More Trouble for Secret Service After Broken Alarm at George H.W. Bush’s Home Takes 13 Months to Fix

Former President George H.W. Bush watches a baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Houston Astros, Sunday, April 19, 2015, in Houston. (Eric Christian Smith/AP)
Former President George H.W. Bush watches a baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Houston Astros, Sunday, April 19, 2015, in Houston. (Eric Christian Smith/AP)

As if the US Secret Service needed any more controversy, it turns out that the protection it’s supposed to provide former presidents isn’t necessarily ironclad.

Specifically, the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general finds that the alarm system at former President George H.W. Bush’s home in Houston was broken for at least 13 months before the Secret Service fixed it. During that time, extra cameras were installed, an additional agent patrolled the property, and there were no intruders or other breaches of security, officials report.

But Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R) of Utah, chairman of the House’s oversight committee, and Elijah Cummings (D) of Maryland, the committee’s ranking Democrat, say it was “startling and unacceptable” for the Bush residence to be without an alarm for so long. “This adds to the growing list of significant concerns Congress has had with the management of the Secret Service,” the two lawmakers said in a statement.

Congress has been investigating the Secret Service over a series of security breaches and scandals, including several fence-jumping incidents. In one of those, a man with a knife scaled the White House fence and made it all the way to the East Room. Then-Director Julia Pierson resigned in the wake of a government investigation that found that lack of training, poor decisionmaking, and communication problems were contributing factors.

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SOURCE: Brad Knickerbocker
Christian Science Monitor

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