An internal Secret Service report revealed more than “1,000 security breaches and vulnerabilities,” according to a House investigator who said that a “politically correct” culture is endangering President Obama.
“There are new details that will come out that — you really have to question if security is their number one objective,” Representative Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah), who sits on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that is holding a Tuesday hearing on the Secret Service, tells National Review Online. “They want to be politically correct.”
Chaffetz backs that up by reference to the Secret Service’s statement on the most recent security breach, when a man jumped the White House fence and entered the building before being stopped.
“Although last night the officers showed tremendous restraint and discipline in dealing with this subject, the location of Gonzalez’s arrest is not acceptable,” the Secret Service press release said. (That statement was issued before whistleblowers revealed that the fence-jumper made it all the way to the East Room of the White House, on the second floor.)
“When is that the goal and objective of the Secret Service? ‘Restraint?’ Because he had no apparent weapons?” Chaffetz points out. “In this day and age of ISIS and suicide bombers, we don’t know what he has underneath of his clothing. He could have a dirty bomb or improvised explosive device. You just don’t know. It’s totally unfair for an agent to have to make a split second decision on whether or not to use lethal force. If you can’t get a dog or a person in between the person rushing the White House and the White House itself, you may have to use a more lethal weapon.”
Chaffetz emphasizes that “there are a lot of very good men and women” at the Secret Service, but he said that the leadership of the Secret Service has been politicized since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
“When 9/11 happened and they reconfigure the Secret Service — took it out of Treasury; put it in Homeland Security — and made the director a Senate-confirmed position, it seems to me it became much more of a political appointee as opposed to a director who is a career servant person,” the congressman says.
The result has been a major breakdown in the morale and effectiveness of the people tasked with protecting the First Family.
“I want to hear out the director, I want to give her a chance to try to explain herself, but I’m going into the hearing with the strong impression that there is a total failure in leadership and questionable protocol,” Chaffetz says.
That concern springs in part from an internal report that surveyed 6,500 Secret Service agents, asking if they had observed any vulnerabilities or security breaches.
“And they had all these different boxes you could check. More than 1,000 of these boxes were checked,” Chaffetz says. “Now, that doesn’t mean a thousand of the 6,500 agents saw something, but there were enough agents to highlight more than 1,000 security vulnerabilities and breaches that really, really scare me.”