Pierson’s appearance before the committee were her first public statements about how an Army veteran armed with a knife, was able to jump the fence on Sept. 19 and bust into the White House where he made it all the way to the East Room before he was stopped.
Initially, we were told that Omar Gonzalez had been stopped right inside the front door.
Pierson, who took over as director of the Secret Service 18 months ago, was also questioned closely about a 2011 incident in which the agency failed to recognize that the White House had been struck by several rounds of gunfire until damage was found days later by staffers.
Rep Gowdy’s focus was on that earlier shooting incident:
In a tense exchange with Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., Pierson acknowledged that evidence of the gunfire was not discovered until three to four days after the attack. Ultimately, a White House housekeeper discovered broken glass on the Truman Balcony.
“Can you tell me why a housekeeper found the evidence and your agents did not?” Gowdy asked. “Why not search every inch of the White House? This is just processing a crime scene; this is not high math. Why wasn’t it done?”
“It was not as thorough as it needed to be,” Pierson responded..
More from the hearing:
Early in the hearing, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif, said that the country has “placed great trust” in the Secret Service and referred to the $1.5 billion that funds the agency.
But he said a “history of misbehavior” has tarnished the agency’s reputation. The Gonzalez incident represented a breach of five layers of security, he said, and he went on to list a catalog of other missteps, beginning with the 2009 crashing of a White House state dinner by an uninvited couple, agents consorting with prostitutes in Cartagena, Columbia, and a drinking incident in the Netherlands earlier this year.
“We have to ask whether the culture of the Secret Service has been impacting the operation,” he said. “How much would it cost to lock the front door of the White House?”
Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., offered an inventory of weapons Gonzalez was carrying in his car during his first encounter with police months before the Sept. 19 incident.
“Then he shows up at the White House with a hatchet in his belt. No red flags and you let him go,” Lynch said.
“When do the red flags go up for the Secret Service? This is disgraceful,” he said, adding that the distance Gonzalez traveled inside the White House represented half a public tour of the White House.
“I wish you spent the time protecting the White House that you spent protecting your reputation here today,” Lynch said.
Pierson sat silently before interjecting: “Let me be clear, the United States Secret Service does not take any of these incidents lightly.”
But Lynch pressed on, saying that he had “very low confidence in the Secret Service under your leadership.”
Hello and welcome to the Watcher’s Council’s ‘Weasel Of The Week’ nominations, where we award the golden plastic Weasel to a public figure who particularly deserves to be publicly slimed and mocked for his or her dastardly deeds during the week. Every Tuesday morning, tune in for the Weasel of the Week nominations and check back Thursday to see which Weasel gets the votes and walks off with the statuette of shame!
Here are this weeks’ nominees:
President Barack Hussein Obama!!
The Noisy Room: Barack Obama for his ‘Latte Salute’ of his Marine guard this past week. It was one of the most disgraceful, disrespectful things I have ever seen. The salute reveals Obama’s true feelings towards the military and his contempt and utter disrespect for our warriors. How very un-presidential… how very un-Commander-in-Chief.
While it is protocol for U.S. service members in uniform to salute the Commander-in-Chief, it’s not required for a civilian president to salute back, military experts say. Ronald Reagan is thought to have set precedent for the practice back in 1981, so this is also a slap at Reagan. The salute is not required, but expected by Americans and the military. Since Obama is also left handed, some looked at this gesture as calculated. He did it with his right hand. By the way, Obama is a tea drinker normally, not a coffee drinker.
The Independent Sentinel: I have to name Barack Obama again. He blamed the intelligence community for his refusal to act on the ISIS threat during a 60 Minutes interview Sunday.
“Well, I think our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria,” Obama told Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes.
Everyone in the world who is paying attention knows he’s lying.
Radovan Karadzic, Former President Of The Bosnian Serb Republic!!
The Glittering Eye:Although I was tempted to nominate George Clooney, I finally settled on the supervillain who was back in the news this week: Radovan Karadzic. As president of the Bosnian Serb Republic he was a driving force behind the murders of thousands of Bosnian men and boys and deserves the lengthy imprisonment that very few really doubt he will receive.
Suhaib Webb, former imam of of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, and currently imam of the Islamic Society of Boston!!
Virginia Right!: For best taquiyyah performance as a ‘peaceful Muslim.’ Imam Webb’s most recent newsmaker was to publicly apologize to ISIS and al-Qaeda for criticizing them.
She repeated the administration spin that it was “workplace violence” and condemned any references to his Islamic faith when discussing the crime with her equally clueless guests.
A week after an ISIS beheading plot was disrupted in Australia – the very week an ISIS commander called for lone wolf attacks in America – specifically for beheadings, a Muslim jailhouse convert who has jihadist pictures on his Facebook page, beheads a co-worker while reportedly shouting Muslim phrases – and this dim bulb can’t see the connection? She can’t connect the dots? Or she feels compelled to push a politically correct counter-narrative because she feels the American people can’t be trusted with the truth?
Whatever the case – it’s pathetic – and weaselly.
Well, there it is! Are these worthy weasels or what? Check back Thursday to see which Weasel walks off with the statuette of shame!
Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum.
And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted onFriday morning. It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere, and you won’t want to miss it...or any of the other fantabulous Watcher’s Council content.
And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter..’cause we’re cool like that, y’know?
Secret Service Director Julia Pierson told the House Oversight and Reform Committee she takes “full responsibility” for the recent fence-jumping incident in which a an intruder was able to make it deep into the White House before being detained.
“I am here today to address the concern that we all share, following the incident on Sept. 19 at the White House. It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly,” she told lawmakers at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing Tuesday morning.
“I take full responsibility; what happened is unacceptable and it will never happen again.”
We’ve all dealt with liars. We all know what it feels when someone tells a brazen lie to our face. It’s an uncomfortable experience. Do you confront the person and risk embarrassing him, or do you let it slide? If you dislike the person – it’s not so hard to call them out. But if you like them – if they’re a friend – it is very difficult indeed. As far as the American press corps is concerned – they are much better at calling out lies (or what they perceive to be lies – usually just policy disagreements) of Republicans. It’s much harder for them to call out the lies of their Democrat friends.
That’s what the White House press corps is up against every day at the daily press briefings.
So kudos to the intrepid ABC reporter Jonathan Karl for calling Josh Earnest out on his lie about Obama not referring to ISIS (or ISIL as the WH likes to call them) when he called them JV. It must have been very uncomfortable for him.
Karl brought up congressional testimony last November from Assistant Secretary of State Brett McGurk. In his statements to the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee [PDF], McGurk spoke of multiple attacks ISIS had carried out last year, and explained how ISIS has been able to thrive: AQ/ISIL has benefited from a permissive operating environment due to inherent weaknesses of Iraqi security forces, poor operational tactics, and popular grievances, which remain unaddressed, among the population in Anbar and Ninewa provinces. It has also benefited from a sanctuary across the porous border in Syria, control of lucrative facilities there, such as oil wells, and regular movement of weapons and fighters between Syria and Iraq.
Karl asked, “Did this message get to the president? Did he believe it? Did he not hear it? What happened?
Earnest gave a long-winded answer attempting to absolve the the Regime of the charge of negligence, beginning with a favorite WH conceit – which is using peer pressure to shame a tough questioner – “this is something the president has discussed on a number of occasions.” (Apparently some reporters *cough* Jon Karl *cough* have been too dense to pick up on it.)
“Principally what we’re talking about here is the rapid advance of ISIL across the Iraqi desert and the success that they have had after that advance – of holding whole swaths of territory. That is not to say that the was not an acknowledgement of the risks that this organization posed…”
Karl interrupted Earnest right there and cut to the chase: “Let me stop you for a second because two months after Brett McGurk says this – the president calls ISIL the Jay-Vee team in an interview in the New Yorker….”
Earnest: (interrupting) “We’ve been through this and that’s not what – ”
Karl “He was clearly talking about ISIL..”
Earnest: (interrupting) That’s not true.
Karl: “The question was specifically about what happened after ISIL took over Fallujah. The question was directly about” —
Earnest: “We can look at the transcript after the briefing – that’s not what it says.”
In the 2012 campaign, Obama spoke not only of killing Osama bin Laden; he also said that Al Qaeda had been “decimated.” I pointed out that the flag of Al Qaeda (ISIS) is now flying in Falluja, in Iraq, and among various rebel factions in Syria; Al Qaeda has asserted a presence in parts of Africa, too.
“The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant,” Obama said, resorting to an uncharacteristically flip analogy. “I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.
“Let’s just keep in mind, Falluja is a profoundly conservative Sunni city in a country that, independent of anything we do, is deeply divided along sectarian lines. And how we think about terrorism has to be defined and specific enough that it doesn’t lead us to think that any horrible actions that take place around the world that are motivated in part by an extremist Islamic ideology are a direct threat to us or something that we have to wade into.”
Obama knew exactly who they were and what they were doing. *Anyone who was paying attention, last year, knew they were a threat to humanity – and was appalled by the genocide they were visiting upon Christians and ethnic minorities in Syria. We wondered why the United States was doing nothing to stop it.
All those people died because Obama didn’t want to upset his base by “meddling” in “sectarian violence.” As if the wholesale death and destruction (mass-murders, beheadings, crucifixions) the insane murder cult ISIS was leaving in its wake – could be described as “sectarian violence.” When the violence inevitably spilled over into large swaths of Iraq, Obama was forced to change his tune.
“Keep in mind I wasn’t specifically referring to [Islamic State],” Obama told Chuck Todd many months later on Meet the Press.
Even David Remnick,who did the interview with Obama and wrote the New Yorker profile, said, “I’m afraid this is spin; it’s disingenuous,” he said on CNN’s AC360.
At the time of the New Yorker interview, ISIL had recently seized Fallujah, as Remnick remembers: “It seemed to me, looking back on it, that yes, he murderswas referring to the group that had taken over Fallujah. I specifically said Fallujah, and that’s who it was, and he’s fully informed.”
“I think this denial is putting spin on the ball,” Remnick said. “I thought this piece of language, and his communication in general on foreign policy in recent months has been rather, and surprisingly, lax and out of key.”
The problem is in this whole process the president of the United States is distorting the truth. He’s doing so willfully. But this deception will not only fail; it will further undermine his credibility, which is already at a low ebb. As Mr. Obama said in 2008, “I mean, words mean something. You can’t just make stuff up.”
Mr. Obama is at war with reality, and reality is winning.
Finally -After six years of daily beatings – reality is finally winning a few here and there.
Initially, officials indicated that the White house intruder, Omar Gonzalez, was apprehended just inside the main entrance. Now it’s come out that he made it much deeper inside – suggesting even greater failure on the part of the Secret Service – not to mention the predictable mendacity of the White House spin machine.
The intruder, Omar Gonzalez, jumped the fence, sprinted through the front door, overpowered one Secret Service officer and ran through much of the main floor before begin apprehended, according to the Washington Post.
An alarm box near the front entrance designed to alert guards to an intruder was muted — apparently at the request of the usher’s office, an unnamed Secret Service official told Washington Post.
After darting past a guard at the front, Gonzalez, who had a knife, went past the stairway that leads up to the first family’s living quarters. He then ran into the East Room, which is often used for receptions and or presidential addresses.
At the southern end of the East Room, Gonzales was tackled by a counter-assault agent.
Tuesday, the House Oversight and Reform Committee will hold a hearing to discuss the recent security lapses by the Secret Service.
In his speech before the Congressional Black Caucus Awards Dinner, the president paid tribute to the most corrupt Attorney General in American history, calling him ‘a faithful servant of the American (actually his) people’. And later in his speech, he brought up his gray hair – which he says people around the country are commenting on – prompting them to pray for him.
Tonight, I want to begin by paying special tribute to a man with whom all of you have worked closely with; someone who served his country for nearly 40 years as a prosecutor, as a judge, and as Attorney General of the United States: Mr. Eric Holder. (Applause.) Throughout his long career in public service, Eric has built a powerful legacy of making sure that equal justice under the law actually means something; that it applies to everybody — regardless of race, or gender, or religion, or color, creed, disability, sexual orientation. He has been a great friend of mine. He has been a faithful servant of the American people. We will miss him badly.
See the “palette cleanser” below for a rebuttal to this.
Some blogs picked up on an awkward segment of the speech in which Obama ad-libbed for a bit. (Never a good idea for this president.) In an attempt to connect with voters and motivate them to get to the polls, he shared what he says “the folks” have been telling him when he travels around the country. The official White House transcript indicates that he said people tell him “he’s so great.” Which would not be out of character at all for this flaming narcissist.
But I think they misheard him. What the president (who currently has a 35% – 38% approval rating) wants everyone to know, is that he’s going gray. Valerie Jarrett (my guess) told him it makes him a seem like a more sympathetic character, so play it up. Remind everyone that the stresses of the job – like battling the Rethugs in Congress, who want to strip African Americans of their voting rights – is turning his hair gray. He needs your prayers, you guys – Barack Obama says he believes in the power of prayer – so if you want to pray that he stop being a corrupt, lying failure – you should definitely feel free to do so.
All around the country, wherever I see folks, they always say, oh, Barack, we’re praying for you — boy, you’re so great (gray) – look, you got all gray hair, you looking tired. (Laughter.) We’re praying for you. Which I appreciate. (Laughter.) But I tell them, after President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, he immediately moved on to what he called “the meat in the coconut” — a voting rights act bill. And some of his administration argued that’s too much, it’s too soon. But the movement knew that if we rested after the Civil Rights Act, then all we could do was pray that somebody would enforce those rights. (Applause.)
So whenever I hear somebody say they’re praying for me, I say “thank you.” Thank you — I believe in the power of prayer. But we know more than prayer. We need to vote. (Applause.) We need to vote. That will be helpful. It will not relieve me of my gray hair, but it will help me pass some bills. (Laughter.)