According to a Congressional report released today, getting past the Secret Service is as easier than getting backstage at a Nickelback concert—at least they make you buy a ticket first.

Because the Secret Service is doing something all day, but it’s not clear what: According to the new 408-page report, it’s a wonder our elected leaders are all still breathing.

There are, of course, the fuck-ups we already know about: A man armed with a knife was able to run freely through the White House. A man with a gun was allowed to get on an elevator with President Obama. Another man was able to jump over the White House fence, thanks in part to the vulnerable White House fence the Secret Service kept meaning to fix. There was the time agents waited 13 months to fix George H.W. Bush’s alarm system, opting instead to rely on “roving patrols and cameras” as a stop-gap measure. The two different agents who got caught sleeping on the job. The two drunk agents who drove their car into a White House barrier, disrupting active bomb investigation. The time the Service leaked private information to embarrass the House Oversight Committee chair.

Plus: The agent arrested for breaking into his ex-girlfriend’s apartment. The manager suspended for sexual harassment. The agent who leaked Obama’s schedule to the Romney campaign. The agent arrested for trying to send sexual text messages to a teenage girl from the White House.

And it turns out there are more frankly terrifying security lapses of which the public was never informed:

  • A man “posing as Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-N.J.)” slipped past security at a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s awards dinner last year, where he was escorted to a meet-and-greet with President Obama.
  • A woman got backstage at last year’s Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, where Obama was in attendance.
  • An employee was allowed to enter a Los Angeles hotel Obama was staying at “without being properly screened for weapons or having his bag checked.”
  • Last spring, a “Czech citizen with an expired visa entered the property of former president George H.W. Bush and stayed for an hour without being detected.”
  • And my personal favorite: Four strangers went fishing in Joe Biden’s backyard and no one noticed until a neighbor called the police.

As the report notes, “the alarm system at Biden’s home had been failing for some time.” They’ll get around to it one of these days, maybe.

[The Washington Post]

Image via AP. Contact the author at