Writing in Politico, veteran investigative journalist Ron Kessler says the Secret Service is so broken that President Obama is lucky to be alive, and that its current director, Julia Pierson, must go.
The Secret Service doesn’t need merely to up its game. It needs a thorough overhaul of a terminally sick management culture, writes Kessler, who authored a book about the Service.
From the piece:
While agents and uniformed officers are for the most part brave and dedicated, Secret Service management perpetuates a culture that punishes those who point out deficiencies and rewards with promotions those who cover up problems and foster the myth that the agency is invincible.
“If you dare voice your opinion and report something bad, you are mocked,” says a current agent who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals.
As part of that destructive culture, management proudly proclaims that the Secret Service “makes do with less.” So while the Metropolitan Police in Washington deploy sensors that detect gunshots, the Secret Service does not have them. Nor does the agency keep up to date with the latest devices for uncovering intrusions or weapons of mass destruction. The culture of intimidation has led to declining morale and high turnover that results in understaffing and long overtime hours for sleepless agents and officers . . .
Agents tell me it’s a miracle an assassination has not already occurred. Sadly, given Obama’s colossal lack of management judgment, that calamity may be the only catalyst that will reform the Secret Service.
You know, even I believed – despite never seeing a plethora of agents around the front of the house – the old saw that security at the White House is tight, you just can’t see it.
Well, Omar Gonzalez didn’t see it, and he walked right in. With a knife.