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tv   Secret Service Oversight  CSPAN  September 30, 2014 10:00am-12:01pm EDT

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makes $180 million a year. some kind of tax that if you start making over a certain amount of money, but there is a tax that will somehow help fund colleges? host: all right. on thei will comment second point about affordability because i really think, we have talked about it a few times in this our. i think it is key to the future of the ability to educate students and keep it affordable. creativity onires the part of universities moving forward to do this. us, in addition to the , we are looking at ways to use nontraditional sources of
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revenue so we can get a hold on that issue. one of the examples, one that's got a lot of press not too long parking operations here and received a payment of $483 million to put into the endowment. the 483 million generates revenue every year that goes to support pack -- faculty but also scholarship support and other things. those are things i think institutions have to look at, too, with creative ways to that fund the university that is not on the backs of students by simply increasing tuition every year. those are the kinds of things we need to do. >> real quickly because we only have a minute left. diversity, andne how do you achieve that?
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>> another great question. diversity to us is on every single dimension. diversity ofave a income backgrounds of our students. it means a diversity of representations of under represented minorities. a diversity of the countries that our students come from. so there is probably not a dimension that we do not look at when it comes to diversity, because we believe the exposure of students to this diverse culture within the university can only be beneficial in the long term when they leave the university. by working hard to recruit and find students that we can to help us accomplish this. >> we want to thank you for your
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time and everyone at ohio state university, thank you very much. having me onfor here today. appreciate it. >> the big ten college tour continuing. yesterday university of michigan. thursday penn state. the we want to bring you to house government reform committee. live coverage here on c-span as the director of the secret service is sitting down to testify before the panel about crosstruder was able to the fence of the white house as well as a 2011 shooting at the white house. >> the committee will come to
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order. the oversight committee exists to secure two fundamental principles. first, americans have a right to know the money washington takes and them is well spent, second, americans deserve an efficient government that works for them. our duty is to protect these rights. our solemn responsibility is to hold government accountable to tack payers. it is our job to work tirelessly with citizens of watchdogs to
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bring general reform to the bureaucracy. this is our mission in today's hearing follows one of the most important parts of the measure. with one point $5 billion spent by the secret service, nearly a oflion spent on protection first family, second family, former presidents and presidential candidates, the united states secret service was always considered to be the elite law enforcement agency made up of men and women who were highly regarded, highly respected and highly trusted. grace --ry has placed great faith and trust in the secret service. the agents of the uniform division are officers and the secret service agents have a monumental task.
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that of protecting the nation's presidents past present and future. they do so honorably and not without personal sacrifice. they ensure the safety of the first and second family, yes, and the safety of foreign dignitaries throughout washington and at times, throughout the world. ensure the safety of every men and women who emptied the white house and the company holdings. but a history of misbehavior, security failures has clearly blemished that record. gonzalezber 19, omar jumped the north fence, a ran across the white house lawn, up whiteeps and into the house. he was armed with a three inch serrated knife. he entered through an unlocked door, past the staircase to the
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residence and into the east room of the white house. gentlemen, that was the part of my opening statement that was changed last night when the early also reports that in fact he had been apprehended just inside the front door was just inside by revelations that he had been -- penetrated much further into the white house. secret service officers only subdued him after he was clearly well inside the white house. an intruder walked in the front door of the white house, and that is unacceptable. there weree tells us a series of security failures. not an instance of praiseworthy restraint. he reached at least five rings of security on september 19. the white house is supposed to one of america's most secure
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facilities, and in fact, one of the world's most secure facilities, so how on earth did it happen? has failure was once again tested the trust of the american people in the secret service, a trust he clearly depend on to protect the president. allowing the paparazzi crazed reality tv star to crash engaging dinner, after prostitutes, after excessive drinking and an agent falling asleep outside his room in the netherlands, and yes, and the event,ling of the 11-11 a gunman who sprayed bullets has caused over $100,000 in damage.
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not properly reported in real-time or understood, it is understandable the morale but he it appears to decline in news report. in light of the recent break in him a we have to ask whether the culture at the secret service and possible declining morale have an impact in operation, and those are some of the questions today. the appointment of director pearson wrought nouveau the agency would reclaim the noble but to recent events have so troubled us that in fact we have called the director here to face tough questions. how could mr. gonzales faced the fence -- scaled the fence? the fence to scale often. but how is it that was as ordinarily happen, agents did not immediately apprehend him?
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how was he able to sprint 70 yards, almost the entire length of the football field without being intercepted by guards at the fence? guardsn't security stopped him at the fence? what about sniper rifles? why were there no guard stations at the front door of the white house? and yes, how much would it cost to law the front door of the white house? the secret service must show how there is a clear path back to public trust. to today's hearings is to gain answers to the many questions plaguing the secret service. today we will hear from experts on both the agency protocol, foreign and domestic, but most importantly, we will hear from the secret service your herself on her plans to improve the agency's performance. real danger as we
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serve abroad, especially those serviced at -- stationed at our embassies. it is a time of great peril. we are engaged in the battle against isis as we speak i'm above that is not limited to foreign soil. americans know the next attempt to take white house may not be wieldinged solo knife veteran with ptsd. it could be a planned attack from terrorist organization. is the system broke down on september 19. as it did when they crashed the state dinner in 2009. ortega oaksen hernandez successfully shot the white house on november 11, 2011. as it did in cartagena when
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agents paid for prostitutes and compromise security, as it did in the netherlands in 2014. we cannot further allow this. , the secretntly service relies on two important .cales or fax the skill, the capability to protect the president must be at the highest level because they because 1%eed 99% failure is not an option come up but they also rely on the good faith belief i most people they should not even try, but this is the hardest target on earth. we need to make sure the second isdest target on earth through with reality and in the minds of anyone who might take on the secret service to get to the president or first family. without a recognized the member
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for his opening statement. >> thank you. with an obvious premise. no individual should be allowed to feel -- scaled the fence at the white house, sprint across the north lawn, and burst into the residence of the first family with 11. no one. our goal today is also clear, to determine how this happened and make sure it never happens again . this is our watch. this recent incident unfortunately causes many people a ask whether or not there is much broader problem with the secret service. last night the washington post reported omar gonzalez made his way into the east room.
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another incident in 2011 about a shooting raises more questions about the competency and culture of this delete agency. most about this report is agents said they were hesitant. agents in this agency said they were hesitant to raise security concerns with their supervisors. gentlemen, something is awfully wrong with that picture. the secret service is supposed to be the most elite, protective force in the world, yet four days went by before they discover the white house had been shot seven times. in 2012 there was the prostitution scandal in columbia . although it had little to do
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with tactical protection issues, it seriously damaged the agency's credibility. the secret service must not only carry out its duties with the highest degree of excellence and effectiveness, but it also must a reputation that matches the performance. as the chairman has said, much of what deters people from trying to pierce the protective veil of the secret service is the reputation. that reputation must be one of excellence and effectiveness. today's witness, mrs. georgia pearson was appointed director of the secret service last year to help restore the agency standing. she has had a distinguished 30 year career with the agency. to her credit, she immediately ordered an internal review and agreed to testify.
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with respect to the most recent incident, i have key questions share with many people across the country. did the secret service have specific protocols by handling specific perimeter breach? is so, where they followed in this case, and if they work him and do they need to change in light of what happened. followed why?ot and how can we have confidence that it will be followed in the future? i also want to understand what happened drier to the incident? gonzalez was arrested in onginia two months earlier july 19. mr. chairman, i would like to enter into the records an inventory sheet provided to us by the virginia state police. , whichs the contents
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included an arsenal of 11 firearms, including sniper rifles and a shot that stalled off shotgun. objection thehout entire report be placed in the record. it also included the content of the car, which included a small arsenal of 11 firearms, including sniper rifles and a sawed-off shotgun. it also included a map of washington, d.c., with a line drawn to the white house. the virginia state police, the bureau of alcohol and tobacco firearms and explosives concluded there was no information in gonzalez history that prohibited him from owning the firearms, get, he was severely mentally ill in the military psychiatrist reportedly traded him for posttraumatic
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stress disorder and paranoid schizophrenia. mr. chairman, i hate to even what could have happened been carrying a gun instead of a knife when he burst inside the white house. that possibility is extremely unsettling. today our workspaces to challenges. first, the secret service has not yet completed the internal view. i understand the director will provide us with a status update but the final results are not yet in. second, some of the information is classified so we cannot yet discuss it in public. the very last thing we want to do is give people like gonzalez a roadmap for how to attack the president or other officials protected by the secret service. the director sent a letter
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friday not only offering to testify today in the public setting but also to provide all of us with a classified briefing. the chairman has agreed to hold the classified session in a separate room directly after this hearing concludes. let me close on making the final point. is not a democratic issue. this is not a republican issue, this is an american issue. this is also an issue of national security. the vast majority of men and women who served in the secret service are dedicated, experienced public servants who are willing to lay down their lives for their country. congress of a grateful and a grateful nation, i think everyone of them. they have an extremely difficult job. like others in difficult positions, they are required to make instant life and death
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decisions in extremely stressful situations. astrid the capitol police shot and killed an unarmed woman with a one-year-old girl in the back seat of her car. some praised their cooked -- othersesponses, criticized but they acted based upon their first-hand experience the capital one another deranged and eventual first through the till two capitol police officers. the secret service has a high profile job, but it is critically important and requires accountability. mr. chairman, i look forward to the testimony. i thank you for bringing us back to the hearing, and i look forward to the questions i have artie raised and others being answered. with that, i yield back. >> enqueue.
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i now recognize the gentleman from utah. the subcommittee chairman on national security for his opening statement. thank the chairman and chairman cummings. it is an american issue. i do not want it to be the political football. we are self-critical. the beauty of the nation as we do hold ourselves accountable. i do appreciate you holding this hearing. we have wonderful men and women who serve this nation. they walk away from families and spouses. they do not know what the day will bring them and they do so in a very honorable way, and we thank them for their service and dedication but i have serious concerns about the current leadership, training and heard a call. .- protocol since the current director has taken on the role, it is important to note she was chief of staff in 2008.
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so the past several years is not good enough to simply excuse as something she was trying to clean up before because she was chief of staff in 2008. i am concerned about leadership in mixed messages to those who serve. after the fence jumping incident the secret service was very quick to put out a statement that honored the officers and agents for their quote tremendous restraint. lookingnot what we are for. tremendous restraint is not the goal of the objective. it sends a very mixed message. it should be overwhelming force. if one person can hop the fence and run unimpeded all the way through an open door of the white house, do not praise them for tremendous restraint. that is not the goal and not what we looking for. if there were alarms inside the door that were muted or sidelined, i want to know why
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that is. who makes that call and decision? i think as some point we need to go back and revisit two thousand 13 inspector general report that says there is not a problem but over 1000 indications of security concern. in the opening statements they would have to be 100% right all of the time. everyone agrees with that. the inspector general's report, pretty damning. concerned about the 2011 incident. thanks all for the washington post report. the best i can tell, as well as the article in " the washington in 2011 wereent eight shots were fired at the white house, no less than five secret service agents reported they thought they heard shots rate -- shots fired. you had someone on twitter report they saw someone shot -- at the white house.
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blocks away moments later someone crashes a vehicle and an assault rifle is in there in the secret service is on the scene and no one ties them together. i don't understand that. later, the arlington county police detain this person. he had been positively identified based on the vehicle but no one put it into the system to put him on the watch list. carly -- consequently when arlington county police pulled him over they took his picture and let him go. it was only the pennsylvania police five days later that find the person. now he is serving 25 years in jail but could have done a lot more damage. if the director is going to take full responsibility, i think the opening statement should also talk about leadership. as i talked to the whistleblower and others come at they are concerned about leadership, and
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training. as i look at the 2015 budget request, page 39 there is a basic total and i want to run through the numbers because it is important. under special agent basic classes there were eight classes. 2010 eight classes. 2000 11 five classes. 2012 milk labs says. 2011 five clases. 2012 no classes. in 2012 there was one class. 2013 one class. look at the budget line appropriation, it did not go down. it was basically the same. training diminish? again, i mentioned protocol. ms., itroject week
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invites tax. we want to see overwhelming force. the would-be intruder was not stopped by a dog or person perhaps lethal force is necessary. i want the secret service agents and officers to know at least this member of congress has their back. do not let someone get close to the president, the family, get in the white house ever. if they have to take action that is lethal, i will have their back. at this day and age with 30 bombs in terrorist, we do not know what is owing on underneath that person's clothing. if they want to penetrate that, they need to know they will perhaps be killed. that is the message we should be sending every single time, and that is the kind of secret service that i expect. the service and dedication. we love them and care for them but we need better leadership and it is not happening. we yield back.
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>> we now recognize the gentlelady for her opening statement. >> thank you very much. thank you for this hearing. my respect for the secret service goes back to when i was growing up as a child in the district of columbia and continues to this very day. ask recente must for recent anrecedented events call for unprecedented response. first, an increasing number of white house jumpers, including the most recent this month, was able to get deeper into the interior of the white house. in 2011 multiple shots into the living quarters of the first family discovered only four days later not by secret service investigation but
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by white house staff. , in thehese failures core mission of the secret service to protect the white house and the first family is an ,nsettling failure to disclose perhaps even understand, what has occurred or to promptly investigate -- together this combination of failure suggest wrongly the time is right for a 21st-century makeover of the secret service. ado not regard this matter as mere question of personnel. i believe it goes far deeper than that. moreover, the stunning events whenoccurred during a time the united states, and by definition, the white house and even the president, are being targeted by domestic and
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international terrorists. assessments,threat this president has had three times as many threats as his predecessors. just as troubling have been indications of unwarranted secrecy in the secret service. is not at service secret society. avoidances a willing of needed transparency, that in itself poses a danger to the white house. , when noises were heard that could be gunfire at the white house, others believed is automobile that buyer. gain gunfire -- it the jobre, isn't
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of the secret service to presume such a sound is gunfire until an immediate investigation shows it was not? soundfficers close to the have to become whistleblowers have active suppression of information becomes yet another , worseto the white house such failures such that some are , perhaps of danger posing the greatest risk to the white house. troubling in light of such unanswered questions a rush to quick fixes such as suppression of public access to the area around the white house without a thorough investigation. the white house and lafayette
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park just like the congress, our first in the area and the public must be allowed to express grievances has -- as they always have been. in light of the seriousness of , thet breaches investigation at the first instance of the department of homeland security should go well be on the details of these events. they are merely the most recent to bottomor a top investigation of secret service operations at the white house. this is not a mere question of personnel. or inng people at the top between will not solve the issue i think we are presented. we must learn whether today's secret service as structured,
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for example, could stop five or six men jumping at the same time. intent on harm to the white house and president. not just a demented war vet who even alone might have succeeded. no scenario should be off the table for unneeded 21st-century study of secret service operations in the age of terrorism. has shownearson accomplishments and her 18 months as director. the heroism of the secret the a gone debate. the white house and intruder was brought down by an agent.
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presidentte house and have been sprung into a new era of danger. the secret service should welcome an outside investigation to assure the necessary resources and the expert backup and structure for the 21st century is necessary to do its job. >> enqueue. >> members may have seven days to submit opening statements for the record. i now ask for unanimous consent that are calling, the gentlelady from texas comments jackson lee be allowed to participate in the hearing. additionally, unanimous consent that our calling, the gentleman for mr.'s -- missouri be allowed to participate. we now welcome our panel of witnesses, the honorable julia
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pearson is the director of the united states secret service. director is the former director of the united states secret service, and currently up partner at command consulting group. is theorable todd keele former assistant secretary for infrastructure protection at the united states department of homeland security and currently a senior advisor to touchtone page, pursuant to the committee rules i when asked that you please all rise and raise your right hand to take the oath. do you solemnly swear or affirm the testimony you are about to get will be the truth, whole truth and nothing but the truth? please be seated. but the record reflect all witnesses answered in the affirmative. in order to allow a sufficient time for discussions and questions, please limit your
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testimony to five minutes. the entire opening statement will be made a permanent part of the record. with that, director pearson is recognized. >> good morning chairman isaf, ranking member cummings and distinguished members of the committee. i'm here to address the concern we all share following september 19 at the white house. it is clear the security plan was not properly executed. this is unacceptable, and i take full responsibility and make sure it does not happen again. as director my primary concern is ensuring the operational readiness of the workforce. i have been address it -- aggressive and injuring professionalism and developing leaders through active engagement with agency supervisors and employees i have made it clear my expectations for professionalism and personal accountability. much of what we do to protect the president that involves information that is highly
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classified. so i will be limited what i can say in a public hearing. on to number 19 a man skilled at north fence of the white house and crossed the lawn, entered through the front door and was subsequently arrested on the state floor. immediately that night i ordered enhancements around the complex and in consultation with the secretary initiated a comprehensive warm -- review of the incident to ensure it will not happen again. the review began when the physical assessment of the state and personnel issues. all the personnel that evening are being evaluated. i am committed to the following, a complete and thorough investigation of the facts of the incident, a complete and thorough review of policies, procedures, protocols and place, and the response to this incident and based on the result of that review, coordinated, informed effort to make any and all adjustments for training and
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personal actions that are necessary to properly secure the safety of the family and president and white house. the white house emergency action plans are multifaceted. the secret service has apprehended 16 individuals who jump the fence -- jump the fence over the past five years. in fact, on september 11, 2014, we prior to this event, officers apprehended an individual seconds after he scaled the fence. , hundreds of individuals have approached the white house parameter, verbalize and threats or acting in a suspicious manner. officers routinely leverage decisions to arrest or transfer them to appropriate facilities for mental health evaluations. protecting the white house complex is a challenge and any threat environment. in addition to a national icon, it consists of public spaces, executive officers, and the
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private residence of the president and first family. ensuring the safety of all who live and work in the white house while preserving access to the millions of visitors each year's -- each year requires a unique balance. in this environment we are never satisfied by the status quo in constantly reviewing security protocols. with the help of congress we have enhanced security features of the white house. in the past five years the secret service has upgraded perimeter cameras, and command and control systems along with enhancements to highly classified programs. generated many of the new security enhancements in direct response to direct the intelligent tactics. i think congress for the support of the time of constrained resources. beyond technology approximately 75% of annual budget is dedicated to payroll cost that supports the most valuable assets, our people. the agency relies heavily on the training and experience and
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judgment of the when -- men and women. the questionso and opinions raised, i do not want to get ahead of the investigation underway. the secret service has had its share of challenges in the recent years, and some during my tenure. i intend to leave the secret service or the challenge us and reputation to the level of excellence the american public expects. i am proud of the workforce to serve each day with honor and distinction. last week our employees successfully implemented security operations in conjunction with the 69 united nations general assembly in new york. past 12 months they have completed over 5600 protect -- successful missions. it is my responsibility to ensure they have the resources and training they need to succeed. as director i have worked with
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department of homeland security, the administration and congress to include members of this committee to develop a comprehensive forward leaning strategy to form -- further enhance the workforce and operational capabilities. we remain dedicated and committed to protecting the .amily in president i think the committee for the opportunity to appear and look or word to your questions. -- i thank the committee for the opportunity to appear and look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you. ranking member cummings. distinguished members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to share my perspective on the recent events at the white house, and more broadly the state of the agency i care deeply about, the united date secret service. i look forward to discussing how the recent incident highlights some of the challenges the
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secret service has long faced at the white house complex and balancing desired levels of security come along with the functional needs of those who live and work in the complex and the practical realities of the thriving city it resides within and the historic symbolism and imagery of the people's house. this exposes steps the secret service got right and those they got wrong and will identify corrective measures and additional resources that can be considered. poses difficult questions for all of us on the issue. like the use of the legal force and additional fortifications around the white house complex. the questions do not have easy answers and the consequences must be thought through. let us also be mindful that while our analysis has the benefits of days of hindsight in consideration, everyone who has served on protective detail most
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decision-making in a natural event with life and death consequences is measured in milliseconds. those who were on duty during the incident had a much harder job in trying to get it right and we do today. my perspective is one that is shaped by a career of over 30 years in the secret service but also for my experiences at the head of operational components within department of homeland insecurity. remain deeply involved in the security issues and implementation of international best practices as it relates to protection of individuals and high valued assets. i had the honor of joining the secret service in 1971 and i enjoyed a challenging and very interesting career, including being on protective detail for and ricketts injured, vice countlessbush, and dignitaries. later, president clinton afforded me director as the training center and eventually
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retired to washington after september 11 attacks to help securityransportation administration. i rejoined secret service in 2003 when i was honored to serve former three years. i subsequently was appointed by president bush to serve as commissioner of the united states customs and border protection of the largest law enforcement agency in the united states. i remained in that position at the obama administration at the request of secretary napolitano. upon retiring from the government in 2009 i helped to found the security of that work for government sector and private clients. therefore, the viewpoint i will share today is informed largely by men experience with the secret service and the benefits of having worked for and many other eu leak security organizations around the world for almost 40 years. let me commend the members for the time and interest you are showing on the subject, especially at this juncture when
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there are so many pressing security concerns to which our government must pay attention. it goes without saying the reset incident with the individual crossing the fence and making inside the white house is unprecedented him and unacceptable. this is not just my view, but it is the directors view that it is unacceptable as well as the rank-and-file. this is critically and portman this incident. we could easily be discussing why an iraqi veteran possibly suffering through posttraumatic stress disorder armed with only a pocket knife was shot dead on the north wall -- not -- north lawn. the secret service, split second decisions made will thoroughly be examined, procedure debated, training altered and in the end, the secret service will learn valuable lessons as they have been doing throughout their history of protecting the president and his family.
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this is an agency that will never been reluctant to read team incidents, those of high consequences and those of less importance. to find opportunities for improvement in the way it conducts business and the way it trains people in the tools it uses to accomplish the mission. remains high that this aspect remains as strong today as it has ever been. agency will learn valuable lessons i can apply immediately to improve security at the white house and other settings. i would urge the committee to keep in mind when examining any incidents that the broader context in which the secret service operates is not one that is valued on security alone. the service has to ensure the president and other protect these and the facilities in which they live and work are safe and secure but do so in the context of important american values like freedom and openness and in close coordination and
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cooperation and almost always in negotiation with the myriad of other stakeholder -- stakeholders and decision-makers who have responsibilities and viewpoints. this dynamic is in fact more true when it comes to the area surrounding the white house complex than any other. as much as i may have wished it when i was the director, the secret service absolutely cannot unilaterally when it comes to almost any security feature in and around the white house. stakeholders with a voice including the government mr.rict of columbia, as norton would recognize. national historical society, gsa and others who provide input into any architectural changes and improvements and new changes in appearance. of prime example is the closure of present -- pennsylvania avenue to vehicular traffic.
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imperative from the services perspective for many years. it was politically impossible until the oklahoma city bombing in 1995 made the impact of vehicle borne exposure to a government building. even then it was not until 2004 when i was director that we were able to complete the project converting the course to a pedestrian mall. i might add, there are those that believe the avenue should be reopened in spite of the irrefutable evidence of the extreme risk such a move would put the first family and hundreds of employees who work there. i can also tell you there have been numerous studies conducted by the secret service and at the secret service respect -- request to conduct them at the white house, motivated in part
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by concerns about the inadequacy of the current white house fence as an outer perimeter for a complex given the ability of an individual or group of individuals to quickly scale it and be on white house grounds. while multiple improvements have been made, especially over the past decade to the security of the white house complex, there have been several improvements desired that have not been possible in light of other considerations given the level of funding provided to the agency for such capital improvements. let me be clear, i am not in anyway trivializing the importance of the considerations importance of the considerations. there have almost always been things i'd like to do for security purposes but could not because of limited funding or other factors. that will always be the case. it is always keep in mind the white house is an important symbol for the american people. it is obviously critically
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important to be kept safe but the security must be accomplished in a way that does not jeopardize the very values we seek to protect and the buildings themselves in deed symbolized. i ask that you keep this in context when looking at this particular incident and examining how something could have happened or how it could be and should be presented in the future. today i want to make sure the committee is aware of another fundamental principle in which the secret service and any good security organization to protect the methodology is based. it is called defense in depth. law enforcement usually referred to as multilayered security. when it comes to protecting the president or white house complex, there are many layers of protection for which an attacker must travel in order to it chief -- achieve a desired objective. the entry of an individual into the white house -- >> could you summarize?
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you are at twice five minutes. >> having said that, i am ready to take questions. >> thank you, chairman issa. inviting me to testify today regarding the u.s. secret services security protocols. i believe i can offer unique perspective on protecting high visibility targeted as a ladies after spending nearly 23 years after the department of state diplomatic security service with responsibility for developing and implementing security programs for u.s. personnel, embassies, consulates and other officials around the world. i have also spent numerous years in the private sector working in and advising corporate security and management. from late 2009 until early 2000 well i was the assistant secretary for infrastructure protection at the department of homeland security. i was responsible for public/private partnerships in a regulatory program to protect
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critical assets of the united states. asked year i was selected and served on the benghazi accountability review board number recommended independent panel on best practices, which was established to identify best practices from across u.s. government agencies. and allied countries on management and operation and high threat/high risk locations globally. mr. chairman, the united states secret service has a proud history of protecting the most important government leaders of our country, the white house and other official facilities and conducting criminal thestigations to protect banking systems and financial communications and cyber security. and women on the from line every day keeping our men and women safe do a tremendous job. the agents and officers of the secret service are constantly in the spotlight, especially serving at the white house, one ofthe most prominent signals
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our nation strength and democracy. leo them a debt of gratitude. every organization, even those with a century and a half of history must be willing to learn. those who wish to do us harm possiblynpredictable mentally unstable person to an organized terror group meant on -- bent on unleashing an attack typically have the element of surprise. our country faces a very dynamic and fluid and evolving threat environment in which the aggressors have become very patient, resilient and determined. we have to be better than they are. to counter this threat, security intelligence and law enforcement agencies like the secret service must have strategical and tactical leadership, focus on the primary mission and provide the people with the best training and resources, and possibly most importantly be ready to act aggressively when faced with a threat.
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the secret service like any successful organization must be willing to continuously eat all and improved to adapt the agency ahead of the threat curve. i foundut my career government agencies and private sector organizations were at the top of the game become complacent. time tends to unknowingly you wrote and blunt the end of this year. way wely on this is the have always done it or we know how to do it best so they are unwilling or unable to change. the secret service, i believe, would benefit from new and emerging technologies to assist with protect of responsibilities . when i was at the department of homeland security the secret service partner with my office and dhs office of science and technology to research and develop cutting-edge technology. now is the time for the department of homeland security to bring some of those technological enhancements out of the lab and expand their use
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in the secret service toolkit. in addition, management and leadership of an organization change, andhem a improve. deployment of personnel and resources should be understood -- under constant scrutiny and exercise based on real world scenarios. officers are some of the best this country has to offer and they deserve the strategic and tactical leadership to match. all too often after something has gone wrong the cry is for more money, more personnel and a larger physical setback. this is really the correct answer. -- rarely the correct answer. throwing more money and people at the problem will only existinge week mean -- weaknesses. post incidentss are typical in the u.s. government from agency to agency but from my experience the reviews are impacted by intentional or unintentional
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arsenal or professional bias and are often informed by the same agencies cultural and management gaps that may have been the contributing factor in the original incidents. the department of homeland security and the secret service now have unique opportunity and critical moment in time to obtain an unbiased, independent top to bottom review focusing on management and policies and procedures related to the incident on september 19. i strongly recommend the secretary of homeland security appoint a panel of independent experts to conduct the review in the group should be tasked with providing advice, guidance and formal recommendations to dhs and the secret service. in fact, the faneuil -- panel i by markas chaired sullivan. throughout my career i have always been proud to work colleagues. my the united states secret service
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is a recognize world-class organization and i am confident will learn from the most recent incident and innovate, strengthen and improve to keep the country and leader safe. thank you. you, mr. kyle. i will recognize myself now. --hink the first question you can put up the map of the white house. first question, if you look at the firstportion, question the american people crasho know is is there a button, and had it been punished, what is locked the front door that is marked as the ?ntrance hall apc the front door at the time did not have an automatic locking mechanism. it required an individual to lock the front door. click so we have an automated system. 800 million per year, millions of dollars more during your
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tenure each year at the president's request, and that door was unlocked with no one standing at it when mr. gonzales came through? is that correct? unlocked at the time of mr. gonzales's entry. that is correct. >> ok. earlier there was a report and that he was apprehended at the entrance hall. isn't it true today that we understand it was not true, he was apprehended at the green room, correct? if i may clarify my first answer, the front door consists of two doors. which isan outer door, class almost described as a storm door, and an air door that is a historic door. the outer door was not locked. the internal wood door was in
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the process of being hand locked. lex bottom line, automated locking is in a capability at the white house but not of that entrance at that time. >> not at that time but has since been installed in effective today. >> the second question, your agency previously reported in an indictment asserted he was arrested in the entry area. isn't it true he actually penetrated the cross paul, east room and arrested in the passivity of the green room? - in the vicinity of the green room? >> according to your map-- >> i want a short answer. the federal indictment showed he was apprehended in one place. >> as mr. gonzales entered the
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door he knocked back the officer standing at the doorway. the officer engaged mr. gonzales. they crossed the east entrance hall to the other. they made the left turn down the cross paul, they stepped momentarily into the east room. another officer rendered aid and was placed on the ground in the carpet and handcuffed on the cross paul to us outside of the green room. , the federal complaint in the earlier reports were not accurate, correct? yes or no, please go >> i think the original complaint is accurate that he scaled the fence. lex i have very little time, and the american people want to know , is the president safe? i want to know if we can rely on reports from your agency. going back to mr. hernandez. drain your watch as chief of staff to the director, is it reported,in fact as
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agents falsely assumed they were not gunshots when they were gunshots? were standdown orders to people who had aarti full shotguns out. in fact, the bullets were not discovered to have hit the white house in real-time within a 24 hour or greater. by the secret service. yes or no, please. >> you are referring to the in 2011.ooting >> yes. >> at that time, it is my understanding that there was reports of shots being fired in proximity to constitution avenue. 'am.amma -- ma i want to be considerate to you, you have a hard job. but you have an agency whose morale has gone down. it is lower than other comical federal agencies. it has had a series of embarrassments out.
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we've had two cases in which the reporting is evolving. only last night to the public learn that in fact, it was far worse, or at least somewhat worse, on september 19. only recently has it been revealed, and you said you wanted to correct the record. the washington post makes it clear, from what i read, that in 11, 2011,ovember shots were fired. the assailant left. the secret service supervisor shutdown the response of people who believe rightfully very gunshots fired. the follow-up did not discover the damage to the white house, and the actual shots in real-time. , ortegaally, mr. ortega hernandez is how i have a written, would not have been
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apprehended except he had a car accident. and when he did, it was not immediately linked to his criminal activity. in fact, the system at the white house did not detect the actual shots fired and begin the pursuit of somebody who had provided legal -- lethal force against the facility of the white house. is that correct? you work chief of staff at the time. allow yout, i will whatever time you need to properly explain whatever happened on november 11, 2011. so the american people can understand that september 19 is not the first time there is been considerable lapse, as i see it. and in fact, during a long theod of time we have had kinds of things we should be concerned about for protecting the president. please tell us, in whatever time you need, about november 11,
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2011. whether the washington post is right or wrong. this is your chance. >> thank you. as chief of staff -- >> in the might close. >> my primary responsibilities at that time were business transformation. and i.t. transformation for the organization. my focus was on the business operations of the organization. to my knowledge, and based on the briefings i have received of this three-year-old investigation that occurred in november of 2011, that appeared in the washington post on sunday, i had been aware that a apresentative had asked with data inquiry, and we responded to the committee on september 12. we responded him detailed responses.
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shots were reported by the united states secret service officers in the area of constitution avenue and 15th. there were witness accounts of a black vehicle that had fired shots. there was confusion at the time on the part of the witnesses as to what they had witnessed, and what they had saw. witnesses putse out twitter accounts of what they had witnessed. they were subsequently located, interviewed, and recanted those statements. the actual shots that were fired come in proximity to constitution avenue and 16th, the vehicle sped away. it went westbound on constitution, erratically driving, and struck a light post. mr. tager then fled the vehicle. ortega then fled the vehicle. the vehicle was left with an ak-47 in the front seat. had us possibility
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over the traffic accident. >> i will give you all the time you need. but where are the inconsistencies with what we now know from the washington post? you said they got the story wrong, they were misstating it, they were mischaracterizing it. i would like to hear the inconsistencies. so far you are corroborating that in fact, the understanding of the series of failures in real-time to protect the white house are in fact correct, according to the washington post. please tell us where they are not correct. the course of this, there was a command post established on constitution avenue and 23rd street. metropolitan police department, the u.s. park police, united states secret service were their attention to resolve or understand it from witness accounts what happened along constitution avenue. at the white house, individuals had heard what they believed to be shots. to secret service, according
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the records that i have been able to locate on this three-year-old investigation, did respond properly. the emergency response teams and their officers did a protective sweep of the area to make sure that we did not have any intruders, or obvious signs of any things that had been damaged. investigation with the park police, they were unable to resolve at that time whether or not these were shots being fired at other vehicles, or shots being fired at the white house. that took some time to understand. the ushersntil office were preparing for the return of the first family that they identified damage on the truman balcony. further to investigation, that led to us contacting the federal bureau of investigation to initiate a full investigation. >> thank you. mr. cummings, i thank you for your understanding. let me relate some in the ui discussed yesterday, if i may.
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in washington dc, and around the country, there are a number of systems that we all know. baltimore has it too. rhey are microphones that hea gunshots, can identify the direction, can quickly and without human intervention figure out whether or not a real shot has been fired, confirm it, and often give a very accurate direction. that kind of technology isn't so odd that we don't see it in our cities. i think that is the reason i went on so long with this question. know, knows this. the district does have a sophisticated system. i think the committee will want to make sure that not only does the white house have a higher level of awareness of the system, but that the district system be enhanced if necessary to make sure that something like this never happens again. i think the john the first patients. >> thank you mr. chairman. -- piersonarson
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, i've thought about this long and hard. tohink my major concern goes the culture. to knowry disturbing that secret service agents in the most elite protective agency in the world feel more comparable coming to members of tellingmittee and things, and coming to you and members in the agency. -- when i boil all this down, that to me is dangerous. it has to go against the route. -- against morality. i don't see how good decisions
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can be made if your own people don't feel a level of comfort. or they feel fear, that they are going to be able to talk about the things that concern them. i just want to go through some questions. i want to give you a chance to address that. to me, when all the dust settles, that is a problem. this november 11, 2011 incident. i know you were not the director. i understand that. thet of people talk about culture problem with the secret service. , of all theports press reports the one that itcerns me is that in 2011, says officers who were on the scene, who thought gunfire had probably hit the house that
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night, were largely ignored. dispute were afraid to their bosses conclusions. did you see that report, are you aware of this incident? >> ranking member cummings, i too read that newspaper article, and was troubled by those accounts. i have asked my office of professional responsibility to retrieve the file, and those records. of what we know, and when we knew it, if this young officer had made such a statement. i did find a statement, with theyyoung officer alleges were reluctant to report it to their supervisor to be criticized. i believe that was the statement. it troubles me as well. >> that is a major problem. >> i'm going to office -- ask my office to read interview that officer. they remain on the job today. to determine whether that
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officer would be more competent today, or what were some of those problems that she felt like she could not say that. that externally troubles me. -- it's said that she heard shots and what she thought was debris falling overhead. she drew her hand gun and took cover, then heard a radio call reporting possible shots fired. new the south grounds. called the joint operations center to report that she was breaking into the gun box near her post, pulling out her shotgun. according to this article, she replaced the buckshot inside inh a more powerful slug case you needed to engage in attacker. but then, the call came over the radio to stand down. thing, the officer, and i quote -- listened during roll
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call before her shift, saturday afternoon, as the supervisors explained that the gunshots were two people into cars -- in cars shooting at each other. the report said that she told several senior officers friday night that she thought the house had been hit. she did notday, challenge her supervisors for fear of being criticized. she later told investigators. pierson, as a former field agent and as head is the -- head of the agency, that must concern you. >> it does. it is an acceptable. -- unacceptable. somees it trouble you that of your own agents do not feel couple raising security concerns?
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and this is just one person. there are others who again, would rather be whistleblowers -- and i have no problem with whistleblowers. we do every thing in our power to protect them. but in this agency, they would rather be a whistleblower than to bring their concerns to you -- you started off saying that you are going to make sure this never happens again. let me tell you what the problem is here. if you are heading in agency where the folks are not providing you with the information to do the right thing, to make the changes, how do you even know what the problems are? do you follow me? help me with this. -- yes, sir.
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any time in any organization, you start to make significant changes, some people will have resistance. some will push back. however, i will continue to lead and transform the secret service, to ensure we are prepared for our mission. and ensure we can restore our reputation with the american public. over the last 18 months that i have been serving as director, and over the last six months, i have been personally with over 1500 supervisors and employees. i have had a number of engagement sessions, and spent over an hour with each of them, advising them of what my expectations are. what their performance requirements are. what personal accountability is. how to manage this workforce. how to ensure that we are performing at the highest levels in everything that we do. that we are operationally ready, that we are training, the we are
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evaluating each other, and that we are constantly looking at our mission to make sure we are being effective in everything that we do. i can't speak for what is happen -- has happened in the past. as we move into the future, and while i am director, i will not missteps,ersonnel were people fail to act or do not support the workforce, or do not work in unison. i would say that there are many people who are still pushing back, and i will continue to lead forward. officer,oblem is that she was right. and that was the morning after the shooting. yet it took four days for the housekeepers to discover that the bullets that struck the building. isn't that right? in other words, the officer was right. >> yes. ultimately, the officer was right. >> the washington post story says this agent subsequently reported her concerns to investigators.
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was there and after accident report about the 2011 shooting? did it include recommendations related to agents reporting their concerns without fear of being criticized? do you know? >> i don't know. i would say that the officers statement to our interviews, that occurred when secret service employees, are different than the officers statements to the fbi and officers conducting the investigation. i have asked them to go back and have a robust conversation with unemployed make sure she feels we wantd, knows that her to come forward with information, and that we understand what some of the impediments may be with the management team. feel like we can make improvements to make sure that never happens again. >> let me say this, and then i will close. sullivan, director
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invited me a few years ago. you may have been there. to speak before top agents. after the columbia situation. with the prostitutes. said tohe things that i mym back then -- i expressed tremendous respect and appreciation. i also told them that i don't --t anyone to imagine imagining that they can pierce the protective veil of the secret service. period. i firmly believe that the reputation is so very, very, very important. -- that culture thing is an issue. i'm sure that others will question you about that. thank you for your testimony.
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i yield back. >> thank you. i recognize myself. following up on raking member cummings. i sent you a letter, director, specifically asking for details about the situation in 2011. i ask unanimous consent and written to the records of it all members can see it, the unclassified spot report on the incident in november of 2011. director, why is it that when i look at this report, there isn't even a mention of officer carrie johnson? and yet the washington post this toher detailing headquarters. wise and her name mentioned -- why isn't her name is mentioned? >> it reflects the active information. i don't know what information you have relatives officer johnson's reporting. >> you gave us this report.
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this is minute by minute. minute by minute what happened in the situation. are you telling me that the washington post is wrong, that she didn't call in to headquarters? i'm confused by your statement about colin to headquarters. >> she reported that she was opening a box, getting out a shotgun, all those details. >> that is the confusion that i have with the washington post article. typically, when there is an emergency happening around the made,house, or alerts are much like shots being fired on november 11, i would expect officers to react according to their security protocols. >> she says she called in to headquarters. there is no mention of that. other officers are mentioned, but it is not acceptable to not
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even mention the action she took in the washington post could get that, but congress couldn't. let's go back to the fence jumping situation. police had detained a person who had a map in the car, all the weapons that country from cummings had talked about, suspicious behavior. my understanding is three officers spotted him that day and did not report it. i want to know if that is true as we go along. the fence failed, officers that chased him didn't catch him, the sniper was in position, no shots were fired. dogs were out there, weren't released. counter surveillance is understaffed. nobody shot anything. there was nobody who was intercepted. the doors were unlocked. an officer was overwhelmed. the crash box was evidently science -- silence. the secret service but that is stationed -- put out a statement saying they offered tremendous restraint.
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do those officers have your authority to use lethal force to prevent somebody from entering the white house? >> those officers do have the authority to use independent judgment to leverage lethal force when appropriate. >> is that true when someone is getting at the president? >> that is always true. they are law enforcement officers. >> it is always true when some but he is trying to penetrate the white house late they can use lethal force. >> as appropriate within the confines of the law. that.lain the details of if somebody is approaching the white house, has penetrated the security, making a run for the white house, no apparent weapon -- can they take that person down? >> the law requires that law-enforcement officers ensure that they are in imminent danger n imminentare i
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danger before they can leverage lethal force. >> if the person is running at the white house with no apparent weapon, they can or cannot use lethal force. >> those will be independent decisions made by officer based on the totality of circumstances. >> how does the officer know if they have an ample buys -- and provides explosive? should they assume that this person has an intention? >> law enforcement officers are trained in observation skills. i would assess they are constantly looking at people for intentions. >> i think it is confusing. this is part of what they have to deal with. there making split-second decisions. i wanted to be crystal clear. you make a -- at the white house, we are going to take you down. i want overwhelming force. you disagree with me? >> i want officers and agents to exercise appropriate force.
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>> we have to explore this further. the secret service put out a they talked to the associated press. 20, reported on september said the man appeared to be unarmed to officers, who spotted him climbing the fence. a search of the subject turned up no weapons. why would he say there was no weapons? ask mr. donovan that question. >> you haven't done that? was know when mr. gonzales placed into custody, he was found to have a folded knife in his right front pants pocket. >> do you consider that a weapon? >> that is a weapon. >> why would the secret service -- to the associated press
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did you correct the associated press? did you call them back and say got that wrong? >> i have no knowledge of that. >> you just let it linger out there that there was no weapon. that was wrong. that was inaccurate. correct? know there has been a lot of information in this case. that is why we are doing a robust review. i can't speak for conversations that i was not part of. or the press is interest in this. >> did you read the press release before it went out? >> i read the press release before it went out. officers agree that showed tremendous restraint and discipline? i do think, based on the totality of the circumstances, 'arrest, mr. gonzales these officers did use her strained in making a difficult decision in whether to employ
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lethal force, or subdue and arrest him. >> do think they responded appropriate and? the security plan was not appropriate executed. i am conducting a review of what happened, so i have all the facts, and so i can make a decision about what the facts were on the night. >> thank you, i've gone well past my time at. i recognize the gentleman from the district of columbia. >> we recognized horse for. see here? >> thank you. i want to thank director pierson for her 30 years of service at the secret service, for rising through the ranks to become the first woman director. i'm aware of what she has inherited. and after many a compliments.
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director pierson, i want to ask you about the rumors that have been out there about what the secret service may do. when pennsylvania avenue was closed down after oakland the city, -- oklahoma city, there was examples of how public access can remain. i was heartbroken. both sides of the white house were closed down. i worked with the clinton administration on e street. on the backside of the white house. only for its vista, but because it is a major thoroughfare. it affected the entire region. that was summarily closed down. testified, inand front of the white house, though cars can no longer go there, people can go there. park.ially, it was made a a walkway.
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none of my constituents, no one says it should be reopened. because that would mean cars, not people. my concern is whether or not people will continue to have access around the white house. i walked through the white house yesterday. i was pleased to find not only tourists and protesters as usual. , you testified 16 jumpers, and only five years. there has been an increase in fence jumpers. i want to know whether you have simplyred before today, fence beat a higher built. one that for example could
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curve. the curve going outward, so maybe you would damage a body part if you try to get over it. are off the these top of my head, multilayered glass behind the fence that guns orsist blasts from bombs. since there have been 16 in five years, at least i think many more over the years -- have you considered such common sense so that thehat, public would still have access, but the president of the united states and his family would be protected? have you ever recommended that? >> we do want to work in
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partnership to ensure that the people have access in proximity to the white house, and the historic nature, and the natural significance. i do look forward to continuing to work with you and the administration, and the department, to look at what additional security features can --put in place not only to for white house fence jumpers, but for the other challenges that face us in securing public areas. that most ofe, these are harmless. i am worried about multiple fence jumpers, and whether you have the resources and staff heard there were six of them to come across the fence. calculations, you are down more than 250 agents in the uniformed services in the last two, since the sequester
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and the cuts. is that the case? >> yes. ae secret service has had reduction in its staffing as a result of sequestration, and other fiscal constraints. we are close to 550 employees below our optimal level. understand the staff has had to be brought in from other units, who may not have been as familiar with the white house because of the shortage of staff. is that the case? earlier this summer, based upon the work requirement the secret service's face with in the month of september, i made the decision to bring in special agents from around the country to support some of the uniformed division posting assignments in proximity to the white house tours. that has provided some relief for our universe -- uniform
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division. >> i realize my time is gone. i do think that congress has to take some responsibility for the sequester, when across the board, including police agencies like the secret service. thank you. >> recognize the gentleman from south carolina. >> director, i am a fan of law enforcement. i don't take any delight in asking the questions i'm going to ask you. law enforcement are given unique powers, and and with that response ability. i can think of any resort to believe greater than guarding our president and his family. several agents thought there was shots fired, a supervisor concluded it was a vehicle backfiring. even if that were true, even given the very small investment of resources, when i investigate shots fired? representative, i think that
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is where some of the confusion starts to come out of the story is in the washington post. >> i'm not asking you about a washington post or, i'm asking you about why a housekeeper, who doesn't spend 14 weeks in training, who doesn't have 18 weeks of training thereafter, found glass, and your agents did not. they didn't come from the washington post. is that true? did a housekeeper find evidence of the shooting, and your agents did not? >> the housekeeper was able to on thefragments of glass truman balcony, which is not an area that is frequented by security personnel. >> i didn't ask you who was frequented. i asked you -- there was a spontaneous conclusion that shots were fired. there were officers who believed they smelled gunpowder. theirfficers drew weapons.
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that is how seriously they took it. i'm not interested in cursory searches. when did your agency find evidence of the shooting? the 15theve it was on or 14th of november. >> hominy days after the shooting? -- how many days after the shooting?\ >> three to four days later. >> you have officers taking cover because they believe shot were fired. you have officers at the white house drawing their weapons because they believe shots were fired. give me all the evidence to support a vehicle backfiring. sure youentative, i'm are familiar with law enforcement in downtown areas. there is sound attenuation. often times -- >> i have never heard a car backfire 68 times. have you? >> i've heard car backfires -- 6 to 8 times.
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a housekeeper found the evidence of the shooting, and your agency did not. i will give you credit, it was brought up by a colleague. i have colleagues who are obsessed with sequestration. we can't have any hearing without it coming up. but you were not going to sit there and tell us that sequestration is the reason your agency did not find evidence of the shooting, are you? >> no, i am not. >> i will give you credit for that. i was stunned that one of my colleagues would try to conflate sequestration with the fact that a law enforcement agency waited for or five days to find evidence of a shooting in the housekeeper found. give me all the evidence to back the vehicle backfiring narrative. we already know all the other
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evidence. give me all the evidence that major department so sure that it was a vehicle backfire that you didn't even search the white house. the secret service was actively engaged with the united states park police in an effort to determine where and in what direction shots were fired on constitution avenue. >> madame director. you reached the conclusion that it was a vehicle backfiring as opposed to shots fired. haveis the third time i asked. give me all the evidence to support that supervisors conclusion that it was not shots fired, despite all the contemporaneous claims that it was, despite all of the reaction of your agents that it was. give me all the evidence to support the theory that it was a vehicle backfire. and then, tell me why not invest the very minimal resources required to exhaustively search the white house. representative, often times in these cases, there are a
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number of different people that make different statements. what i can tell you is the uniformed division officers on constitution avenue heard on fire and reported gunfire. can't speak to the specificity of the individual you are talking about the reported it -- >> can you speak to why a housekeeper found it and your department did not? >> housekeepers routinely work in the private residence of the president and first family. >> even when there is overwhelming -- was just a suspicion. we want the overwhelming evidence, that would require you to search the present -- the residence. you don't go through every inch of that residence? i want you to imagine a prosecutor in front of a jury. this is where these cases wind up sometimes. you explain to the jury why a housekeeper found evidence of the shooting, and your agency did not.
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>> representative, again, this case has been prosecuted in federal court. those expirations were made in front of a federal prosecutor. evidencethe lord the was sufficient for a jury. and what you make it -- i want you to make it sufficient for commerce. >> it was difficult to see at night. officers heard the shots, officers reacted, picked up security positions, swept the area, looking for any type of injury or intruder. it was not known until days later that the shots and actually struck the upper level, the third floor level of the white house. >> i will end, i'm out of time. why not search every inch of the white house, given the very small investment of resources? i went on your website, i saw you have training for
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psychology, you have training for survival skills, none of which i minimize. all of which i'm sure is important. this is just processing a crime scene. this is not high math. it is processing a crime scene. you actually don't need 18 weeks of training to be able to do that. just need to walk around. so why was it done -- why wasn't it done? >> it was my understanding that a perimeter sweep was done. was it as thorough as it needed to be black evidently not. security.gnize the >> i think all the witnesses here this morning. preventions.out if you look back in july, several months before the incidents, when the promoter was understanding our was stopped by virginia state police.
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they found at least 11 weapons and a map with a line drawn directly to the white house. is that your understanding? >> it was a regional map with a line pointed to the memorial area of the mall, including the white house and the other historic monuments. >> our reports are that the virginia state police and the atf then referred that matter to the secret service, because presumably because of that line. >> that is correct. >> secret service had an interview with mr. gonzales at that time. is that correct? >> yes. the case was later referred to the secret service for an interview of mr. gonzales. >> how thorough without interview have been, according to protocols? how deeply they have gone into their examination of mr. gonzales? >> they had a very thorough initial interview with mr. gonzales. they initiated contact with his family members, his mental
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health history, and the police reports. >> they determined he had a mental health history? >> key technology had a mental health history as a veteran suffering from ptsd. >> do protocols allow you to obtain his records? >> if the individual consents to the release of their medical records, we do pursue that. in this case, mr. gonzales consented the release of his military medical records. >> you had all of his medical records to review. i assume you did review them? >> they were obtained over a. of time, and they have been reviewed. >> despite all that, what happened? you didn't take any action, he didn't have him arrested. >> representative, it is a very difficult thing for people dealing with disabilities on and people dealing with mental illness, when they don't exhibit any unusual direction of
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interest. mr. gonzales, at the time, denied any interest or any intent to harm anyone. he indicated that his information relative to the map at his car was given to him by another individual. who had recommended places in washington dc to sightsee. bash onded to go to camping trips. he wanted to go to the valley forge, pennsylvania area. >> was the individual ever questioned? >> not to my knowledge. >> how does that conform with protocol? >> i know investigators are as thorough as they can possibly be an investigation like this to make sure that we have a good understanding. >> the individual wasn't available? >> i do not know the specifics. >> that would be an indication if they were as thorough as they should have been. not withstanding that, there was a second incident before the
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perimeter was breached by mr. gonzales, where he was found walking in front of the white house with a hatchet in his belt. is that correct? >> mr. gonzales was observed on august 25, on the south fence line. >> he was interviewed again by secret service agents? >> he was interviewed by uniformed officers of the secret service and special agents of the secret service. >> his name was run against the database? >> yes. >> the database indicated the earlier incident? >> yes. the database provided information of the original contact with mr. gonzales. >> at that time, they knew he had been arrested in virginia, had a map pointing towards the area of the white house, ammunition in his car, watching -- walking with a hatchet, we knew had mental health problems. what happened then? >> officers and agents made
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contact with mr. gonzales. asked him about the hatchet he was carrying. he indicated he had been camping in the area of lake prince william county around quantico. the agents and officers had asked him for consent search of his vehicle. he agreed. he was going to return the hatchet to the vehicle. they went back, they look through the vehicle. mr. gonzales was extreme the cooperative. this build in a concerns of the officers had. he had camping gear and camping equipment in his car. he appeared to be living out of his car. so they just let him go. >> mr. gonzales had not violated any laws. he had to be released. >> did they have any follow-up? did anyone talk to any other agencies in the washington area about observing this individual? making sure somebody knew what his behavior was after that second incident? >> the second incident was also passed into our analysis desktop , so it could be analyzed.
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>> what happened at the end of that evaluation? >>. not committed any violations, nothing -- he was under mental health evaluations by the military v.a.. no further action could be taken by the secret service other than to continue to monitor his behavior through his family. >> is that the only way they could monitor it through his family? there was no other agency that could monitor his activity? >> he was on bond pending charges to the state police. the incident that brought them to our attention -- there was criminal contact on the state level, and he was returning to that area. the case was still under evaluation as to what mr. gonzales's mental history was, and whether or not he was going to come to our attention again. >> it was your understanding that you thought it was particularly appropriate that the service did nothing else and regards to making sure this
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individual was monitored in his behavior. it is very difficult for the secret service, when these individuals come to our attention. day,ny as 300 year, or a or being evaluated by our office of protective intelligence. have been in history twice picked up with weapons heading to the white house? >> many of them are brought to our attention by making a direct threat. many of them are mentally ill. they have a long mental health passed. some are more cooperative than others. in the specific case of mr. gonzales, he was being very cooperative. his family had been contacted by investigators. the family members indicated that he was cooperative, that he did not have a violent past. his mental health records, to my flectstanding, did not re
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that any of his mental health contexts body was a danger to himself or others. >> thinks the gentle man. -- thank the gentleman. it is my understanding that people and told us there were three different officers that theseen him, recognized him day that the incident happened. the but did not report it. is that true? >> it is my understanding, based on how i have been breached, that two of the officers recognize mr. gonzales. in the area of the white house, on september 19, and observed him for some time. they remembered him from the contact they had had with him on august 5. when he was on the south fence line. they observed him for some time, he wasn't acting inappropriately, he didn't violate any laws. >> they did not report that, and they did not approach him, correct?
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>> they noted that, but did not approach him. >> they did not approach -- remote -- report him? >> not to my knowledge. >> i think there are several concerns, i think one of the things i agree wholeheartedly about,e ranking member this is something that we are talking about the white house. it is a world icon. you think of america, you think of the white house. one of the concerns i have come and we have been mentioning many of the issues here recently, different events -- the issue is not the protocols that have been put in place now. it's the issues of why are there so many instances on a foundational level. ay the doesn't seem to be willingness to report. why there doesn't seem to be a willingness to exercise -- a willingness to say this is something i have noticed.
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the officer said she didn't feel she could report it. if there are issues where the and otheroverseas places, there seems to be a foundational issue we have to address. not only from your perspective, but from here. you made a statement of moment 300 you said we get suspicious people a year, and 300 a day in the same sentence. which is it? >> talking to protective intelligence, as of yesterday, they were directly overseeing 300 and 27 investigations. to 27.otality, three 327.three hitter 27 -- it is very visual. there is are the been a new police line perimeter put in place. is that correct?
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temporary rack to provide us a standout area while this investigation is underway. >> i thank you for the long answer to guess. i have several things i want to ask. you have made several comments that we are doing an investigation, we are saying why these protocols were breached. you also said we don't want to rush, we don't want to change things. we have already started with putting a perimeter fence, or at least a barrier back from the fence currently. i'm wondering here if the problem doesn't seem to be the fence area the problem seems to be the fact that someone jumped the fence, ran 70 yards, got into the white house with nobody's stopping them. you made a comment, my father is in law enforcement. this is hard for me to look at this. you made an analogy that i'm not sure is accurate. you talked about discretion and
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restraint. police officers do this all the time it. they do this on the side of the road when they have made a stop. you are talking about officers who are protecting a national icon. when they jumped the fence, there should be an immediate understanding that this person should not be here. there should be an immediate understanding that there is not a restraint factor here. this is not the nice, cuddly secret service. someone -- i'm having trouble how you correlate restraint and discretion in a traffic situation, which is way they came across. to someone actually going after the president's home. statedesentative, i have that they did not properly execute the security protocols that were appropriate to respond -- >> you believe that was because of the information and guidance they have gotten from the top of that they were not sure what to do. told to exercise
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restraint in these measures? have they been told exercise protection? >> those officers have the authority to take legal law enforcement action as individuals. i'm conducting an investigation to find out the decisions that were made, what are the facts in the totality of the circumstances those officers saw. >> i want to give ms. pierson a break. this issue of putting the fence line in front, or at least a police barrier, and looking at this area -- we are trying to make ourselves appear better as we are working on it. say, this that is to president and his family deserve to be protected. it is concerning to me they were not told about the shooting until many days later. that is just mind-boggling to me. especially when their daughter was actually in the residence that night. >> i do have a question. explain to me, is putting the
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fence you are the only fix? help me outcome is there a better way to go about this? my perspective, protecting u.s. embassies around the world, it is a concentric ring of security. layers of security. the fence typically is one of the last things. typically, fences are meant to keep good people out. bad people find ways over fences. you can't simply rely on the fence as a last resort. >> i think the issue that has come as we go forward here is the protection, of this world icon. in the threat environment we are in, it's very concerning. we get half-truths to start with, more truth is leaking out. wants toa group that say what is the issue, why are we not doing it the proper way? putting of a visual, we are doing something, that is not right. the foundation has to be wrote
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-- has to be laid. that is the bigger issue, along with protocols not being followed. i yield. >> i just want to make sure one thing was clear. director, the failure to apprehend mr. gonzales before he got well into the white house -- the change of further setback or fence, since you successfully stopped the 16 jumpers in the , was there any reason you couldn't have stopped to 17? you are taking the american people's space with this additional fence and the proposal for a setback that would include pennsylvania and lafayette being restricted. and yet you have made no case here today that you couldn't have had 17 out of 17 apprehensions, if not for outright human error and procedural failures for it. is that true? >> the placement of the buy
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crack to provide a buffer zone is to allow us time to do this analysis to make sure that personnel and procedures are going to be effective with the time constraints that individuals have to make an effective tactical response to runners or fence jumpers. >> i get it. you are not up to snuff to the level you would like to be. until you are sure you are, you want to have that exit timing. i sort of get that. that is a little concerning. >> thank you. i think the witnesses. es.i think the witness >> i want to go over the prior contacts between mr. gonzales and the secret service. noted, there was a prior contact with mr. gonzales back in july of 2014. he had been pulled over. he had a small arsenal of weapons in the car. want to explore when does the
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red flag come up for the secret service. informedt service was that he had 11 weapons in the car. i want to go over that i have the evidence list from the state police that was provided to the secret service. mr. gonzales had a mossberg maverick 12 bird -- 12 gauge pump shotgun in the car. he had a winchester with the scope. he had another gun with the scope here in. he had a 12 gauge shotgun. he had an ar-15, a pretty sophisticated weapon. with a flashlight and scope. boltd a weatherby vanguard action rifle with a scope.
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he had a smith & wesson 380 caliber automatic black handgun. he had a glock 45 in the car with an empty magazine, although later, we found he had 800 rounds of ammunition. revolver asnum 357 well. caliber, andr 45 he also had a map. this is the evidence list. you seem to be minimizing all this stuff. of washington dc with writing and align it drawn to the white house. have with oure introduction to mr. gonzales here in. that, we know he has a history of mental illness. he shows up at the white house in august of 2014. he has a hatchet in his belt.
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no red flags, we let him go. then there is the day he jumps the fence and runs into the white house. i want to talk about that. you say he came into the front gate. he went through the front door of the portico. and was wrestled to the ground, to the carpet, wrestled down to the road new the green room. -- rug near the green room. the distance from the front of the white house to the green room is about 80 feet. the width of this room right here is 60 feet. [inaudible] yards, 30 yards inside the house. i have been there many times.
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about somebody singsgressing -- transver the white house for your bash to the -- foyer, american public, that would be half of one white house tour. that isn't just getting inside, that's half of the white house tour to the american public. you keep minimizing this. i'm just wondering when to the red flags go up. you have a lot of wonderful people over there. but this is not their best work. here.e a serious issue about protecting the president and his family. this is disgraceful.
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this is absolutely disgraceful. mentioneven going to the fact that it took us four days to figure out that somebody had shot seven rounds into the white house. this is beyond the pale. i have listened to your testimony very deliberately. that you protected the white house like you are protecting your reputation here today. i wish you spent that time in that effort to protect the american president and his family, like i am hearing people covering for the lapses of the secret service on the several occasions. i really do. what are we going to do -- look. this whole thing is -- the hased states secret service one mentally challenged man.
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one man with mental illness, that you knew had mental illness. the secret service against one individual with mental illness. you had three chances, and he got it the green room. what happens when you have a sophisticated organization with nefarious intent and resources going up against the secret service? what happens then? time isentleman's expired. if the gentlelady has any answers to his questions, i would appreciate hearing them. >> let me be clear. united states secret service does not take any of these incidents ly


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