A new report from a panel of experts has stated that the White House is suffering from a considerable lack of security to meet the needs of the facility.
Some of the faults found at the White House include having too few agents and the agents they have with too little training, while the fence around the White House is said to need to be at least four or five metres higher than it currently is.
The report was commissioned to look into the level of security at the White House after a person jumped the fence and entered the White House while avoiding detection by secret service agents and making it deep into the Presidential mansion.
The results of the report and the recommendations have been published on the Department of Homeland Security’s web site.
One of the main issues had to be the height of the perimeter fence which is currently only 7.5 feet tall and needs to be made much taller to stop intruders from gaining access.
According to the report: “Even an increase of four or five feet would be materially helpful.
But it is the number of secret service agents within the White House that is also a problem that needs resolving quickly.
According to Yahoo, the report declares that Secret Service personnel who protect the White House “work an unsustainable number of hours.” Rather than remedy the problem by better use of agents or better management of those serving, “the Service simply adds more overtime for existing personnel.”
The report says that the Uniformed Division needs to add at least 200 officers, while at least 85 new special agents are needed. “The Panel believes this is a first step, but likely not the last step, to ensure adequate training and personnel for the White House,” it says.
The level of the staff within the White House has also been questioned with the report stating that Secret Service training “has diminished far below acceptable levels,”
According to Yahoo, the Uniformed Division as a whole did 576 hours of training over the same period, the report says, noting that this amounts to “about 25 minutes for each of over 1300 Uniformed Division officers.”
Training should put agents in “conditions that replicate the physical environment in which they will operate” so that they are “intimately familiar with the space” in which they will work —implicitly suggesting that current training does not do so.
Finally the report also recommends that a new director of the Secret Service should come from outside the agency itself
According to Yahoo, former director Julia Pierson’s resignation Oct. 1 left a void filled by an acting director, Joseph Clancy. The report noted that many insiders believe only someone who has served inside the agency can lead it.
“The Panel appreciates the virtue of experience in the Service, but we believe that at this time in the agency’s history, the need for Service experience is outweighed by what the Service needs today: dynamic leadership that can move the Service forward into a new era and drive change in the organization.
“Only a director from outside the Service, removed from organizational traditions and personal relationships, will be able to do the honest top-to-bottom reassessment this will require,” it says.