Yet another Way to Put Obama in Danger: Let Him Ride in an Elevator with an Armed Convict

Thursday, October 02, 2014
Julia Pierson (photo: J. Scott Applewhite, AP)

The Secret Service’s top official resigned Wednesday following the revelation of another embarrassing lapse in presidential security—a man with multiple convictions for violent crime was allowed to ride in an elevator with President Barack Obama while carrying a concealed handgun.


The incident occurred last month while Obama visited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta to discuss the Ebola crisis. Getting into a CDC elevator, the president was accompanied by members of his Secret Service detail along with a private security contractor hired by the health research agency.


“The private contractor first aroused the agents’ concerns when he acted oddly and did not comply with their orders to stop using a cellphone camera to record the president in the elevator,” Carol Leonnig wrote at The Washington Post.


Once Obama exited the elevator, members of his security detail detained the contractor for questioning. It was only then that the Secret Service—which is charged with keeping potential threats away from the president at all times—discovered the man had three convictions for assault and battery. Agents were even more surprised to learn that the contractor was carrying a firearm, which came to light only after a CDC supervisor arrived and fired the individual immediately upon being told about his criminal history.


Secret Service Director Julia Pierson reportedly failed to refer the incident to a special unit charged with reviewing violations of protocol and standards. Instead, she asked an agency manager to investigate the incident. Pierson resigned on Wednesday after the CDC fiasco surfaced and drew heated criticism from Congress.


“You have a convicted felon within arm’s reach of the president, and they never did a background check,” Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who heads a House subcommittee that oversees the Secret Service, told the Post. “Words aren’t strong enough for the outrage I feel for the safety of the president and his family.”


Chaffetz added: “His life was in danger. This country would be a different world today if he had pulled out his gun.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Armed Contractor with Criminal Record was on Elevator with Obama in Atlanta (by Carol D. Leonnig, Washington Post)

Secret Service Director Testimony Omits Elevator Incident with Obama (by Jake Tapper, CNN)

Lapses Test Special Bond between President and his Protectors (by David Nakamura, Washington Post)

Secret Service, in 2011, Was Unaware of Shots Fired at White House until Housekeeper Found Clues 4 Days Later (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Steve Straehley, AllGov)

White House Intruder Left His Weapons in His Car, Claimed He was Trying to Help Obama Warn Americans that “Atmosphere was Collapsing” (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Danny Biederman, AllGov)

Secret Service Director Pulled White House Agents to Protect his Assistant (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


anonamouse 9 years ago
Well, that's progress I suppose. A Republican feeling "outrage" over the personal safety of a Democrat. Or was it just camouflaged fear of a Biden presidency? ... I don't recall any outrage whatsoever at the time of the Secret Service's greatest failure, its failure to protect JFK from his assassins. In fact, history buffs, can you recall if the SS chief was sacked by Lyndon Johnson? I am certain the driver of the limo, who stopped the car when the shooting started, continued on in his job. I'm pretty sure the agents who partied til dawn at the Cellar club in Fort Worth the night before the assassination were not sanctioned in any meaningful way, either. Not sure what this tells us about Then and Now, but I suppose Ms Pierson's resignation represents, well, call it "progress."

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