Secret Service Director Julia Pierson met with members of Congress and admitted that White House security dropped the ball when a knife-wielding intruder jumped a White House fence and sprinted right into the family’s residence through an unlocked door. We now know he got right into the East Room reception area.
Pierson faced intense questioning from congressional leaders at a House oversight hearing. Representative Issa focused on the “false report” that claimed the intruder only got just inside the residence door. “An intruder walked in the front door of the White House, and that is unacceptable. Commonsense tells us that there were a series of security failures — not an instance of praiseworthy restraint,” Issa said. Issa hammered the breakdown of the Secret Service security detail. He demanded that the Secret Service needs to fix their problems. He warned the next breach could be a “planned attack by a terrorist organization.”
Before the hearing Pierson issued a statement. “What happened is unacceptable and will never happen again,” she said. “As director, my primary concern is the operational readiness of my workforce and, over the past 18 months, I have worked to proactively address all aspects of presidential protection and the security of the White House complex.” Pierson said she has initiated a “comprehensive review” of of the Sept. 19 breach to “ensure this will not happen again.” She promised a review, which includes a determination of “necessary personnel actions.”
Issa showed his disgust over the trusted government agency that costs America $1.5 billion. Issa also highlighted the recent tarnished history of the agency. This recent incident is a “breach of five layers of security,” He continued to list the countless failures of the Secret Service including the 2009 White House state dinner which an uninvited couple maneuvered themselves into the party and even got footsteps away from the President. He also mention the recent events in Columbia in which several agents were consorting with prostitutes.
Even the Democrats were disgusted over this latest breach of security. Representative Elijah Cummings said the incident shows a “broader problem with the Secret Service” He continued by saying the breach was an epic failure because the suspect was previously stopped by authorities with weapons and directions to the White House in his vehicle. Issa called this incident an “American issue.”
One congressional leader showed disgust that Pierson was protecting her reputation better than her agency protects the White House. Some in the committee believe that Pierson was not expressing the proper outrage at this latest failure.