The now-former director did the right thing by offering to resign, an offer than was accepted almost before it was offered. When your people allow an armed contractor, who they did not know was armed, into the same elevator as the president, that’s putting too much “secret” into the Secret Service.
This after a few other episodes of an armed intruder climbing the White House fence, barging his way into the White House, overpowering a guard, and making it all the way to the Green Room before an off-duty agent tackled him. There’ve been enough jokes about how long the armed, clearly disturbed, man was in the White House before being subdued, so I’ll ignore the temptation. Fact is, had he known his way around the President’s House, he could have climbed the stairs to the First Family’s residence, but he ran past that stairway apparently not knowing where it led.
Clearly, the Service has issues, especially when Service employees, uniformed and non, are fearful of challenging their supervisors when they know they are wrong – for example not acknowledging that shots were fired at the White House, chalking the noises up to car backfires (tell me, when’s the last time you heard a car backfire?) or gang shootings right outside the White House. And, really, if they thought the noises were shots from gangs, shouldn’t the police have been called?
So, naming a woman to lead the Service was a smart political move, because it came after male agents were caught carousing with prostitutes in South America and it showed there was a new sheriff on watch, but she, too, apparently was part of a culture that desperately needs to be changed. As a Washington Post columnist pointed out today, it also reinforces in the average citizen the fear under which we all live with terrorists afoot, when the President himself can’t be adequately protected.