Prez 'in Jeopardy': Guy Impersonated Congressman, Met Obama

Report outlines more gaffes for Secret Service 'in crisis'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 3, 2015 9:19 AM CST
Prez 'in Jeopardy': Guy Impersonated Congressman, Met Obama
President Obama appears at a dinner for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, where he met a man impersonating a congressman, Sept. 27, 2014.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Days after a man with a knife made it inside the White House, a guy impersonating a member of Congress managed to get backstage at an awards dinner where he chatted up President Obama. That's just one of a half-dozen previously undisclosed Secret Service gaffes since 2013 laid out in a new report labeling the force an "agency in crisis," per the Washington Post. The report, the result of a bipartisan congressional investigation, notes many problems uncovered last year have yet to be fixed. "Perhaps the greatest threat" to the agency is a "staffing crisis," it notes. There are now 52 fewer full-time personnel than last year, even though a panel recommended 280 new staffers be added, meaning officials are overworked, per the report released Thursday. It also identifies other issues, including budget cuts, "critically low" morale, and "systemic mismanagement."

The report outlines 143 breaches or attempted breaches of security in the past 10 years, per the AP. "The agency's recent public failures are not a series of isolated events, but the product of an insular culture that has historically been resistant to change," the report states. It adds the dangers to Obama and the 2016 presidential candidates will be greater if the Secret Service doesn't clean up its act. In one incident weeks ago, two people strolled into the White House grounds, past a Secret Service checkpoint, without being noticed. In another case, an employee wasn't checked for weapons before entering a Los Angeles hotel where Obama was staying. "The situation is getting worse, not better," says the chairman of the House Oversight Committee. "The president is in jeopardy." A Secret Service rep says "we are reviewing the report at this time and will carefully assess any recommendations made by the committee." (More Secret Service stories.)

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