OBAMACSI.COM: During a meeting between Obama and lawmakers at the White House, Pamela Morgan, a 46-year old white female jumped the White House fence while carrying a back pack and screamed, "There is a bomb 150 yards away!"
Title: Fence-Jumper Immediately Apprehended At White House
Date: June 9, 2009
Source: Washington Times
Abstract: Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said that the fence-jumper was a 46-year old white female, Pamela Morgan, who has been transferred into the custody of the Metropolitan Police Department.Morgan jumped the fence in the northeast corner of the compound and was carrying a back pack with her.
Secret Service apprehended Morgan immediately but left her backpack where it was so that explosives experts could examine it, which is standard procedure whenever a package of any sort is thrown or carried onto the grounds.
The White House went into lockdown mode Tuesday after a person jumped the fence around the compound and was immediately apprehended, a Secret Service spokesman said.
The north side of the compound, where the fence-jumping is believed to have occurred, was shut down, with reporters and staff unable to walk around outside.
But after the compound had been on lockdown for roughly 20 minutes, reporters in the Brady Press Briefing Room saw members of the House Ways and Means Committee, a key panel in the current healthcare reform effort, walking down the driveway from the West Wing to the north gate on their way out of the compound.
The lawmakers had been at the White House for a meeting with President Obama.
Given the high stakes of the healthcare debate, members of the press wanted to speak with the lawmakers. Since they were walking down the driveway freely, I stuck my head out of the door to the briefing room and asked a uniformed Secret Service officer (different than the plain clothes Secret Service) whether we were still on lockdown.
"There is a bomb 150 yards away!" she yelled, which was an alarming claim to make, but highly dubious given the fact that members of Congress were strolling down the driveway toward the area in which the officer was saying there was a bomb.
When I pointed this out to the officer she yelled, "Step back inside sir!"
called the Secret Service public affairs office to see if there was any
truth to the officer's assertion. They said absolutely not, there was
definitely no bomb, and that the only information they had was that a
person had jumped the fence and been taken into custody immediately (Washington Times, 2009).
OBAMACSI.COM: For the first time in history, a U.S. President was accessed by individuals that had no business entering the White House. Michaele and Tareq Salahi, a married couple from Virginia, and Carlos Allen (from the District of Columbia) and an Unknown man were able to pass through two security checkpoints (including one requiring positive photo identification), and enter the White House complex eventually meeting President Barack Obama in person.
Title: 2009 U.S. State Dinner Security Breaches
Date: November 24, 2009
Abstract: On November 24, 2009, Michaele and Tareq Salahi, a married couple from Virginia, and Carlos Allen (from the District of Columbia), attended a White House state dinner for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, allegedly without being invited guests.
The Salahis and Allen arrived separately and did not appear to have colluded in their efforts. They were able to pass through two security checkpoints (including one requiring positive photo identification), enter the White House complex, and meet President Barack Obama. Fallout from the incident included an array of security investigations, legal inquiries, and sensationalistic reporting (Wikipedia, 2009).
Title: Crashers Met Obama; Secret Service Apologizes
Date: November 28, 2009
Abstract: The White House has released a photo showing that the couple who crashed President Barack Obama's first state dinner actually shook hands and talked to him — contradicting earlier Secret Service claims that Obama was never endangered by the security breach.
As the White House was disclosing that the couple, Michaele and Tareq
Salahi, met Obama in the receiving line, a "deeply concerned and
embarrassed" Secret Service on Friday acknowledged that its officers
never checked whether the two were on the guest list before letting them
onto the White House grounds.
"This incident compromised the safety and security of the president and undermined our confidence in the protection we expect of the Secret Service," said Rep. Edolphus Towns, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (NBC, 2009).
Title: Secret Service Let Third Intruder Into White House
Date: January 4, 2010
At the last minute, someone from the Indian diplomatic delegation invited a man to attend the White House event on Nov. 24 without the knowledge or consent of the White House.
As with the Salahis, the Secret Service ignored the fact that the man was not on the guest list and failed to conduct a background check on him.
This new example of Secret Service laxness came to light when the agency was investigating why Secret Service Uniformed Division officers let the Salahis into the state dinner.
At a hearing on Dec. 3 by the House Homeland Security Committee, Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., asked Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan whether any other “interlopers” might have been allowed into the event by the Secret Service.
“Ma’am, that was a concern of mine, as well,” Sullivan replied. “That is something we have focused on; I cannot talk about it in this setting, but I believe that I can satisfy you in explaining that there were no other people there that night that should not [have been let in].”
Subsequently, the Secret Service examined surveillance video of arriving guests and attempted to match the images with the guest list. The agency spotted an African-American man wearing a tuxedo who had not been invited. He appeared to be with members of the Indian delegation.
Checking further, agents found that a State Department official had picked him up, along with others from the Indian delegation, at the Willard InterContinental Hotel and had driven him from the hotel to the White House.
The man turned out not to pose a threat, but because the Secret Service failed to perform a background check, the agency never would have known if he was, for example, wanted for murder or involved with terrorist groups. Ironically, in the movie “In the Line of Fire,” an assassin was able to gain access to the president in similar fashion.
Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan initially did not respond to a request from Newsmax for comment. After the Newsmax story ran, the Secret Service issued a statement confirming that “a third individual, who was not on the White House guest list, entered the state dinner.”
The statement added, “It appears at this point that the subject traveled from a local hotel, where the official Indian delegation was staying, and arrived at the dinner with the group, which was under the responsibility of the Department of State. This individual went through all required security measures along with the rest of the official delegation at the hotel and boarded a bus/van with the delegation guests en route to the White House.
"At present, there is nothing to indicate that this individual went through the receiving line or had contact with the president or first lady. Unlike the rest of the members of the official delegation, this individual was not entered into the WAVES system [for a background check].”
The reference to the individual's going through unspecified required security procedures appears to mean he went through magnetometer screening. But as the Secret Service statement said, the man was neither invited by the White House nor given a background check through the WAVES system. Nor did the State Department official know him.
The fact that someone in the Indian delegation vouched for the man did not mean he was not an assassin. Under Secret Service procedures, even if the White House chief of staff invites his parents to the the White House, they still must submit to a background check.
Until the Newsmax story ran, mortified Secret Service officials had failed to notify the House committee investigating the Salahi security breach of this latest embarrassment to the agency.
As outlined in my book “In the President’s Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect,” the Secret Service routinely misleads members of Congress by presenting as spontaneous threat scenarios that were in fact secret rehearsed and by citing in congressional hearings arrest statistics that are padded with arrests made by local law enforcement.
In addition, since it was absorbed into the Department of Homeland Security in 2003, the Secret Service has been cutting corners. For example, it does not pass people through magnetometers or shuts down the devices early. It has cut back on the size of counterassault teams. It does not allow agents time for regular firearms requalification or physical training.
As pointed out in the Newsmax story "White House Security Breach Is Tip of Iceberg," the decision by uniformed officers to ignore the fact that people were not on the guest list is an expected outcome of such corner cutting and lowering of standards.
In part, the corner cutting stems from Secret Service management’s refusal to demand more funds. Because the agency is understaffed, the workload overwhelms uniformed officers, who protect the White House, and agents, who protect the president. Within the Uniformed Division alone, the attrition rate is as high as 12 percent a year.
In addition, the agency bows to political pressure. As revealed in the book, when Dick Cheney’s daughter Mary insisted that her detail drive her friends to restaurants and the agents refused, she got her detail leader removed. The fact that Secret Service management does not back personnel when they are doing their job properly no doubt contributed to the uniformed officers’ decision not to turn away the glamorous couple at a state dinner, avoiding possible repercussions.
In his testimony to the House committee, Secret Service Director Sullivan referred only once to the Secret Service’s own failure in operating the White House guard post. He said it used only one magnetometer, although it usually operated with two.
That suggests that uniformed officers were under even more pressure than usual to move everyone through the checkpoint. It is another symptom of the Secret Service’s disregard for the need for more funds and more personnel. Yet Sullivan denied to committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi who ran the hearing with remarkable fairness, that the agency needs more funds.
“I don’t believe it is an institutional problem,” Sullivan said. “I believe it is an isolated incident.”
According to a high-level Secret Service official who requested anonymity, Sullivan’s own staff is convinced he must go — for the good of the agency and the people it protects.
In the latest example of lack of leadership, the official said, Sullivan has failed to distribute new funds authorized by the agency’s current budget, which President Obama signed into law two months ago.
Sullivan has also been routinely acceding to requests by White House officials for Secret Service protection when there are no threats against those individuals, and the agency is undermanned as it is.
The Secret Service official cited the fact that the Secret Service has taken no steps to update security technology. For example, he said, while the uninvited guests passed through magnetometers to detect metal, they could have been carrying biological or chemical weapons or an explosive such as Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab concealed in his crotch on Northwest Airways Flight 253 on Christmas Day.
To provide adequate security, the Secret Service should use whole-body imaging scanners that use radio waves or X-rays to reveal objects under a person’s clothes, the official said.
The official noted that prior to the state dinner, Secret Service agents met with the White House social office and agreed that there was no need for the social office to staff the guard posts with aides, placing further pressure on uniformed officers.
“To this date, not one high-level person has been held accountable for these failures and corner cutting,” the official said. “Secretary Janet Napolitano has failed to hold this director accountable. He [Sullivan] doesn’t want to ruffle anyone’s feathers. He doesn’t want to ask for more money. He is more concerned about appeasing the administration.”
The official added, “A large majority at headquarters has lost faith in him. Everybody’s waiting for the day he leaves. This agency has some very talented people, and that is clearly lacking in the case of the director” (Newsmax, 2011).
3. THE PRESIDENTIAL THREAT TASK FORCE
Title: Threats Against Obama Prompt Secret Task Force
Date: July 26, 2010
Abstract: Threats against President Obama have become so disturbing that a secret Presidential Threat Task Force has been created within the FBI to gather, track, and evaluate assassination threats that might be related to domestic or international terrorism.
The task force operates within the FBI’s National Security Branch. It consists of 20 representatives from pertinent agencies, including agents from the FBI and Secret Service and operatives from the CIA, the NSA, and the Defense Department, as well as analysts.
“In the President’s Secret Service: Behind the Scenes With Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect,” which hits bookstores Aug. 3.
The hardcover edition reported that threats against Obama rose by as much as 400 percent compared with when President Bush was in office. Although threats fluctuate, the level continues to be at high enough levels to call for the threat task force. Many of the threats are from racists who have no connection with politics.
At the same time, the Secret Service, which let party crashers into the White House in November, has been spinelessly acceding to requests of the Obama administration officials for Secret Service protection in instances where there are no threats against them.
As a result, 40 Obama administration officials and White House aides are under Secret Service protection, compared with 32 under George W. Bush. No one outside of the government has heard of most of these officials, but they have one thing in common: They enjoy being chauffeured free of charge by the Secret Service.
The expansion in protection has occurred while the Secret Service is jeopardizing the president’s safety by cutting corners because of understaffing and a management culture that is indifferent to the potential risks, as detailed in the book.
The Secret Service’s deficiencies led to the intrusion by Michaele and Tareq Salahi at the White House state dinner for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. As it turned out, they weren’t the only party crashers, as revealed in the Newsmax story "Secret Service Let Third Intruder into White House."
The Secret Service knew about the third intruder for weeks and had identified him, but mortified Secret Service officials failed to inform the House Homeland Security Committee, which was investigating the original breach at the White House.
After I asked the Secret Service for comment, I wrote a story for Newsmax.com revealing that a third intruder had crashed the state dinner. Having failed to respond to my request for comment, the Secret Service issued a statement within two hours confirming that “a third individual, who was not on the White House guest list, entered the state dinner.”
The breach was a deliberate, conscious decision by uniformed officers to ignore the fact that the Salahis and Carlos Allen, the third intruder, were not on the guest list. Those decisions are an expected consequence of the agency’s practice of cutting corners.
The Corner-Cutting Includes:
- Not passing crowds through magnetometers, or shutting down the devices early, at presidential events.
- Cutting back on the size of counter-assault teams and bowing to demands of staff that the teams remain at a great distance from protectees.
- Not keeping up to date with the latest, most powerful firearms used by the FBI and the military.
- Not allowing agents time for regular firearms requalification or physical training. The Secret Service covers that up by asking agents to fill out their own test scores.
In addition, the agency bows to political pressure. When agents refused to drive friends of Dick Cheney’s daughter Mary to restaurants, she got her detail leader removed. The fact that Secret Service management does not back personnel when they are just doing their jobs had to contribute to the uniformed officers’ reluctance to turn away guests at the state dinner and face possible repercussions.
“To this date, not one high-level person has been held accountable for these failures and corner cutting,” a Secret Service official, who declined to be named, tells me. “Secretary Janet Napolitano has failed to hold this director accountable. He [Mark Sullivan] doesn’t want to ruffle anyone’s feathers. He doesn’t want to ask for more money. He is more concerned about appeasing the administration.”
The official adds, “A large majority at headquarters has lost faith in him. Everybody’s waiting for the day he leaves. This agency has some very talented people, and that is clearly lacking in the case of the director.”
Despite the breaches and corner-cutting, Obama has said he has complete confidence in the Secret Service, signaling that he sees no need for a change in management. Given the clear warning signs, that is just as reckless as Abraham Lincoln’s and John F. Kennedy’s disregard for security.
Lincoln resisted efforts of his friends, the police, and the military to safeguard him. Finally, late in the Civil War, he agreed to allow four Washington police officers to act as his bodyguards. But on the night of his assassination, only one D.C. patrolman, John F. Parker, was guarding him.
Instead of remaining on guard outside the president’s box at Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865, Parker went to a nearby saloon for a drink. As a result of Parker’s negligence, just after 10 p.m., John Wilkes Booth made his way to Lincoln’s box, sneaked in, and shot him in the back of the head. The president died the next morning.
Kennedy told Secret Service agents he did not want them to ride on the small running boards at the rear of his limousine in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.
“If agents had been allowed on the rear running boards, they would have pushed the president down and jumped on him to protect him before the fatal shot,” Charles “Chuck” Taylor, who was an agent on the Kennedy detail, tells me.
Confirming that, Secret Service Director Lewis Merletti later said, “An analysis of the ensuing assassination, including the trajectory of the bullets which struck the president, indicates that it might have been thwarted had agents been stationed on the car’s running boards.”
In the case of Obama, in the view of many current Secret Service agents interviewed for “In the President’s Secret Service,” the result of the Secret Service’s corner-cutting could be a security breach with deadly consequences.
Although Secret Service agents are brave and dedicated, the agency’s management needs to be replaced. On the night of Obama’s state dinner, it was a pretty blonde. Tomorrow, it could be an assassin (Newsmax, 2010).