If the recent penetration of the White House grounds and the theft of a laptop computer with sensitive security and investigative information are an accurate indication of the present security awareness and readiness of the US Secret Service, then once again a major reevaluation of the organization is needed.
First, the protective mission of the Secret Service needs to be restated with renewed emphasis. “Gunshot mentality” must be culturally replaced with “Secure environment mentality.” It was supposed to happen after the Warren Commission report, but complacency dies hard.
Second, the present Secret Service Director must be replaced with someone from outside the Secret Service. In addition to all of the administrative and management knowledge, skills, and abilities taxpayers would expect in a 21st century chief executive law enforcement officer, the new Director must also have a very strong and extensive experiential background in counterintelligence. The new Director should come with extensive experience from a counterintelligence component inside the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Defense Department (DoD), or Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). OpenCdA’s preference would be to select a new Director from the DoD.
The two recent incidents linked above and others that preceded them are clear indicators that some of the more sensitive findings of the September 24, 1964, President’s Commission to Report Upon the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy (Warren Commission) were not fully culturally embraced by the US Secret Service. The various Congressional committees examining the recent performance of the US Secret Service needs to look back at all those findings including those still under the seal of secrecy. (more…)