Let's Build $8M Fake White House: Secret Service
Agency wants mansion facsimile to serve as training grounds for recruits
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2015 9:52 AM CDT
We could use another one of these, according to the Secret Service.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Stung by breach after breach after breach after gaffe at the White House, the Secret Service is asking Congress for $8 million—so it can build another White House. New Director Joseph Clancy will today ask the House Appropriations Committee for $8 million to construct a detailed replica of the presidential mansion in Beltsville, Md., right down to the East and West wings, the outside façade, guard booths, grounds, and roads, the New York Times reports; the design is still in the planning stages. The faux White House will act as a training ground for Secret Service recruits, offering a "more realistic environment, conducive to scenario-based training exercises," Clancy says in prepared remarks obtained by the Times.

Although a panel set up by Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson recommended simply erecting a higher fence after a man made it through the White House's front door last year, it also acknowledged that the "problems exposed by recent events go deeper than a new fence can fix," the Times notes. Instead, panel members say Secret Service personnel should dedicate more time to training, as well as train in an area that's similar to the area they'll be charged with protecting. A fake White House isn't the only funding request the Secret Service is making: It also wants a budget allotment to make over a "live-fire shoot house" and for fixes for a "tactical village" training site, which emulates city streets. (If Egypt can build a whole new capital city, why can't we build a new White House?)