Monday, November 30, 2009
Just a quick post about the White House dinner the other day. We've all heard by now about the couple, Tareq and Michaele Salahi, who got into the White House dinner even though they weren't on the guest list. The story.
"I want to stress that these individuals went through magnetometers and several other levels of screenings just as all of the guests attending the dinner did," - Secret Service spokesman Edwin Donovan
While this may prove to be a mistake by the Secret Service I believe they do a great job. Donovan has also ensured that no one was ever in any danger. However, there's a book you should all read about what the Secret Service actually do and how the problem's they face are made more difficult by the administrations they protect.
For example, the Secret Service thinks it was a mistake for George Bush to make the Secret Service part of the Department of Homeland Security. As for the magnetometers mentioned above, Obama staffers told the Secret Service to just let people go through without screening if the crowds were too big when he was on the campaign trail. This was potentially dangerous.
Remember when Joe Biden threw the first pitch at the Yankees vs. Orioles game? What if someone in the crowd had a gun and was able to get off a few shots?!! It's all talked about in a fascinating book called In The Presidents Secret Service. If you get a chance you should read this book.
This may be a slip up of the Secret Service but the administrations they protect cause more problems for the Secret Service than many of us realize. Here are some samples from the back cover of the book. (The Jimmy Carter one would be funny if it weren't so pathetic):
"Threats against President Obama are up 400% compared with those against President George W. Bush."
"Barack Obama met secretly with Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., during his presidential campaign."
"Vice President Spiro Agnew, a champion of family values, had extra-marital affairs while in office."
"George W. Bush's daughters, Barbara Bush and Jenna Bush Hager, gave their Secret Service details a hard time and would try to lose their agents."
"Based on a psychics vision that a sniper would assassinate President George H. W. Bush, the Secret Service changed his motorcade route."
"To make the press think he came to work early, Jimmy Carter would walk into the Oval Office at 5 a.m., then nod off to sleep. He refused to allow the military aide with the nuclear football to stay near his home in Plains, Georgia, jeopardizing the nation's safety when he was staying there."
"Lyndon Johnson gave dangerous instructions to his Secret Service agents and engaged in extensive philandering at the White House and at his ranch."
This book is a real eye-opener for what the agents go through and what the Secret Service goes through with some administrations. I hope that both this and all future administrations begin to do a better job of listening to the advice of the Agency.
For the record the Agency wanted to put 2 agents on the back of JFK's car and he said no. We all know what happened to him. The 2 extra agents may not have saved JFK but it makes you wonder.
"Kennedy - code named Lancer - himself told agents he did not want them to ride on the small running boards at the rear of the car."
"An analysis of the ensuing assassination - including the trajectory of the bullets which struck the president - indicates that it might have been thwarted had agents been stationed on the car's running boards."
I have great respect for the Secret Service and hope most others agree. It'll be interesting to see how this story of the uninvited guest's plays out.