Thursday, October 02, 2014

Re: The (not so) Secret Service

When Team Gefilte was invited to the White House to perform, we waited over an hour before the entire cast and crew got through security at the Old Executive Building. There was a terrible fuss about how our papers were not in order.   Some people had  not given all the info needed, and there was a rumor that someone was a convicted felon. Having worked at the White House for too many years, I was the person that collected all the data and submitted the information. I promise you that everything was as it should have been.

So what's the matter with this picture? It makes no sense that a troupe of performers had to wait outside the gates for over an hour surrounded by uniformed and non-uniformed Secret Service, while some nut job leaps the fence and gets all the way to the East Room, which is not right next to the entrance. Was it a perfect storm or was it just overall incompetence. What do you think the repercussions will be?  Best Burnett guess is that they will put up more concrete barriers (how did those get the name “Jersey Barriers?”)  and close Pennsylvania Ave. to foot and bike traffic. It's already closed to cars. 

Here's the irony:   if everyone had done their jobs the guy would not have made it passed the first armed guard.  If they asked us, We're just sayin’...  for our opinion. We would tell them to fire every single person who allowed this lunatic to pass them.  How lazy have the White House protective detail become? These are the people who protect the leader of this great nation. These are the people who are supposed to be willing to take a bullet for the President.  I just don't think that's going to happen.

So Julia resigned or was fired. In Washington, and especially in this White House, no one gets fired. If you are a civil servant you are protected by the system. You can get moved around (re-assigned to Elmendorf AFB in Alaska?) but fired -- maybe if you show up naked at work wearing a Halloween mask. And if you are a political appointee, like the Director of the Secret Service, you are asked to resign instead of getting fired. Personally, I think getting fired builds character. Well, maybe not if you are an older person. The character should have gotten built early in life. This probably would have helped a whole lotta people from taking jobs they simply couldn't do. Thing is, the Secret Service is now part of Homeland Security, a bureaucracy so large it is impossible to work as it should. Thank you George for another incredibly stupid policy decision. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.

This latest fiasco was just more of the same. No one takes responsibility. No one in this White House just says, “I screwed up.”   And no one told the press secretary that avoiding answering press questions by saying nothing is incredibly ridiculous.  At 9am she still “had the full confidence of the President,” and at 1pm, she was out the door.  A few years ago we were in the penthouse of the Washington Hotel, on 15th St.,  overlooking the park in front of the White House. When I looked out the window and saw that anyone who wanted to do some damage with a short range missile, had a direct shot from that room. The plain-clothes felon with a gun who got on the CDC  elevator, was thrilled to be in the presence of the President.  He even took selfies.   And the harmless  actors who waited an hour to clear security stood outside because security at the gate had nothing else to do.  Welcome to the new normal... Whatever that means.  We’re just sayin’…. Iris

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