony from lawmakers and its under-fire director Julia Pierson. She acknowledged, with Nixonian passivity, that "mistakes were made" as Hill scrutiny turned harsh from both sides of the political aisle.

Pierson, however was not deeply forthcoming. She left out yet another security breach when she answered pointed questions from lawmakers, CNN noted. This was the fact that a private security agent was on an elevator Sept. 16 with the president during a visit to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — carrying a firearm.

The man had not been vetted by the Secret Service, despite his close proximity. He drew their attention by acting unprofessionally, taking pictures of Obama. Only then did agents determine he had a weapon, a scenario first uncovered by the Washington Examiner.

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It is getting harder to defend the foibles of the U.S. Secret Service, an agency tasked with protecting the president but letting down its crucial role at every turn, Politico reports in its latest magazine.
Politico, Secret Service, Obama, Omar Gonzalez, White House
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2014-36-01
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 12:36 PM
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