UPDATE BREAKING: 15:30 10/1/14 Secret Service Director Julia Pierson Resigns.
Video Courtesy of MSNBC
Facing blistering criticism from Congress, Secret Service Director Julia Pierson acknowledged on Tuesday the agency fell short in executing its plan to protect the White House when a man with a knife entered the mansion and ran through half the ground floor before being subdued.
Despite the extraordinary lapses in the Sept. 19 incident, Julia Pierson asserted: “The president is safe today.”
Hours later, reports emerged of yet another failure in Secret Service protocol, this time in President Barack Obama’s presence.
On Sept. 16, an armed federal contractor rode on an elevator with Obama and his security detail while the president was visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, the Washington Examiner reported. The Washington Post reported similar details and added that the man had three convictions for assault and battery. The office of Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, who has helped lead Congress’ investigation, said a whistleblower had provided him the same details.
The gun was discovered only because the contractor was questioned after he persisted in taking video of Obama on the elevator, the reports said. The contractor was fired immediately by his employers.
A Secret Service official confirmed the incident reported by the newspapers but declined to comment further, citing an ongoing investigation of the event.
Was Obama informed? It was unclear. But Pierson, under questioning at the hearing, said she is the one who briefs Obama on threats to his personal security and that she had briefed him only once this year, “for the Sept. 19 incident.”
At the Capitol, Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike expressed the view that the Sept. 19 breach of White House security had blemished the storied agency, and several pressed for an independent inquiry into what went wrong. They were not assuaged by Pierson’s vow that “I’ll make sure that it does not happen again” or by the agency’s own investigation.
“I wish to God you protected the White House like you protected your reputation here today,” Democratic Rep. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts told Pierson at a public hearing that was followed by a classified, closed-door briefing. Rep. Chaffetz said afterward: “The more I learn, the more it scares me.”
It's time for Ms. Pierson to resign, and its time to put some six sigma efforts into why Secret Service processes are failing.