During an appearance on Capitol Hill by Secret Service Director Julia Pierson in front of the House Government Oversight Committee (an appearance in dire need of communications advice), she flatly told onlookers that problems with the agency were “not a pattern.”
Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV) slammed the Secret Service’s “pattern of lax security.” But Director Pierson said there was, “not a pattern.” Nevermind this conversation goes on with the head of a security team that protects the most threatened U.S. President in history since Abraham Lincoln. It’s been reported that President Obama is receiving three times the threats as President Bush. No one at the Secret Service has denied that claim.
“Let me be frank, I believe you have done a disservice to the President of the United States,” Rep. Horsford told Director Pierson.
One has to wonder how Pierson could have spent 30 years in the Secret Service and not have noticed a recent pattern. The problems are particularly shocking for an agency that has avoided being embarrassed in the press.
There have been five security lapses (that we know of) over the last five years involving the U.S. Secret Service. The first occurred in November 2009, President Obama’s first year in office, when Tareq and Michaele Salahi, attended a State Dinner they had no invitations for. They ended up shaking hands with President Obama and India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the White House.
In 2011, Oscar Ortega-Hernandez, 23, shot at least seven rounds at the White House with an assault rifle from his car, which was parked on Pennsylvania Ave. The incident wasn’t investigated and included incorrect explanations (construction nearby?) and ridiculous searches for black gang members on Rock Creek Parkway. Ortega-Hernandez was only apprehended because he got into a car accident nearby.
In 2012, in Cartagena, Colombia, at least 13 Secret Service agents engaged in a booze-fueled night that included prostitution and other assorted mayhem.
In 2013, Miriam Carey, 34, tried to to crash through a White House barrier with a car. Carey then departed the White House perimeter and was chased by the Secret Service down to the U.S. Capitol and rammed a barrier there. She was then shot by members of the U.S. Capitol Police.
In 2014, Omar Gonzalez, 42, manages to jump the fence, run across the White House lawn and into the front door of the President’s residence. Gonzalez, who had a knife, ran into the East Room and past the steps leading to the living quarters. Gonzalez was tackled by a member of the Secret Service who was off duty.