Thursday, October 02, 2014

SECRET SERVICE - What Went Wrong?

"What went wrong at the Secret Service?" PBS NewsHour 10/1/2014


HARI SREENIVASAN (NewsHour):  We begin with the shakeup at the Secret Service.  The agency’s embattled director Julia Pierson has resigned after a series of incidents that punctured presidential security.

JOSH EARNEST, White House Press Secretary:  Director Pierson offered her recommendation — her resignation today because she believed that it was in the best interest of the agency to which she has dedicated her career.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  From White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, the official announcement this afternoon.  Pierson offered to resign, and the president accepted.

JOSH EARNEST:  Over the last several days, we have seen recent and accumulating reports raising questions about the performance of the agency, and the president concluded that new leadership of that agency was required.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  Just yesterday, Pierson, a 30-year Secret Service veteran, had apologized for security lapses before a House panel yesterday.

JULIA PIERSON, Director, Secret Service:  This is unacceptable, and I take full responsibility.  And I will make sure that it does not happen again.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  Pierson was called to account for a series of revelations, that, in 2011, it took four days for the Secret Service to realize shots had hit the White House and that, last month, a fence jumper with a knife made it deep inside the mansion.  But the director’s answer left lawmakers from both parties cold.

REP. STEPHEN LYNCH, (D) Massachusetts:  I wish to God you — you protected the White House like you’re protecting your reputation here today.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  After the hearing ended came yet another disclosure, that two weeks ago, while the president was in Atlanta, a security guard with a gun and a record of assault and battery got on an elevator with him.

Today, Pierson told Bloomberg News it’s in everyone’s interest that she resign, but she said — quote — “It’s painful to leave as the agency is reeling from a significant security breach.”

Meanwhile, the accused fence jumper, Omar Gonzalez, appeared in federal court.  His lawyer entered a not guilty plea to federal and local charges.

For more on the Pierson resignation, we turn to Carol Leonnig of The Washington Post.  She’s broken several major stories on the Secret Service’s lapses, and she joins us now from The Post’s newsroom.

No comments: