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'Security Breaches 'R Us'

Making Sense by Michael Reagan

The White House sprayed by bullets.

A hospital guard with a criminal record and a gun the Secret Service didn't know about riding on an elevator with the president in Atlanta.

The fence-jumper who made it all the way into the East Room of the White House.

Secret Service Director Julia Pierson had no choice but to resign on Wednesday afternoon.

She did it a week or two late, but she did the right thing.

The vaunted federal agency -- whose core duty is to protect the president of the United States, his family and his home — has become just another bungling Washington bureaucracy led by incompetents and political appointees.

Earlier this week we saw Pierson on TV being upbraided by lawmakers from both parties who couldn't believe how the Secret Service has turned into the Keystone Cops.Aka, "Security Breaches 'R Us."

Pierson was at times evasive, uninformed and self-contradictory during her testimony.

She had been appointed to head the Secret Service in the spring of 2013 after agents on an advance team were caught drinking excessively and procuring prostitutes in Colombia.

That was shame enough. But under her brief reign, the Secret Service's standards apparently fell so low they couldn't be counted on to keep the president or the inside of his house safe.

Pierson, a veteran agent who owed her directorship to political correctness, was clearly not up to the task of reforming or running the Secret Service.

But like a typical Washington "executive," she spent half of her time before Congress whining about how cuts in funding had hurt her agency's ability to operate. The other half was spent covering her own you-know-what.

The White House complex is protected by the Secret Service's 1,300-person uniformed division, which became part of the agency in 1930.

The personnel who didn't notice the White House fence-hopper were not highly trained agents like the heroes who threw their bodies in front of my father when he was shot.

Those elite agents -- members of the PPD, or presidential protection division -- travel with the president wherever he goes.

They also provide protection 24/7 for the president's wife and children. That why, for eight years I, my kids and my home in L.A. had constant Secret Service protection.

The agency did a great job in the 1980s. But today the Secret Service has become dangerously careless or complacent about basic security measures at the White House.

"The People's House" isn't an airtight fortress surrounded by minefields and machine gun nests.

It's had a few lone intruders before. Presidents Hoover and FDR each found themselves in the White House in the presence of strangers.

Some guy followed the Marine Band into the White House after my father's second inauguration and wasn't discovered for 15 minutes. And remember those Obama White House party crashers a few years back?

But in 2014 the Secret Service has gotten sloppier than a bunch of drunk rent-a-cops at a stag party.

It's the age of terrorism. Every major building, airport concourse and ballpark in America is on guard against terrorists.

Yet the White House, despite untold millions that have been spent to fortify it since 9/11, is still vulnerable to intrusions by individuals who are curious, crazy or intent on doing serious harm.

Sixteen idiots have jumped the White House fence since 2009 — six this year.

President Obama supposedly has had three times as many death threats as any other president. Yet when bullets were fired at the White House in 2011, the Secret Service didn't learn about it for months?

It's pathetic, even by Washington standards.

Pierson's isn't the only head that should roll over "Intruder Gate."

The president should fire the head of the Secret Service's uniformed division. Then he or Michelle should find someone who has enough sense to keep the White House front door locked.

My neighbor's teen-age baby-sitter is available.

——-

Copyright© 2014 Michael Reagan. Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of "The New Reagan Revolution" (St. Martin's Press). He is the founder of the email service reagan.com and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his websites at www.reagan.com and www.michaelereagan.com. Send comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com. Follow @reaganworld on Twitter.

Mike's column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. For info on using columns contact Sales at sales@cagle.com.

This column has been edited by the author. Representations of fact and opinions are solely those of the author.

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