Amid more than a week of questioning whether the Secret Service can execute their responsibilities effectively, Julia Pierson, the director of the Secret Service, resigned Tuesday, having lost the faith of the White House and members of Congress in her ability to run the now-plagued agency.
Her resignation comes after a couple revelations about Secret Service incompetence by The Washington Post. After the story about Omar J. Gonzalez, the man who jumped the fence of White House and made it all the way to the mansion, came out, the Post reported about a 2011 Secret Service mishap where those supposed to protecting the White House failed to assess that the mansion had been damaged by gunfire four days after hearing gunshots near the South Lawn.
Secret Service members attributed the gunfire to gang members shooting at each other near 1600 Pennsylvania Ave rather than to someone shooting the residence. That theory was finally reconsidered after a housekeeper notice broken glass and cement on the floor where a bullet had punctured the walls of the White House.
The Post then reported that Gonzalez, originally thought to have barely made it through the North doors of the White House, had actually knocked over the guard protecting the doors, ran past the stairs that lead to the presidential living quarters and through the East Room. Gonzalez was eventually tackled by an off-duty Secret Service officer outside of the Green Room, after knocking over the guard protecting the front door.
Finally, the Post learned that on Sept. 16, when President Obama visited Atlanta to speak about the Ebola crisis, he had entered an elevator with a man who was carrying a gun and had been convicted of assault and battery, violating Secret Service protocol. Obama had not been told about the incident, and Pierson did not refer the matter to a unit tasked with investigating protocol violations within the Secret Service.
All of these now-public incidents forced Pierson to resign among major disapproval of her performance. But reform shouldn’t stop there.
“I don’t want us, after she’s left, to say to ourselves that everything is resolved,” Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said according to The New York Times. “Clearly there was a culture there that was not healthy.”
I’m in agreement. Hopefully, things will change over the next coming months, and those in power will be protected properly.