Brooklyn House members vow action on Presidential security breaches

October 6, 2014 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
From left, Secret Service Director Julia Pierson, Ralph Basham, a former Secret Service director, and Todd M. Keil, far right, a senior advisor with a private security firm, appear before the House Oversight Committee on Tuesday as it examines details surrounding a security breach at the White House.
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Two Brooklyn House of Representatives members vowed action to ensure that the U.S. Secret Service is doing its job of protecting the commander-in-chief after recent security breaches.

U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke, a member of the Committee on Homeland Security, said Congress will get to the bottom of the troubling incidents.

“As an engaged member of the Committee on Homeland Security, I will work with my colleagues in the House of Representatives to do a thorough investigation of these security breaches and to implement all measures required to protect President Obama and his family from harm. We cannot as a nation risk such threats to our head of state and commander-in-chief,” she said in a statement.

On Wednesday, Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigned from her job. The resignation came a day after she testified before a congressional committee, looking into the two recent security lapses that took place in the White House and in Atlanta. On Sept. 19, a man armed with a knife jumped the fence and ran into the White House, entering the building through an unlocked door.

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Additionally, last month, a man armed with a gun was somehow permitted to ride on the same elevator with the president during his visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

In addition to the two recent incidents, a third troubling incident came to light. In 2011, a suspect fired a semiautomatic rifle at the White House, shattering a window into the residence of President Obama and his family.

“I am astounded by the massive breaches in security that have occurred at the White House and I am deeply concerned about the failure of the Secret Service to fully protect President Obama and his family and their residence from the threat of potentially violent intruders,” Clarke said (D-Central Brooklyn).

U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Downtown Brooklyn-Canarsie-Coney Island) said the country cannot have a situation “where Jay Z appears to have a more competent security apparatus than the president of the United States.”

Jeffries called Pierson’s resignation “a welcome development,” but said the resignation in of itself is not sufficient. “The Secret Service needs strong leadership from top to bottom, significant retraining, a firm disciplinary code, technology enhancements and a greater budget allocation. Only then will the president and the American people get the agency we deserve,” he said.

The New York Times reported that Pierson did not tell the White House of the security breach that took place in Atlanta last month until a few minutes before it was reported in the news media on Sept. 30.

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