The Secret Service has a fresh black eye.
A new report released by the Department of Homeland Security inspector general's office said an alarm at former President George H.W. Bush's the Houston residence was broken for more than a year.
According to the report, the security system malfunctioned in September 2013, and a new permanent system wasn't installed until November or December 2014. A member of Bush's protective division was temporarily assigned to a "roving post" after the malfunction, while other agents monitored the property through surveillance cameras, but it wasn't clear how long it was between the alarm malfunction and when the "roving post" was set up.
At least one agency expert flagged the system as early as 2010, noting that it was old and likely to fail. However, the expert's requests for a replacement system were denied by Secret Service officials, according to the inspector general's report.
No security breaches occurred during the time the system did not work. The report says officials have also warned of the aging security system at H.W. Bush's summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine.
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill quickly pounced on the agency's latest shortcoming. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) told the Washington Post, "To not replace a failing system for more than a year is wholly and totally unacceptable.
Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings, the ranking member on Chaffetz's committee, said in a joint statement with the chairman that the latest issue "adds to the growing list of significant concerns Congress has had with the management of the Secret Service.”
Word of the alarm system failure came the same week that the White House experienced yet another fence-jumper, the latest in a string of similar incidents, including a man who made it deep inside the mansion in September 2014 and led in part to former agency director Julia Pierson's resignation.
Another incident occurred when a man who fired shots toward the executive mansion nearly got away after one on-duty officer ordered other agents to "stand down." It was later reported the officer who uttered the command thought the noise came from a nearby construction site.
In Delaware, a driver sped past Vice President Joe Biden's home firing bullets. The Secret Service came under additional criticism for that incident because surveillance cameras did not offer any clues as to the identity of the gunman. The vice president was not home at the time.
The agency's reputation was also tarnished when a dozen agents were relieved of duty in 2012 after it was discovered they were a part of a prostitution sting in Cartagena, Colombia. The agents were there to make preparations ahead of President Barack Obama's arrival at the Summit of the Americas.
(H/T: Washington Post)
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