One silver lining in this media firestorm about how the Secret Service has had one too many mishaps lately is that it’s at least nice to see that Republicans are concerned about the president’s safety. They may not like President Barack Obama, but they want him alive and his house intact and impenetrable.
According to a Washington Post report, that was the sentiment expressed by both Republican and Democratic congressional leaders during a committee hearing Tuesday to address the string of incidents that has the entire nation raising collective eyebrows about just how effective the Secret Service has been at protecting the White House and the first family.
Secret Service Director Julia Pierson was in the hot seat and graciously apologized on behalf of the agency for the Sept. 19 incident in which a man, identified as Omar Gonzalez, was able to scale the White House fence and make it all the way to the East Room before being apprehended. She assured House leaders, and the public, that the agency was launching a full-blown investigation to identify the security loopholes surrounding the incident.
“It will never happen again,” Pierson said.
One Republican leader seemed to suggest that if Secret Service agents couldn’t handle a former veteran with a folded knife in his pocket, how would the agency fare against a coordinated attack by a rebel group?
“Americans know the next attempt to take the White House … could well be a planned attack from a terrorist organization,’’ said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) suggested that Secret Service agents should have used “overwhelming force” against Gonzalez the minute he was seen running across the White House lawn.
“It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly,’’ Pierson maintained.
Pierson also explained that she is well aware that the Secret Service’s job is a zero-sum game.
“We have to be successful 100 percent of the time, and we are constantly making changes and doing everything possible to ensure that we are.”
Read more at the Washington Post.