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article imageOp-Ed: The Secret Service needs to get its A-game back

By Calvin Wolf     Sep 21, 2014 in Politics
Washington D.c. - An intruder actually makes it inside the White House. After a tough past year that has included sex scandals and public drunkenness, the vaunted U.S. Secret Service faces yet another PR black eye. It's time for the USSS to get its A-game back.
I applied to be a uniformed officer of the United States Secret Service back in late 2008, when I was finishing up an MPA degree at the University of Wyoming. Applying through the Denver office, I had some enjoyable interviews with the Secret Service and, by summer 2009, my background check was being processed. And then...I never heard back. Later, I heard that the Secret Service had changed application processing procedures during that summer. Did they not want me, or did they lose my paperwork? At first, I assumed that I simply did not pass muster with the most vaunted federal law enforcement agency.
But perhaps the Secret Service did lose my paperwork? The events of the past year certainly suggest that the elite agency is far from infallible. In Colombia, Secret Service agents were found to be enjoying the services of prostitutes. In Europe, an agent was found drunk in a hotel ahead of the president's visit in March. Now, according to CNN, Washington is in an uproar after two events in two days highlight alleged incompetence of the agency charged with protecting the president: A car that refused to stop made it disturbingly close to the White House and a man with a knife actually made it inside the White House itself, prompting an evacuation.
How did the elite U.S. Secret Service allow a man with a knife to get all the way inside the White House?
Admittedly, the agency has a tough problem: If it behaves too aggressively it comes off as a fascist tool of an oppressive state, gunning down the mentally ill for straying beyond the White House fence, but if it behaves too leniently it comes off as incompetent. Critics are wondering why no guard dogs were released and why the door to the executive mansion was unlocked, reports CBS News. Certainly, at the very least, the door should have been locked.
The Secret Service desperately needs to review its protocols and consider adding additional security measures to the White House grounds. Perhaps an inner fence, powered by hydraulics, could be hidden underground and raised instantly with the touch of a button to a height of eight or ten feet, preventing a sprinter from getting too close. Perhaps more agents need to be closer to the White House itself, armed with Tasers and bean-bag rounds. While the public may be leery of a shoot-to-kill Secret Service, there are plenty of other options to prevent another sprinter from threatening the safety of the executive mansion.
After all, if a civilian sprinter could get inside the White House, could an ISIS suicide bomber be next?
Secret Service Protocols in Question | FindTheBest
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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