Read time: 2 minutes

Former Secret Service Director Pierson Wanted To Run Agency Like Disney World

The President's security detail should not look like the happiest place on earth.
Former Secret Service Director Pierson Wanted To Run Agency Like Disney World

With every new revelation, the picture gets grimmer and grimmer. It's a damn miracle the First Family has survived this long without some lunatic getting at them. I sure hope they fix this fast.

Carol Leonnig at the Washington Post has more revelations about the culture instilled by Julia Pierson and her predecessor.

Pierson also rejected an internal study’s recommendations that the White House have a total of about 100 countersurveillance officers to patrol the perimeter of the complex. She suggested cutting the recommended number by a third. And Pierson had agreed to shrink key units in the agency, including the number of officers from the uniformed division who guard the White House complex.

In her 18 months in charge, Pierson also became the subject of derision among some lower-level agents for accommodating the White House staff’s wishes for less-cumbersome security over the warnings of her tactical teams.

Yes, President Obama and his family may want to feel less constrained, but that's why the Secret Service is in charge of their security and not them. So they can actually attend to the job at hand, not cater to the wishes of the White House.

In the spring, Pierson was irate at what she considered the excessive security measures her team had planned for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, which Obama hosted this summer, demanding that it dismantle extra layers of fencing and reopen closed streets, according to two agency supervisors. Supervisors who had mapped out the security plan said they were taken aback when Pierson, who worked during high school at Walt Disney World as a costumed character and park attendant, said: “We need to be more like Disney World. We need to be more friendly, inviting.”

“I respect Pierson’s service, but she hasn’t been on a protective mission in two decades,” said one supervisor who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “She doesn’t know anything about security planning in a post-9/11 world.”

On a presidential trip this past spring to the Netherlands, Pierson told several counterassault team members stationed at posts in the president’s hotel to move to more remote locations and put their weapons in bags, causing the sharpshooters to worry that their reaction time would be hampered in an emergency.


↓ Story continues below ↓

The president's detail is not It's a Small World or Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, for heaven's sake. Let's not have something actually happen before the interim director figures that out, okay?

Also, memo to Congress. Please fund the personnel needs of the Secret Service. No one can work overtime forever without suffering burnout. Rotate the troops.

Comments

We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service (revised 3/17/2016) for information on our posting policy.