Secret Service in Freefall: Cummings Says Pierson “Has to Go.” Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) appeared on Roland Martin’s radio show #NewsOneNow (WOL 1450 in Washington) at 7 a.m. this morning. During the interview he called for the resignation of Secret Service Director Julia Pierson. [NOTE: At 1 minute and 55 seconds, Rep. Cummings says “Ms. Pierson has to go.”]
“I heard nothing yesterday that makes me feel the President is safe 24/7.” Wow. Cummings continued and he was blunt.
“The President is not well served… I think this lady has to go — Ms. Pierson,” he added. “There has to be drastic changes,” he concluded.
And so, with that, we know that Rep. Cummings, who is the most senior Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, heard nothing revelatory in the closed door session with Secret Service Director Julia Pierson after yesterday’s grilling.
Pierson, who has been the Director of the Secret Service since March 2013, gave a lackluster performance that, from a substantive and presentational standpoint, confounded many. After being in the hearing room yesterday for about an hour, I realized that Pierson wasn’t revealing anything that I didn’t already know from reading Carol Leonnig’s pieces in the Washington Post.
One can understand that she couldn’t talk about the current ongoing investigation. But the shooting incident of 2011 has already be adjudicated and the suspect is serving 20 years in prison. Pierson wasn’t the Director in 2011, but she would appear not to know basic details of what now can be defined three years later as a failed assassination attempt.
Pierson’s testimony also revealed that someone at the Secret Service flat out lied about the sequence of events on September 19. Initial reports were that the fence jumper was tackled inside the door of the White House. Later, it was learned that Omar Gonzalez had made it all the way to the far end of the East Room before he was tackled by an off-duty Secret Service officer.
This morning Leonnig is back again with another story detailing an incident in Atlanta on September 16 (not three years ago) where a contractor was allowed in an elevator with a weapon with President Obama. It was later learned the individual had a criminal record.
Between Leonnig’s shocking stories and the fact that a member of the House Government Reform Committee, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), is being contacted by a whistleblower, it would be surprising if Pierson stays in the job much longer. The issue of problems with the President’s security has united Democrats and Republicans in anger against the agency.