In the last week, there have been three serious security breaches at the White House and to say that lawmakers are upset is putting it mildly. In fact, many are demanding that the Secret Service make major changes in the structure of the agency. Congressman Jason Chaffetz is launching an investigation into the recent events and the rumor is that heads will roll in the agency as a result.
On March 10th Jonathan Tran, a 26 year-old male managed to scale several fences at the White House. Tran was able to elude security for over 15 minutes during this breach, giving him lots of time to have planted a weapon, taken note of security details and even committed far greater acts of terrorism had he so desired.
In an official statement from the USSS following the event, they said that “Tran was able to climb and hop a 5-foot fence near the US Treasury Department next to the White House, then he scaled an 8-foot vehicle gate and another a three-and-a-half foot fence near the East Wing.” The statement goes on to say that: “The men and women of the Secret Service are extremely disappointed and angry in how the events of March 10th transpired.”
Following that event, the USSS promised changes that would prevent future breaches. Those changes included creating additional security posts, implementing technology enhancements and new response protocols when a breach is detected. But many believe that the problem is located not in the methods employed, but in the mindset of the personnel responsible to enforce them.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) told Wolf Blitzer that Tran was “able to get up next to the White House, hide behind a pillar, look through a window, rattle the door handle.”
“It’s just beyond comprehension. Especially because it is not the first time this has happened.”
The breach prompted Chaffetz to send a letter to William Callahan, the acting director of the Secret Service. In the letter, Chaffetz questioned the agency’s security and suggested several allegations were not in the original affidavit from the Secret Service, including that Tran triggered several alarms which were ignored, and “may have attempted entry into the building. If true, these allegations raise questions about whether the agency’s security protocols are adequate.”
In the last 10 years, there have been “143 security breaches and attempted security breaches at secured facilities which resulted in an arrest.” Chaffetz said, “This just keeps happening.” As if to highlight Chaffetz’s point, On Saturday, William Rawlinson, 58, was spotted on the North Lawn of the White House. Then later the same day, Sean Keoughan, 29, was arrested when he drove a stolen car to a White House checkpoint and told a Secret Service officer that “there’s a bomb in the trunk.”
Just two days ago, USSS agent had a laptop with sensitive information stolen from their vehicle, and two agents are currently under investigation for leaving their post to take selfies with President Donald Trump’s grandson. Time to return professionalism to the agency it would appear.