Tags: secret service | Shin bet | learn | mistakes

Ex-Shin Bet Dir. to Secret Service: Study Your Errors and Improve

Image: Ex-Shin Bet Dir. to Secret Service: Study Your Errors and Improve
Secret Service agents step from their helicopter to protect U.S. President Barack Obama. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters/Landov)

By    |   Wednesday, 08 Oct 2014 06:33 PM

Israeli government security is known as world class, and now the former director of the country's own protective detail, Shin Bet, is acknowledging opportunities for improvement by the U.S. Secret Service as concerns over the agency's protection of the president continue.

Writing in Politico magazine, Avi Dichter, former minister of internal security, says the U.S. must use its "almost" incidents and study the recent security breaches as if the worst had actually happened.

"While we are all thankful that nothing happened to President Obama or his family in the recent incidents involving the man who jumped the fence at the White House, and another man who was armed while riding an elevator with the president in Atlanta, these close brushes with danger should be a great teaching tool," Dichter wrote in Politico.

"Now the Secret Service has a pair of 'almosts' to learn from, and 'almost' is the best school or university I have ever seen."

Of the recent elevator incident where an armed security guard who had not been properly vetted rode with the president, Dichter was blunt.

"Vetting must be mistake-free at all times. No one like that would ever have been allowed to get within the inner ring in Israel. The Secret Service should completely re-evaluate how they do that," he wrote. "There is no way someone like that who was not investigated by agents should be in close proximity to the president."

As for the man who scaled a White House fence and made it a good ways into the White House, Dichter urged officials to study it "as if he had actually succeeded in attacking the president or the First Family."

He added: "Only by assuming the worst happened can you ensure that it never will happen."

Comparing U.S. security concerns to mistakes made in the 1995 Tel Aviv assassination of former Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin, he said the Secret Service must refresh its force, be wary of fatigue and make sure individuals and teams in such an important job always be updated on their training, lest a tragedy occur in America. His comments came as critics, including columnist Thomas Friedman, decried the agency's "punch the clock" mentality, the San Francisco Chronicle noted.

Now as interim Secret Service Director Joe Clancy takes the reins amid deeper scrutiny, Dichter was clear about his broader mission.

"The principle here is this: The cocoon a world leader travels in must be airtight, but at the same time you can’t make it seem as if the prime minister, or the president, is in a jail," Dichter wrote in Politico. "He must be free to move about. It is always a difficult balance to strike."

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Israeli government security is known as world class, and now the former director of the country's own protective detail, Shin Bet, is acknowledging opportunities for improvement by the U.S. Secret Service as concerns over the agency's protection of the president...
secret service, Shin bet, learn, mistakes
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2014-33-08
Wednesday, 08 Oct 2014 06:33 PM
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