White House press secretary Josh Earnest admitted on Wednesday that President Obama was not told that he unwittingly shared an elevator with an armed felon, learning about the Secret Service snafu only after the press corps began investigating the breach.
During the president’s visit to the Centers for Disease Control earlier this month, a local security officer with multiple felonies acted strangely around Obama while the two shared an elevator. After the individual was pulled aside for questioning, Secret Service officials were horrified to learn that he was carrying a concealed firearm. Whether the president is at home or traveling, the agency is expected to properly vet all armed individuals with access to the president.
The incident went unreported until Tuesday afternoon, when it broke in the press. “Did Director Pierson brief the president on that incident?” CNN’s Jim Acosta asked Earnest.
“Jim, I can tell you that the White House first learned of that incident yesterday afternoon, shortly before it was publicly reported by a news organization,” Earnest replied.
“And that’s a problem, right?” Acosta pressed.
“Well,” Earnest paused. “It would be accurate for you to assume that when incidents like that occur, that there would be a pretty open channel between the United States Secret Service, the Department of Homeland Security, and ultimately the White House.”