Arrogant Secret Service Needs Outsider's Overhaul

Critics say agency's main task these days is covering up its own incompetence
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 1, 2014 1:20 PM CDT
Arrogant Secret Service Needs Outsider's Overhaul
In this file photo, two Secret Service agents confer as they stand outside the Rose Garden before President Obama departs the White House.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Secret Service chief Julia Pierson's defense of her agency before Congress seems only to have made people angrier. At Politico Magazine, Ronald Kessler delivers a blistering criticism in which he alleges not only incompetence—for stuff like this and this—but arrogance that is off the charts. As an example of the latter, he cites the initial statement from the agency after an intruder got into the White House: It praised agents for their "restraint." The agency "thought it could get away with issuing such an outrageous claim and the public would accept it." Pierson has to go, he writes.

  • Too far? Kessler concludes his essay with this doozy of a statement: "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." At Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall thinks it's a "deeply f'd up" assertion that should have been edited out.

  • Dana Milbank, Washington Post: It's time for an outsider, not a lifelong employee, to run the agency and clean house. Pierson promised to fix the "frat-house culture," but she seems to have merely replaced it with a "culture of concealment and coverup." The agency's refusal to be forthcoming "makes it look as if Secret Service secrecy is not meant to protect the president’s life but to protect an arrogant agency from embarrassment and reform."
  • New York Times editorial: Pierson is clearly not up to the job, but even if President Obama decides to let her stay, "he has to insist on an independent, top-to-bottom review of the Secret Service, not one conducted by officials trying to protect themselves or their agency."
(Read more Secret Service stories.)

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