Secret service

Members of Congress Freak Out Over White House Fence Jumper, Want Secret Service Using More Force

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Rep. Micah at hearing
C-SPAN

Last week, an Iraq war veteran jumped the White House fence armed with a knife and got all the way into the East Room before agents apprehended him. At first, the Secret Service claimed the man, Omar Gonzales, had only gotten just inside the White House. That was a lie, turning what might've been an odd story forgotten by next week into an indicator of bigger problems at the Secret Service.

The Secret Service's controversial recent history—arguing with prostitutes in Colombia, getting drunk in Holland, and missing things like party crashers and gunfire—means the incident became a reason to hold hearings in Congress about the Secret Service. This morning, the director of the Secret Service, Julia Pierson, appeared before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

And while the Secret Service's recent history of mishaps was brought up throughout the hearing, several members of Congress, both Democrat and Republican, appeared more interested in demanding the Secret Service use more force in situations like last week's fence jumper. This even though the president and his family weren't at the White House that day, something the Secret Service knew when responding but Gonzales probably didn't.

Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), for example, insisted the Secret Service should've arrested Gonzales the first time he showed up outside the White House with a hatchet—something Pierson stressed was not illegal. She also stressed that Gonzales was cooperative with authorities at the time.

No matter. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said he and his fellow members of Congress "want to see overwhelming force" in a situation like the fence jump, saying he would defend the lethal use of force. Remember, President Obama and his family were not at the White House when the fence was jumped, so there was no threat to the president during this incident.

Although Pierson promised something like this would "never happen again" (an impossible guarantee to make no matter the vigilance exercised) and said she took full responsibility, it's a big old case of "nothing else happens." Although Pierson acknowledged a failure during the fence jumping incident (debatable: again, the Obamas were not at the White House and the Secret Service agents involved apparently did not feel threatened), she didn't announce any concrete disciplinary measures because of the failure. She did manage, at one point, to blame "funding constraints."

The Secret Service has a $1.8 billion budget in 2014 to protect the president and his family, down from $1.92 billion in 2013. It's just a 6 percent decrease from 2012's budget, a year when the Secret Service had to protect both the president and eventually also his challenger during a long season of election campaigning.

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  1. Solution: You should enclose the White House in an air-tight bubble of bulletproof, bombproof glass. Alternatively, you could expand it to most of DC.

    Guaranteed to be jumper-proof, and it will probably solve a bunch of other problems in…eh, sixteen to forty-seven hours, given the bubble size and number of occupants.

    1. How about this idea, you get some people to guard the President besides some 100 lbs woman who will get her ass kicked in any fight with a man? And maybe we also could get some guards who have their heads out of their asses and release their dogs when they need to?

      And if that means some toady in the media gets his balls bitten off by a Belgium Mallanois because he wondered outside of the White House Press room, well to that I think Don Draper has the right answer. Its okay honey, there are a ton of gutless hacks out there, we will get another one.

      1. I say weaken the presidency to such an extent that only an insane person bother to try to hurt him.

        1. That wouldn’t hurt. But it won’t happen over night. And no matter how much you weakened him, his symbolic value and celebrity will always attract nuts. What power did John Lennon have? Nothing except the power to make the shit head who murdered him famous. And for some shitheads that is enough.

          1. Sure. How about a few private bodyguards? That way, there’s at least potential liability if someone gets improperly blown away.

        2. They can’t all be Squeaky Fromme.

        3. I believe it was John Quincy Adams who was once forced to give an interview to a reporter who stole his clothes from the riverbank while he was swimming. THAT’s the level of respect people should have for the President.

          1. That is a nice dream Jensen but in our world it isn’t happening, ever.

      2. THASSS SEXXXXXISSSSTTTTT!!

  2. Since the assination of a President is a huge problem that produces all kinds of bad blood and conspiracy theories and one lone nut only has to get lucky once for that to happen, the Secret Service is one organization that ought to be paranoid. I am on board with the famous Don Draper response to the Kennedy assassination as much as anyone. (For those who don’t know in one of the great moments in television in history the Draper character on Mad Men responded to his daughter crying “Daddy they have killed the President” with “it’s okay honey, we will get another one) But assassinations are really bad for the country. I don’t want Obama escaping blame for his failures by being made a martyr or the left being able to blame their political opponents for the murder of a President.

    The Secret Service is broke. If some nut with a dumb ass scheme like jumping over the fence and running into the White House can actually get that far into the White House, they and by extension the rest of us have a real problem. This is not good.

    1. In a weird way, I would prefer the POTUS be stabbed to death, rather than being shot to death by a gun with a shoulder thing that goes up.

      1. There is that. Of course that wouldn’t stop the left from going full on Reichstag fire and using it as an excuse to criminalize their opponents.

      2. Actually, I should say “full on Kirov assassination”.

      3. I’m down with that as long as whoever plays Casca remembers to deliver the line “Speak, hands for me!” before stabbing him.

        1. How about if the Lightworker would cry out “Fly good Biden, fly, fly fly!”

      4. If he were to die, my preference would be it being due to Michelle bludgeoning him to death with a sack of Bisquick, then ripping his arms off.

        My second choice would be him choking on an organic fair-trade rice cake.

        My third choice would be autoerotic asphyxiation.

        I speak, of course, purely from the standpoint of aesthetics.

    2. I don’t want Obama escaping blame for his failures by being made a martyr or the left being able to blame their political opponents for the murder of a President.

      TMFT… The left is already trying to make him a martyr; anybody who disagrees with him is supposedly motivated solely by race-hatred. If he were shot, the scene would be reminiscent of Khomeni’s funeral.

      Sadly, I think the majority of historians will work hard to pin the blame for Obama’s failures on other people.

      1. Most likely BOOOSH!!!

      2. Of course they are. Him being assassinated would just make the job a hundred times easier. No thanks.

      3. What a great opp’ty to kill everyone at the funeral. And then at their funerals! That way no innocents get hurt.

    3. No we don’t. Fuck the president. It’s a peril of the job that they might get whacked. Boo hoo. We don’t need to start having the SS shooting anyone who even looks like they might jump a fence.

      This attitude of yours, John, contributes to the cult of the Presidency. “They must be protected at all costs”. Fuck that shit.

      1. Sure it is part of the job. And sure we can easily get another one. That, however, doesn’t change the fact that the Left would use the assination of Obama to do all kinds of evil.

        Look what happened as a result of the Kennedy assasination. Had Kennedy lived there is a half decent chance he wouldn’t have been re-elected. And if he had, there would have been nothing like the Democratic majority Johnson got. Instead, Kennedy got shot, the Left lied and blamed it on the Right and were able to get a one time freakish majority and we got the great society as a result. It didn’t matter that the Dems lost their ass in the 1966 midterms or that Johnson later left office in disgrace, the damage was done.

        Let Obama get assassinated and we could see Hillary in 2016, which we may anyway, but with a 2009 like Democratic majority. Yeah, keep the fucker alive at all costs.

        1. So you’re willing to boost the Cult of the Presidency in order to protect against the highly unlikely event that Obama gets assassinated and then Hillary becomes president. Good thinking, John. That’s looking to the future.

          1. How is saying “don’t let the idiot get shot” boosting the cult of the Presidency? Even if you don’t like Obama, you shouldn’t want to see him dead. And clearly there is a lot of people out there who would happily make that happen.

            Moreover, in the list of things that boost the cult of the Presidency, “keeping him alive” is pretty damn far down the list of importance. And even if it were not, that still wouldn’t change the reality of what the Left would be able to do if anything ever happened to him.

            If you have such a hard on for a President getting shot, fine. Just do me a favor and wait until there is a Republican in office. If a Republican gets killed, the media won’t give a shit and nothing bad will happen.

          2. And lastly, I would refer you to the history of Russia after the assassination of Alexander III. It didn’t turn out so well, primarily because once political violence starts there is no real stopping it. And make no mistake, the Left and its media enablers will spin the assassination of Obama as political violence no matter what the truth. And once that happens, the truth doesn’t matter. The perception of it being so does the same damage.

            1. Every assassination in the U.S. has made things worse; Lincoln, gave us the stronger permanent central government; Garfield gave us the civil service act; McKinley gave us /shudder Teddy Roosevelt and an ascendant progressive movement.

              The SS doesn’t need to shoot random passers by to be effective guards. Nor is the choice between shooting people at the slightest provocation and allowing a suicide bomber to wake up the Obamas with a fragmentation grenade in bed.

              1. I agree. They didn’t have to shoot him. They just had to tackle him and kick his ass. If doing that some day means a few agents get blown up by a would be suicide bomber, well that is what they get paid to do.

        2. …the Left would use the assination of Obama…

          Great typo.

        3. Trouble is, Kennedy probably would still have creamed Goldwater. Any reason to think that if Kennedy had lived, Romney or Rocky would’ve gotten the nomination? I don’t see it. Too soon for Nixon after 1962.

          Worst would’ve been if Kennedy had survived an assassination attempt with a wound. That would’ve gotten him mad! The SS might’ve had to put him down then.

          Bad as presidents lately have been, the 1960s was a decade of doom for the White House. Obama’s awful, but if you avg. him with the preceding 2 POTUS, they’re nowhere near as devastating & dangerous as the sequence Kennedy-Johnson-Nixon.

          1. Even if Kennedy had won, he would have never won with the freakish majorities Johnson had so he never would have gotten the great society through Congress. And I don’t think Kennedy would have even wanted to do so.

            Like Tarran said above, every Presidential assassination has resulted in some self inflicted disaster for the country. Lets not risk that again if we can avoid it.

        4. I don’t think Obama’s assassination would have nearly the impact you think. I think there’d be a great sigh of relief all around. The “left” would no longer be saddled with that embarrassment; imagine Biden’s being less embarrassing than someone! It wouldn’t be blamed on the “right”, but on the Arabs and/or Muslims, no matter what the appearance of the assassin or hir overt cx.

          1. Oswald was a committed communist who killed Kennedy in revenge for his treatment of Castro. That didn’t stop the left from blaming it on the Right.

            And I fail to see how the left escaping full accounting for Obama and the embarrassment he is, is in any way a good thing or something not to be avoided at all costs.

          2. I think if PotUS was struck by lightning on the 10th hole it’s possible many on the left would indeed “sigh with relief.”

            But then they would use the “crisis” to pass the Obama Total Gun Ban, the Obama $50 Minimum Wage Law, the Obama Icky Fuel Prohibition Rule, and Michelle’s Every Child Goes Vegan Act. Just to start with.

      2. You know, we could just solve the problem by having the President followed everywhere by one armed guy who has to be in his personal space at all times. Might make the nights with Mrs. President awkward, but fuck it, it’s a public office, you should have to make sacrifices.

        1. Or just fix the secret service so it can do its fucking job.

          1. Pick up foreign whores for cheap?

            1. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.

      3. Fuck the president. It’s a perilfeature of the job that they might get whacked.

  3. Hounds. Even Monty Burns has hounds to release. We have some hounds at the White House, right? So release them. Pretty simple.

    1. Who in their right mind would be afraid of Bo?

    2. Since LBJ they’ve all been earless.

  4. “took full responsibility”

    I’m guessing not really. I am no fan of Samurai culture or suicide, but at least their code had a serious interpretation of “taking full responsibility”

    1. “I take full responsibility” is bureaucratic for “go fuck yourself”.

      1. Just like, “we’re looking into the matter” is bureaucratic for “go fuck yourself.”

        Matter of fact, a lot of terms are bureaucratic for some variant of “go fuck yourself”.

  5. Frankly, I think the Secret Service handled this just about right. They decided the guy was mostly harmless and treated him as such. It’s much better than pumping him full of lead the moment his feet hit the ground.

    1. Its not like he walked past the Secret Service and ended up alone in a room with the President.

      1. “Okay, people, listen up. New policy: We’ll allow them to get halfway up the stairs to the residence, then we take them down. We don’t need to overreact, after all.”

    2. I am not saying shoot him. However, the fact that he got that far and really by dumb luck could have done real harm is not a good thing. They did not handle this well.

    3. Any strange guy running into the White House should, by definition, be considered dangerous. Can you spot a suicide vest with just a glance at a sprinting intruder?

      And there are plenty of less-than-lethal means to taking down someone. See also: Hounds.

      1. Suicide vest+dead man’s trigger?.

    4. Wait. Boots on the ground?

    5. I agree with some guy.

      The standard should be the same for the SS that it is for everyone else: lethal force is justified if you rationally believe it to be necessary to stop imminent harm to yourself or another. Maybe in the case of protecting the President to threshold for what can be rationally believed to be a source of imminent harm should be lower, but that gives them the leeway they need to do their (admittedly important) job without giving them cover to blast apart anyone funny-looking within a mile of the POTUS.

      1. You don’t have to shoot the guy to keep him from getting in the White House. That is a straw man. Just because they didn’t shoot him doesn’t mean they did their jobs.

  6. I can’t wait until some Representative gets locked out of the West Wing after going to take a piss and throws a hissy fit. Shot is too much to hope for.

    1. So you are telling me that we can reduce the chance of another Presidential assassination and increase the chances of a member of Congress or the media being mauled by a pack of large dogs?

      I am not seeing a downside here.

      1. Only how sick those poor dogs will be if they get hold of either congresscritters or media hacks.

  7. Oh, this just gets better. Just posted at the WaPo
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..ingtonpost

    The guy who tackled the intruder just happened to be there because he was off-duty.

    Jeez

    1. The next revelation will be that it was another intruder who tackled the first intruder.

  8. $1.8 Billion. Think about that for a minute.

    1. For $1.8B/year I could secure any given terrorist organization’s #2 guy against assassination.

    2. To protect a few assholes who fuck us every day. Yay, can we spend more?

      1. They also investigate currency crimes. Protecting the President is only a small part of everything they do.

        1. They also investigate currency crimes.

          So the SS will be taking down the Fed any day now, right?

          Yeah, I understand they investigate counterfeiting and the like, but that’s not even a drop in the bucket compared to the currency malfeasance perpetuated by our central bankers and their enablers in Congress every day.

    3. How many countries even have a military budget that high?

  9. I suggest positioning a TV camera on one side of the main doorway into the White House and Chuck Schumer on the other side.

    Anything blocking Schumer’s image on a TV camera for even a nanosecond will be instantly assaulted with his Senatorial bulk.

    1. Back up system would be Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton.

  10. TOP MEN

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/…..treet.html

    “Some will bemoan, ‘Oh, Eric cashed in, and this is all about him chasing money,'” said Mike Ference, Cantor’s former senior policy adviser and now a partner at Washington-based lobbying firm S-3 Group. “Smarter people get that’s not actually true. There have to be respectable men and women who run, quite frankly, the system.”

    First, this asshole acts as if Moelis & Co. would pay $3.4M for the services of Eric Cantor, Certified Financial Analyst? like it did for Eric Cantor, former Senator.

    Second, Eric Cantor was fired for being a crony piece of shit. He is not respectable.

    1. and now a partner at Washington-based lobbying firm S-3 Group

      Oh man, I totally trust the lesser demons to tell me how Satan is getting a bum rap.

    2. It puts the whole Bob Mcdonald trial into a bit of perspective. McDonald is going to prison for selling access to some fly by night vitamin salesman. Cantor acts as the Representative from Molis & Co and collects millions for his services and it is all perfectly legal.

      I think we should just legalize bribery as long as it is done openly. That would be better than what we have.

  11. Wouldn’t it be easier just to put the president into some sort of robotic battlesuit at all times?

  12. “…both Democrat and Republican, appeared more interested in demanding the Secret Service use more force in situations like last week’s fence jumper. This even though the president and his family weren’t at the White House that day, something the Secret Service knew when responding but Gonzales probably didn’t.”

    Whoa. Hold on here. Are you saying it was ok for the Secret Service to let this guy romp through the White House because they knew the prez & fam weren’t at home? Or that they’re less culpable due to that fact?

    Seriously, shouldn’t they be at the same state of alert to any and all breaches of perimeter security? You know, just in case Rand Paul is visting or something?

    1. Yes they should. And how exactly do you stop the guy without using more force? Clearly the force they were using didn’t work.

      1. That’s easy, John. They offer him money to leave. If he rejects the first offer, keep increasing it. I mean, we’re talking about the federal government, which believes there is no limit to the amount it can keep spending.

        1. And since incentives never matter, except when it relates to abortion, paying people who jump over the White House fence and threaten the President large sums of money to leave will never result in more people doing so.

          1. Ah, so you understand government economics. Exactly.

  13. Here’s a nice conspiracy theory:

    They SS sent just the single woman to subdue the man in order to hail her as the hero. Apparently, they didn’t have a backup plan since an off-duty agent subdued him.

  14. My understanding was that the US Secret Service has been a sinecure for incompetents since its founding.

    1. Static security is boring as hell. No one with any brains volunteers to do it. Would you want to sit and guard the fence at the White House every day?

  15. “…But a president? Well…why not kill a president?”

    1. +1 Let’s shoot some pheasant

      1. (and for all you secret service types…it’s a movie quote)

  16. Probably about time to drop this, for all the folks who still think Oswald acted alone:

    http://www.theonion.com/articl…..963,10584/

    1. I laughed. Although National Lampoon did a similar “news” report back in the 1970’s.

  17. Last week, an Iraq war veteran jumped the White House fence armed with a knife and got all the way into the East Room before agents apprehended him.

    So was this guy “armed” with a knife or did he simply have a pocketknife in his pocket?

    CNN called him:

    a 42-year-old knife-wielding Iraq war veteran

    So was it a Rambo knife or a Boy Scout knife, and was his intention to use it on the president?

    1. That seems to be a pretty good assumption. I doubt he was out jogging and decided to jump the fence to get in a little obstacle work.

      Beyond that, it doesn’t matter what his actual intent was. He got over the fence and into the White House. If whatever failure that allowed that isn’t fixed, someone else can do the same thing and they might not be as friendly.

      1. It’s got that thing that goes up.

  18. So the ATF, DEA, Secret Service, FBI, TSA, etc. are all scandal ridden thugs and/or incompetents.

    What about the US Marshal Service, are their agents a bunch of thieving, spying, worthless and/or murdering thugs?

      1. Forgot all about the IRS, SEC, and CIA.

        Thanks.

  19. Headline
    Third grade girl shot dead by SS when she wonders into “secure zone” looking for potty in WH.
    ROFL.

  20. Watching rome burn is never pretty

  21. As if someone jumping the fence were the most serious sort of security threat, as compared with, for example, a MLRS attack.

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