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White House Plays Down New Report Of Secret Service Woes

National News Politics

White House Plays Down New Report Of Secret Service Woes


Washington (AFP) — A White House official on Sunday played down a report that it took the Secret Service days to realize a man shot at the presidential residence in 2011, while President Barack Obama’s daughter was at home.

The Washington Post report came amid new scrutiny on the agency tasked with protecting the president, after a series of recent security lapses, including one earlier this month that saw an intruder armed with a knife jump over a security fence and burst into the White House.

While Obama and his wife were out of town the night of the November 11, 2011 shooting, their younger daughter Sasha was inside with her grandmother Marian Robinson, the Post revealed, while older daughter Malia was due to return any time from an evening with friends.

At least seven bullets struck the upstairs residence of the White House, fired from a car parked some 700 yards (meters) away across the South Lawn, the report said.

And while Secret Service officers initially rushed to respond, they received a surprise order from a supervisor saying “no shots have been fired… Stand down,” the Post reported.

Obama’s deputy national security adviser, Tony Blinken did not refute the substance of the report, but said corrective measures were being taken.

“The Secret Service is investigating this, and they will take any steps necessary to correct any deficiency,” he told CNN.

“Let’s put this in perspective,” Blinken said.

“The men and women of the Secret Service put their lives on the line for the President of the United States, his family, and folks working in the White House every single day, 24 hours a day,” he stressed.

“Their task is incredible, and the burden that they bear is incredible.”

The Post report said the supervisor on duty believed the noise was a backfire from a nearby construction vehicle.

The newspaper said Obama and his wife were infuriated by the Secret Service response, and only learned of the incident days later.

The Secret Service later confirmed that bullets had indeed been fired at the White House, after a housekeeper noticed shattered glass and a chunk of cement on the floor from the gunfire.

The shots had been fired by Oscar Ortega-Hernandez, of Idaho, who was subsequently found guilty of attempting to assassinate the president and given a 25-year prison sentence.

Photo via Tom Lohdan via Flickr

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  1. Bilbo Baggins September 30, 2014

    If one thing is clear, it’s that we have a rogue executive branch.

  2. Dominick Vila September 30, 2014

    Reiterating support and gratitude to the people upon whose skills and determination our President depend upon for their personal security is not surprising. However, there is no question that the two recent breaches of security deserve greater scrutiny and action. Gonzalez managed to go as far as the East Room, and overpowered a Secret Service agent on his way to that area, just four minutes after the President and his family left for Camp David. Another incident that did not get the headlines it deserved was the shooting near the White House, including a bullet hole in one of the windows near where the First Family resides.
    Budget limitations, the fact that the SS workforce is down by 100 from its intended level, and a glaring need for additional training and discipline should be addressed immediately. The first thing that came to my mind when I saw Gonzalez running through the WH grounds was the attack carried out by two pro-Independence Puerto Ricans and President Truman staring at what was going on through one of the WH windows. One of the attackers was killed, the other was wounded and rotted in prison. I would not be surprised if the Tea Party circulates a petition to award a medal to Senor Gonzalez.


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