ALERT: Secret Service experts worry about Obama’s safety; now fearing a repeat of JFK
Dan Emmett, a former Secret Service agent with first-person experience in the presidential security details of former Presidents George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, told WND the “office of the presidency for the last couple of years has not been as secure as it has been in years past.”
“This goes back to a complete failure in leadership from the director’s seat all the way down to middle management,” said Emmett, the author of the 2012 book “Within Arm’s Length: The Extraordinary Life and Career of a Special Agent in the Secret Service.”
“It’s not out of question that a Secret Service agent, or even two or three, might get drunk and act stupid on a trip, but it was beyond imagination during my career that a supervisor would get drunk and act stupid on a trip,” he said.
Vincent Michael Palamara, who claims to have interviewed more Secret Service former agents than any other researcher, said he has confidence in the new acting Secret Service director, Joe Clancy, but “unless Clancy can clean up the Secret Service fast, President Obama is going to continue to be at risk.”
Palamara, a leading expert on the Secret Service lapses surrounding the JFK assassination, has devoted a page of his blog to tracking the Secret Service under President Obama, with a recent focus on Clancy’s background and experience in the Secret Service.
Emmett noted that some of the Secret Service agents involved in the Cartagena, Colombia, prostitute scandal and other incidents were supervisors at the GS-14 level or even higher.
“I’ve been very critical of the Secret Service with impropriety after impropriety over the last couple of years, and I have no dog in the fight,” he said. “I’m just calling them as I see them. When the leadership is not good, the troops do not perform up to standard.”
Emmett also expressed hope the Secret Service was “on the road to recovery” with the appointment of Clancy.
“There can not be a worse tragedy for the nation than losing a president,” he stressed. “We must make sure that never happens again.”
Secret Service leadership failures
Clancy replaced Julia Pierson after she resigned in the wake of a disastrous appearance before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Sept. 30 in which she was grilled for more than three hours over two security breaches.
The first breach was an incident that occurred at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters in Atlanta on Sept. 16 when Secret Service agents allowed a security guard armed with a gun and three prior assault convictions to ride an elevator in close proximity to President Obama.
It was followed by a second incident three days later in which Omar Gonzalez, a knife-wielding Iraq War veteran, jumped the White House fence and entered the East Room before he was tackled by an off-duty security agent.
Palamara, author of the 2013 book “Survivor’s Guilt: The Secret Service and the Failure to Protect President Kennedy,” told WND that Clancy has a short time to reestablish discipline in the Secret Service detail assigned to protect the president.
“Clancy was appointed to clean house,” Palamara said. “You read between the lines and now, I believe, you are going to see a culture that that is ship-shape now.
“What’s been going on with the Secret Service is disgraceful, with these drinking forays, the partying with prostitutes, and the fence jumpers who get into the White House. This is gross negligence, tremendous incompetence, and it worries me.”
Mark Sullivan, the director of the Secret Service who preceded Pierson, was forced to resign Feb. 22 after six Secret Service agents were forced to resign over reports they partied with prostitutes in Cartagena in advance of a presidential visit.
Avoiding repeat of history
Palamara told WND he is concerned that patterns of Secret Service misconduct he has documented in JFK’s Secret Service detail prior to the assassination are being repeated in Obama’s presidential detail.
“I’m seeing even among the Secret Service a dislike, if not a hatred for President Obama,” he said.
Palamara said there are members of the Secret Service who don’t like President Obama, just as some didn’t like President Kennedy.
“Many in the Secret Service in the JFK era did not like President Kennedy’s womanizing or his position on civil rights, or maybe his policies toward Cuba,” he said. “But here, with President Obama, the Secret Service is supposed to be apolitical, but the agents are human beings. I’m not saying Secret Service agents actually cross the line to commit a federal offense by wishing President Obama ill. But many don’t like Obamacare or Obama’s policy on illegal immigration.”
Palamara pointed out the Secret Service can put the safety of the president at risk by not taking actions they should be taking.
“Secret Service agents can let things happen when they start not liking or caring about the president,” he explained. “It’s inactions as well as actions that can put the president at risk.”
He compared the Secret Service under Obama to the Secret Service under President George W. Bush.
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