Carol Leonnig has a long piece about the many Secret Service fuck-ups after some Idaho nutcase took shots at the White House. Line agents who were responding were told to stand down after the shots were incorrectly identified as backfires from a construction site:
It took the Secret Service four days to realize that shots had hit the White House residence, a discovery that came about only because a housekeeper noticed broken glass and a chunk of cement on the floor.
If the shooter hadn’t been a total fuckup who crashed his car a few minutes after firing the shots, who knows if he would ever have been caught. The piece also notes that there wasn’t full camera surveillance of the White House grounds, nor was the White House in range of the ShotSpotter sensors that can identify the location of shots fired. And there’s this:
[…] President Obama has faced three times as many threats as his predecessors, according to people briefed on the Secret Service’s threat assessment.
I can sort of understand why the Secret Service would feel stressed– even if all the threats facing Obama were stupid and fuckedup, someone could get through just by chance if the number of threats is large enough. And there’s always the possibility that someone with a positive IQ will turn up. Brr.
Lamb linked to that article last night. Fox news will highlight the part where the Obama’s were angry and Michelle
raised her voice. What will be lost in the discussion is funding.
Villago Delenda Est
Why, oh why, does this not surprise me in the least. I can’t imagine what it is about Barack Hussein Obama that would cause this to be true.
I’m sure something will occur to me eventually.
As to Secret Service fuckups, well, one thing I learned in the Army was that any organization that has human beings in it will have fuckups, no matter what the appearance of smooth operation is. Because the 10% rule applies…90% of the time, everything does operate smoothly, and that’s what people on the outside looking in are most likely to see, so the organization does appear to be fuckup free.
Also, too, the people immediately above and below you are fuckups. One level above and below them, they’re all pretty good guys!
Villago Delenda Est
Of course. Because Rethuglicans cannot be honest about their fingerprints all over the fucking place. It’s their nature not to be honest about those sort of things.
My take – there have always been fuckups. In history, though, whitesplaining mandated that fuckups not become general knowledge so that hagiographies could be built, hence the Hoover cult at the FBI, and the “take a bullet for the President” image of the Secret Service. This goes through to the “hero cops” image as well – decades of “they can do no wrong” propaganda led to a culture where they can lie with impunity and get cleared of sanction when engaged in criminal conduct.
Being a human organization, there will be fuckups. Adaptation and correction are the hallmarks of societal maturity.
@Villago Delenda Est:
It’s about the issues, man.
@Villago Delenda Est:
Yeah, loss of funding was an issue in Benghazi too, and the GOP can’t allow that door to be opened.
big ole hound
The Secret service has had so many miscues in the last few years that their time is up. We have military ground troops with good training and no war so we could let them swarm all over things. I wonder how the nation would perceive this use and appearance of soldiers everywhere? Perception is everything and camo dressed soldiers guarding the elite would make the media freak out. Clothes make the man.
Kennedy was killed, Reagan was shot, Ford had two people with guns get way too close for comfort. Maybe the image of the Secret Service as infallible is just that, an image. I agree that they probably need better training and more funding but let’s be realistic about what they can do.
@big ole hound: I don’t agree that the White House grounds should be ‘militarized’. That’s going in the wrong direction.
The Secret Service has lasted all these years because it’s the right approach– a corps of professional bodyguards. Maybe they need to refocus on their core mission and competence. Also, more funding would help.
@JPL: this was exactly my thought. They will turn it into how that uppity couple had the gall to yell and be angry. gah.
big ole hound
@MattF: Matt, I was being sarcastic
@big ole hound: Poe’s Law strikes again.
@Valdivia: Since Eric Bolling is already in trouble, Fox News might choose to ignore the pesky problem. They sure wouldn’t want to highlight the fact that this President has faced three times the threats as previous presidents. We’ll have to wait and see.
also, Murdoch and his channel needs to vanish in thin air.
What, counterfeiting? ;-)
@beth: The Secret Service to some extent is, like the crap at airports these days, security theater. A few years ago, the news organization for which I worked was holding a presidential candidate debate during the primaries, and I tried to go through the front gate to park as I usually did. A Secret Service agent gave me the evil eye as the company security guard told him that I worked there. The Secret Service agent signaled that I couldn’t come in, the security guard shrugged his shoulders in sympathy with me, and I drove around to the completely unguarded back gate and parked where I usually did.
@MattF: (Yes, I realize you were responding to a sarcastic statement, but you were being sincere.) I agree with Beth: There’s only so much the Secret Service can do unless we want to turn the White House into a military compound and never let the president out. And with so many racists, and a news channel encouraging them, they are under even more pressure than before.
Americans hate socialists.
Now what, I wonder, makes President Obama different from his predecessors? Hmm… can’t figure it out at all.
It can’t be about race because I’ve been assured by Republicans that it’s not about race at all.
@Comrade Dread: As has been mentioned above, it’s about the issues that the socialist President has. I might add to the previous comments that I’ve been told he is fascist and a Nazi. It must be difficult for the President to be all those things.
Its a weird article–given what we now know about how the SS budget has been cut and the problem of overwork and understaffing not all of this is the fault of the SS or is managers. Something needs to have been said about the Sequester, and the problems with keeping up morale and energy when staffing has been cut, new entrants have been cut, etc..etc..etc…
@Comrade Dread: …aaand they’re the experts on racism, so that settles it.
We get the government that we the people want to have. We apparently want a smaller government based on the election results. But then people shouldn’t be surprised when they later find that the SEC (as an example) is less apt to do its job when it faces budget cuts. The same thing goes for the Secret Service etc etc.
With smaller government comes less competent government. It is interesting; we have so incredibly much money going to Pentagon and our defense. Even if we cut it by quite a bit, it wouldn’t even be noticed. Heck, even the military itself has stated it doesn’t need as much money. Yet, the American people as proven by the election results want as much as possible going to Pentagon and if that money is not available, then start cutting our agencies. Mind-boggling…
Well, Rush and other talk radio kept trying to incite some nutjob to assassinate the president since Jan 20, 2009, so imagine threat level has been high. None of the previous presidents had high-profile media figures flagrantly trying to get someone to shoot him.
Mike in NC
Once the Obama family moved to DC, I naturally assumed they’d need to double the size of the Secret Service, erect a 20 foot tall electric fence around the White House, and then dig a wide moat around the fence filled with ravenous gators.
@Valdivia: Surely, even Fox can sympathize with parents being scared for their kids.
I worry about Obama and his family’s safety after he leaves office.
@Anya: Surely Fox would think a female fighter pilot would be someone you wouldn’t want to say anything degrading about.
@bc: If you can’t beat him at the polls then those good old 2nd amendment solutions are an alternative. Its a feature not a bug
I am always worried about a rogue SS agent doing something. Lately, this country scares me. I’ve been existing in my little liberal oases that I thought everyone moved on from this type of irrational hatred of the ‘other’. But Obama’s presidency changed all of that for me. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I always knew racism existed but I was only familiar with the liberal type — the paternalistic racism. But holly shit, what did Obama unleash.
I posted this last night…from Erick Erickson of all people
Irony truly is dead, in reference to the article above.
@Belafon: Well, she was an ayrab so she doesn’t qualify for the military worship.
This. The Republicans have openly tried to sabotage the country since Obama was elected. They’re now advocated the exact same policies that got us into multiple wars(with no exit plans) and the arguable the worst financial crisis the country has ever faced, but the f’n morons are going to vote for them anyway.
@lamh36: He tries to be respectable.
Davis X. Machina
They’ll be voting for ‘change’.
Which takes the form of not-changing, and when necessary, violently resisting change.
Cf. Doug Muder: Not a Tea Party, a Confederate Party.
I kind of feel the same way.
I am naive. I honestly thought that every window in the White House was made of bullet-proof glass. I really thought that was the first line of defense against shooters.
@Anya: bah…This information about the shooter is no different than what Erickson and his ilk like to insinuate all the time…
Um hmmm it always seems to start with some Black folk running away…
Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name)
From the linked article (emphasis added).
@lamh36: Agreed. But it’s easier for him to get brownie points for not openly advocating for POTUS’ death. Isn’t that the definition for ‘moderate’ these days?”
seriously reading the whole article even though the outcome wasn’t horrible will have you fuming. the amount of bungling done by SS is astounding
@Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):@rikyrah: Yeah, the bullet proof glass is on the inside, where window treatments can help hide it so that the exterior of the WH stays historically consistant.
JR in WV
The historically consistent window glass for the White House is (IIRC) made by Blenko Glass in Milton, WV, where they do hand-blown art glassware, flat colored glass for stained glass artists and reconstruction and antique glass for buildings like the White House, Williamsburg, VA, etc.
Blenko, like most art glass specialists, is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy and only operates part time now. West Virginia was full of art glass producers back in the day, but now that it is so inexpensive to import fancy glass from China, etc, most of them have gone our of business. Changing art tastes, too.
Fucking SchutzStaffel. EVERYONE knows that they’re not “threats” if they’re coming from real ‘Muricans. You know, the ones who don’t mooch off the State, don’t live in the Northeast or San Francisco or one of them other commie-loving areas. Those people are only trying to do their patriotic duty, and are courteous enough to let the SS know.
Another Holocene Human
@JR in WV: Yeah, all that rust-belt small industry–glass, ceramics–it’s all fucked.
Unlike paper it’s not a mega-polluter, either.
A lot longer than that, but I guess we can debate about how “open” they’ve been about it during the post-1980 period.
Fucking traitors. When I’m God-Emperor of this place, they’d better watch out. The only real question would be which of them gets “re-educated” first. (“Re-education” is the punishment for treason, isn’t it.?) Tough choice.
@Another Holocene Human:
Well, it WOULD be, if they were more patriotic. None of that liberal bullshit re: not destroying the Earth, TYVM.
Remember the 3 white supremicists who were arrested in 2008 for plotting to assassinate Obama at the Democratic National Convention? They were charged only with drug/weapons possession but not for plotting to kill Obama. It was obvious by then that something had gone wrong with law enforcement’s response to threats against him.
@lamh36: That lying SOB would sell the rope for the lynching and then claim surprise that it was used for that purpose.
@aimai: But, but…that requires research, and analysis, and context and stuff that’s not their jobs. Also too, both sides.
@lamh36: Yeah. I had the same reaction. What does it say about our “national discourse” when one feels compelled to question whether a perfectly reasonable expression of concern is snark or sincerity. Sad.
@Tokyokie: Back in the 70s, the day I was moving into my college dorm room, the Secret Service decided to close the parking lot there as well as prohibit parking or even stopping all along the street for the entire day. Just because the vice president’s son was also moving in nearby that day. I told the Agents that they were nuts when they threatened to have my pickup towed from the street, and drove it up onto the lawn in front of my house. Their signs said nothing about not parking on lawns, and I dared them to tow it away while I moved in. They fumed for a while, then just gave up and went back to berating everybody else who was trying to park on the street.
@Anya: Good point. But depressing.
John M. Burt
@Villago Delenda Est:
Yes, it’s as though they decided he shouldn’t be President after taking just one look at him….
Mistakes happen. In a rational world, the flaws in the system are corrected, and at least the next mistake will be a different one. Three times the threats may justify a higher mistake rate too. The deliberate actions to cut the Secret Service budget, eliminate repairs to the White House, etc. are a different matter. I am sure the Republicans don’t intend to make it easier for someone to assassinate President Obama. At least not until I see if the cuts are restored if and when a Republican is elected.
So, like any regular black person, huh?
@debbie: I’m glad you wrote that. I remember an article in the summer before Benghazi about cuts to diplomatic consul offices, so security was maintaied at embassies only.
many moons ago when I lived in DC, I had a friend coming in on the airport shuttle, I said I will meet you at the hilton. Turns out there are 2 drive-in spots there, so I took up a spot on top of an outside wall where I could see both…. I was a poor intern in a cheap overcoat. I saw all these limos coming in below and the snipers on the roof. [it was a yr after ronny raygun] But I waited, then a firm hand landed on my shoulder, a SS guy politely asked me to move along. Good thing I am a wht kid, eh.