For the Secret Service, 2015 can’t end soon enough. Between high-profile security breaches and widespread concerns over how the agency tasked with protecting the president does its job, the year brought an unrelenting series of body blows.
One more big one landed Thursday, when the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released a bipartisan report on the Secret Service. Besides the major problems we already knew about, thanks to The Washington Post’s Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Carol Leonnig, there were other incidents detailed in the report that made an already terrible situation that much worse.
A man impersonating Rep. Donald Payne, D-N.J., not only managed to get backstage at the 2014 Congressional Black Caucus Foundation annual gala – he also had a conversation with President Obama. That same fall, an employee at a Los Angeles hotel where Obama was staying was allowed to enter the premises without going through the proper screening procedures. And my personal favorite: In 2013, four people went fishing at a lake on Vice President Joe Biden’s Delaware property without being detected.
The report didn’t just detail embarrassing incidents. It condemned systemic problems – a result of staffing declines, poor morale and a cavalier attitude about its own weaknesses.
“The agency’s recent public failures are not a series of isolated events, but the product of an insular culture that has historically been resistant to change,” the report read.
The Secret Service, for proving that things can always get worse, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.