October 1, 2014

This is the kind of thing that just gives me nightmares, especially with all the right wing eliminationist talk swirling around every day, everywhere, but most especially online. It's maddening, and it's scary.

Carol Leonnig, who broke the news about the 2011 shooting incident at the White House and has also done great reporting on the most recent breach of security that allowed an armed man to not just jump the fence and cross the lawn but also get inside the door and two rooms, has this new story:

The incident, which took place when Obama visited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to discuss the U.S. response to the Ebola crisis, rattled Secret Service agents assigned to the president’s protective detail.

The private contractor first aroused the agents’ concerns when he acted oddly and did not comply with their orders to stop using a cellphone camera to record the president in the elevator, according to the people familiar with the incident.

When the elevator opened, Obama left with most of his Secret Service detail. Some agents stayed behind to question the man and then used a national database check that turned up his criminal history.

Oh, awesome. But wait, there's more.

When a supervisor from the firm providing security at the CDC approached and discovered the agents’ concerns, the contractor was fired on the spot. Then the contractor agreed to turn over his gun — surprising agents, who had not realized that he was armed during his encounter with Obama.

Extensive screening is supposed to keep people with weapons or criminal histories out of arm’s reach of the president. But it appears that this man, possessing a gun, came within inches of the president after undergoing no such screening.

What the actual hell? A contractor with a criminal history and a gun within arms' length of the President?

What has happened to the Secret Service? I don't especially want to go down the path that Gretchen Carlson did, but I won't lie. The thought has occurred to me that there are a lot of CIA-types who might want this president gone.

Darrell Issa and Jason Chaffetz were all up in arms over this, with Chaffetz staging a big anger moment.

“You have a convicted felon within arm’s reach of the president, and they never did a background check,” Chaffetz said. “Words aren’t strong enough for the outrage I feel for the safety of the president and his family. “

Maybe it's cynical of me, but I have a hard time believing he or any Republican gives a damn. It just seems like more theater to blame Obama, which of course, Politico managed to do right away. That follows Laura Ingraham's despicable remarks about how the security breaches are really Obama's fault, and not the Secret Service.

What a bunch of cynical goons. Meanwhile, there are some really serious issues to confront about the Secret Service, the morale issues there, and whether or not they've got management that actually cares about what it is they're doing.

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