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As we recently noted, the vaunted United States Secret Service has been maintaining something of an open-door policy at the White House, residence of the President of the United Sates, by some accounts the most powerful person in the world. In September, an armed man walked right in and got a lot farther than they said he did. In an earlier case someone fired shots at the White House, but Secret Service bosses claimed this was a car backfiring. A housekeeper found evidence of the attack before anybody at the Secret Service, whose obviously incompetent boss, Julia Pierson, was not fired. She resigned, which is a different thing. She will keep her lavish federal benefits and doubtless hook up at another bureaucracy. But some say she was only part of the problem.
According to Brian Naylor of National Public Radio, “Low morale could be partly to blame for the recent spate of security lapses at the Secret Service.” The agency supposedly ranks in the bottom third in job satisfaction within the federal government, and “the root of that discontent could be bureaucratic.” A former agent attributes the problem to the takeover by the Department of Homeland Security. They had to fight for funding and resources, the agent claimed, but the 2014 budget of the Secret Service is $1.80 billion. So money and gear are not the problem. As congressional investigators pointed out, a simple ADT alarm would have done a better job keeping an armed intruder out of the White House. And simple observation would have found evidence of the rifle attack, but the incompetence does not stop there.
Don’t forget how the Secret Service let a fake interpreter with a history of violence get within steps of the president. And check out Carol Leonnig and David Nakamura of the Washington Post on the 2012 Secret Service prostitution scandal. Read how government officials withheld information and protected cronies and White House staff. Janet Napolitano, Department of Homeland Security boss at the time, is now president of the University of California. What a cozy world.
Taxpayers foot the bill for all this waste and incompetence. Taxpayers, not the Secret Service, have a morale problem rooted in bureaucracy.