UPDATE: 3:40 PM EST
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has announced that U.S. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson has resigned.
This story is developing…
Somebody in the White House is about to get fired.
On Tuesday, the Washington Post revealed that a security contractor with a gun and three convictions for assault and battery was allowed on an elevator with President Obama on Sept. 16, signaling a clear violation of Secret Service protocol.
The President was in Atlanta to visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention when the incident occurred. News of the slip-up comes just days after the nation learned that the individual who jumped the White House fence earlier this month overpowered an agent and made it to the main floor of the presidential mansion.
The President was not told about the elevator security lapse, according to three people familiar with the incident.
From the Washington Post:
The Secret Service director, Julia Pierson, asked a top agency manager to look into the matter but did not refer it to an investigative unit that was created to review violations of protocol and standards, according to two people familiar with the handling of the case who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The private contractor first aroused the agents’ concerns when he acted oddly and did not comply with their orders to stop using a cellphone camera to record the president in the elevator, according to the people familiar with the incident.
When the elevator opened, Obama left with most of his Secret Service detail. Some agents stayed behind to question the man and then used a national database check that turned up his criminal history.
It wasn’t until the contractor agreed to turn over his gun after being fired by the supervisor from the firm providing security at the CDC that Secret Service agents realized he was armed.
Extensive screening is supposed to keep people with weapons or criminal histories out of arm’s reach of the president. But it appears that this man, possessing a gun, came within inches of the president after undergoing no such screening.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who heads a House subcommittee that oversees the Secret Service, first heard of the breakdown from a whistleblower. The Washington Post confirmed details of the event with other people familiar with the agency’s review.
“You have a convicted felon within arm’s reach of the president, and they never did a background check,” Chaffetz said. “Words aren’t strong enough for the outrage I feel for the safety of the president and his family. “
Chaffetz added: “His life was in danger. This country would be a different world today if he had pulled out his gun.”
The incident marks the third security lapse made public in recent days. In addition to the fence jumper (who also had 800 rounds of ammunition and a machete in his vehicle), a 2011 shooting attack that left windows smashed and bullets riddled on the roof of the mansion was revealed last week. A supervisor responded to the shooting by telling agents to stand down, “no shots have been fired.” He chalked the shots up to construction noise outside.
A Secret Service official said an investigation is ongoing in the elevator incident. It is unclear when and if the President was informed of the security lapse before the news was made public Tuesday.
We’ll keep you updated with the latest.
SOURCE: Washington Post | VIDEO SOURCE: News Inc. | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty