|Cartoon by Cameron Cardow|
I watched with great interest the hearing held today by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that attempted to address the security breaches at the White House.
At one point Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA), ripped Director Julia Pierson a new one, saying that he didn’t believe the Secret Service takes their duty to protect the president seriously and he has “very low confidence” in her leadership. “I wish to God that you protected the White House like you’re protecting your reputation right now.” (The text of her opening statement is here)
Watching the hearing I became annoyed with her constantly turning on and turning off her microphone as she responded to questions in a holier-than-thou monotone voice.
In a scathing report by The Washington Post yesterday, it was learned that the “fence jumper” made it far deeper into the White House than had previously been known which led CBS White House Correspondent Major Garrett to suggest that the Administration in tandem with the Secret Service covered up the September 19th security breach.
According to The Washington Free Beacon, “Garrett said criminal charges should have been filed against Omar Gonzalez, the armed combat veteran who stormed inside the White House and led Secret Service agents on a chase throughout the first floor of the residence before being apprehended in the East Room. Garrett asked why these charges were never filed, suggesting the Secret Service and administration officials wanted to ‘cover up exactly what happened inside the mansion.’”
“Inevitably, if those charges were filed, everyone would have asked what happened inside the executive mansion,” Garrett said. “One explanation for that would be to cover up exactly what happened inside the mansion.”
For this observer, the crème-de-le-crème of the hearing was the moment Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) interrogated the incompetent Secret Service Director. It was glorious.
UPDATE: The Washington Post reported at 5:14 PM today that a security contractor with a gun and three prior convictions for assault and battery was allowed on an elevator with the president during a Sept. 16 trip to Atlanta, violating Secret Service protocols, according to three people familiar with the incident.
The president was not told of the lapse in his security during his trip. Director Julia Pierson, according to two people familiar with the incident, took steps to have the matter reviewed internally and did not refer it to an investigative unit that reviews violations of protocol and standard.
The incident, which rattled Secret Service agents assigned to the president’s detail, occurred as he visited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to discuss the U.S. response to the Ebola crisis.