Tags: secret service | allen west | white house | security

Former Agent: Hire Allen West to Run the Secret Service

By    |   Tuesday, 30 September 2014 06:42 PM

A former Secret Service agent who spent time guarding the president has an answer to the agency's troubles: Fire director Julia Pierson and hire an outsider to run the organization.

Dan Emmett, the author of "Within Arm's Length: A Secret Service Agent's Definitive Inside Account of Protecting the President," wrote a piece for the Washington Post in which he says the agency needs someone from the military to take charge at the top.

"There is a way to improve our defense of the White House. While the Secret Service considers creating new fences, large buffer zones and checkpoints around the grounds, they are overlooking a simple, cost-effective solution — bringing in the United States military," Emmett writes.

"A true leader, not a bureaucrat, is needed. Someone like Florida congressman and retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Allen West would be perfect for the role. West has successfully demonstrated that he possesses the leadership skills of a combat officer as well as managerial and diplomatic skills of a congressman, exactly the traits needed in the next director. Highly competent and beholden to no one in the Secret Service, he would be a superb director."

Emmett was addressing the recent episode to stain the agency's image: a fencer jumper that ran across the north lawn of the White House, entered the front doors, and eluded several Secret Service officers and agents before being tackled outside of the Green Room on the mansion's first floor.

Pierson testified in front of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Tuesday about the incident, saying the security breach was "unacceptable." 

"I'll make sure that it does not happen again," Pierson said.

Emmett, who also served in the Marine Corps and the CIA, said the Secret Service's Uniformed Division — the branch tasked with guarding the White House, the vice president's residence, foreign embassies, and the main treasury building — needs to be more prepared to defend against an attack. The answer, he writes, is to bring in the military.

"The Uniformed Division, which was not designed to repel a military-type attack, needs to be beefed up with well-armed, well-trained military personnel," Emmett writes. "In addition, the Secret Service needs leadership that fully understands how to balance law enforcement with military force and use them together in harmony. This type of leadership is currently lacking at the Secret Service’s upper level.

"The current director, Julia Pierson, is a former police officer and has served in the Secret Service for 30 years. Pierson, while a highly competent and capable agent with an exemplary record, has no military background and, therefore, doesn’t have the needed perspective to lead the organization in wartime. During periods of extreme danger, as we now find ourselves in, we must be willing to admit that otherwise capable and dedicated agents are not right for the job of director."

Emmett added: "That Omar Gonzalez was armed with a knife rather than weapons capable of multiple casualties, and that he was not a diversion for a larger attack, merely means that the Secret Service was lucky — very lucky. In the business of presidential protection, this was a complete failure, and in that business there is never room for failure.

"Protecting the president of the United States is a mission that should be carried out and presided over by only the most highly qualified individuals. And right now, when we are fighting an enemy that is both capable and determined to attack the homeland, including the White House, those individuals should include the men and women of the U.S. military, working in coordination with the Secret Service."

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A former Secret Service agent who spent time guarding the president has an answer to the agency's troubles: Fire director Julia Pierson and hire an outsider to run the organization.
secret service, allen west, white house, security
Tuesday, 30 September 2014 06:42 PM
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