In the wake of numerous security breaches and personnel improprities at the US Secret Service, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General (IG) Management Advisory disclosed in a just released audit problems with “identifying, reporting and tracking alarm system malfunctions, and with repairing and replacing alarm systems at protectees’ homes.
The IG said it was highlighting “these vulnerabilities … because they may be affecting … protectees’ residences.”
The IG’s advisory to Secret Service Director Joseph P. Clancy recommended improvements to the Secret Service’s management of security equipment at former Presidents’ residences.
The advisory results stemmed from a review by an IG initiated audit “after receiving a complaint alleging that alarms at former President George H.W. Bush’s Houston residence were inoperable.”
The IG “confirmed that the alarm was indeed broken for at least 13 months.”
During this 13 month period, the IG found, “the Secret Service protective detail created a roving post to secure the home, and no security breach occurred.” The IG’s review, however, “revealed problems with identifying, reporting and tracking alarm system malfunctions, and with repairing and replacing alarm systems.”
As IG John Roth emphasized, it brought “these vulnerabilities to the director’s attention because they may be affecting other protectees’ residences.
Roth noted that “the Secret Service will take action to address both recommendations in our report, aimed at correcting the overall process for tracking maintenance problems and also improving any specific security equipment that is currently in disrepair or in need of improvement. With these fixes in place, we believe the Secret Service will more effectively meet its mission to protect the lives and homes of our former Presidents” – and all persons with Secret Service protection.
The IG said “this is the first in a series of IG reports that will address the Secret Service’s response to several security breaches, including:
- A 2011 incident when shots were fired at the White House;
- A 2014 incident when an armed guard came in close proximity to the President at a CDC event;
- The 2014 White House fence-jumping incident; and
- A 2015 incident when an individual possibly known to the Secret Service landed a gyrocopter on the grounds of the US Capitol.
“Additionally,” the IG stated, “we are investigating alleged misconduct within the Secret Service. Our investigations of these matters are ongoing and we therefore cannot disclose the details. At the conclusion of our investigations, we will issue public reports regarding our investigations of the following matters:”
- An allegation that two Secret Service supervisors in a government towned vehicle drove through an active suspicious package investigation on March 4, 2015, in an attempt to enter the White House grounds upon their return from a retirement party;
- An allegation that, in March 2015, one or more Secret Service agents accessed, through the Secret Service data systems, the employment application of an individual who later became a member of Congress; and
- An allegation that, in March 2015, a senior manager, after a farewell party involving drinking, sexually assaulted a female subordinate.