TIME Joe Klein road trip

The Soul of an Old iPod

On the road with blues singer Taj Mahal

Memphis, Tenn

I was driving along from Alabama to Mississippi the other day, with my iPod on shuffle, when these three duets came in succession:

Rodney Crowell and Kris Kristofferson–My Father’s Advice

Carl Perkins and Van Morrison--Sitting on Top of the World (Van’s intensity automatically takes over any duet he attempts)

Emmylou Harris and Beck–Sin City (from the Gram Parsons tribute album Emmylou helped to organize)

Now, I know there are those among you–rational people, mostly–who will dismiss this as coincidence. But three duets in a row? Is it possible that there’s a secret presiding intelligence here, an Apple core, a Steve Jobs frippery that can discern threads of music, or rhythm, or–this gets really weird–lyrics to produce tantalizing segues? It doesn’t always happen, but it does often enough. I mean, what are the odds that in the 3422 songs I’ve loaded on, I’ll get The Rolling Stones’ cover of Love in Vain followed by Robert Johnson’s original. Yesterday, I shuffled from Sufjan Stevens’ anarchically flutey cover of The Beatles What Goes On? to Nelson Riddle’s puckishly flutey arrangement of Witchcraft for Frank Sinatra. Very subtle, that.

This, I realize, can get pretty existential pretty quickly. Do I, as a human, somehow need a ghost within the machine to order the universe for me. Over time, I’ve developed a relationship with the thing, laughing and marveling at its choices, bemoaning my fate when it sinks into a slough of despond and offers a series of the worst songs ever recorded by my favorite artists. (I know I should cull those songs, but can you mess with the received Word?) Sometimes it will forsake me, amble into randomness, Vampire Weekend followed by Sarah Vaughn. On Friday, it started playing songs from Rodney Crowell’s great album, Sex and Gasoline, sensing, no doubt, that I was having dinner with Rodney in Nashville that night. Yesterday, it was in a funk (and not a funky funk, which would have been fine) as we entered Memphis and I prayed for some blues to welcome me into town. But no, the shuffler was in a quiet mood, playing quiet and tame stuff…until we reached Beale Street, when–a miracle!–Lonny Brooks started singing about tumbling dice.

Today, the music turns live: the great Delta blues historian, singer and player Taj Mahal has joined the road trip for a couple of days. We’re headed to down the Delta to Greenville, Ms, for a town meeting with Congressman Bennie Thompson’s supporters. But first, Taj insisted, we have to stop at Lansky’s–“Clothier to the King”–to buy some shirts.

TIME Campaign Finance

Ginsburg Says Citizens United Was Supreme Court’s Worst Ruling

"I think the notion that we have all the democracy that money can buy strays so far from what our democracy is supposed to be"

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says in a new interview that the Citizens United ruling paving the way for more unfettered campaign spending by corporations was the current court’s worst decision ever.

Ginsburg told The New Republic that she would overturn the 2010 ruling if she could.

I think the notion that we have all the democracy that money can buy strays so far from what our democracy is supposed to be,” she said. “I think members of the legislature, people who have to run for office, know the connection between money and influence on what laws get passed.”

She also expressed concern that modern feminists take their rights for granted.

“The women of my generation and my daughter’s generation, they were very active in moving along the social change that would result in equal citizenship stature for men and women,” Ginsburg said. “One thing that concerns me is that today’s young women don’t seem to care that we have a fundamental instrument of government that makes no express statement about the equal citizenship stature of men and women. They know there are no closed doors anymore, and they may take for granted the rights that they have.

Read the full interview at The New Republic

TIME Morning Must Reads

Morning Must Reads: September 29

Capitol
The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

Hong Kong Braces for Clashes

Demonstrations have grown at a speed that seems to have surprised protesters and police alike, with crowds continuing to mass around key areas of the city. The ground situation remains fluid, but here are five takeaways from Hong Kong’s season of unrest

Obama: ISIS Surprised Us

President Barack Obama said in a new interview that the U.S. underestimated the threat that Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria posed in the region

Assange Hologram Speaks Out

The face of WikiLeaks spoke about Google, martyrs and political asylum as he was beamed in from the Ecuadorian embassy in London

Wake Up! Today Is National Coffee Day

Fake marketing holiday or not, Monday is being celebrated as National Coffee Day, and that means free (or nearly so) coffee can be had at several donut, fast food and coffee specialists around the U.S. Here’s where to score an extra jolt of caffeine on the cheap

New Afghan President Sworn In After Disputed Vote

Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai was sworn in Monday as Afghanistan’s new President, replacing Hamid Karzai in the country’s first democratic transfer of power since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion that toppled the Taliban

Jeter Leaves Baseball With 9-5 Win Over Red Sox

Three days after an emotional farewell in New York City, pinstripe-wearing fans filled Boston’s Fenway Park for Jeter’s finale, chanting for him and the visiting Yankees and standing for each of his at-bats. The final hit raised Jeter’s lifetime batting average to .310

California Adopts ‘Yes Means Yes’ Sex-Assault Rule

Gov. Jerry Brown announced Sunday that he signed a bill that makes California the first in the nation to define when “yes means yes” and adopt requirements for colleges to follow when investigating reports of sexual assault

The Simpsons Kills Off Character in Season Premiere

“The most respected man” in the community, voiced by comedian Jackie Mason, was killed off the show’s first episode of its 26th season. But this wasn’t a surprise, as a producer said last year that a character would meet his maker in the premiere

Tobacco Companies Step Up E-Cigarette Warnings

When it comes to e-cigarettes, large tobacco companies are suddenly stepping up warnings about their own products, in some cases using more than 100 words to warn smokers of nicotine’s ill effects. Experts say the move is merely corporate image enhancement

India’s Modi Comes Full Circle at Madison Square Garden

Tens of thousands of Indian-Americans turned out to welcome the visiting leader, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at Madison Square Garden in New York City. His entrance after a series of musical and dance warm-up acts sent the audience into a frenzy

How Secret Service Bungled White House Shooting in 2011

A new report shows that the Secret Service bungled its response to a shooting outside the White House in 2011, taking four days to realize that shots had actually hit the building. An Idaho man fired at least seven bullets into the house’s upstairs residence

Ukrainian Protesters Topple Massive Lenin Statue

Ukrainian protesters in Kharkiv, a city in the nation’s restive east, toppled a prominent statue of Soviet icon Vladimir Lenin late on Sunday. Police did not intervene as thousands celebrated the statue’s fall and raced to the wreckage to collect makeshift souvenirs

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TIME Military

The War Against ISIS: Operation Fingers Crossed

Airstrikes in Syria
A KC-135 Stratotanker begins a mission refueling U.S. warplanes attacking Syria. Senior Airman Matthew Bruch / U.S. Central Command

History offers a checkered record on its chances of success

For more than a week, U.S. and allied warplanes have bombed targets inside Syria every day. While that may seem an awful lot like war to those being pounded, it hardly feels that way to most Americans. When U.S. troops are in combat, on the ground, they’re generally accompanied by reporters, who in recent conflicts have been able to fill TV screens and the Internet with up-close scenes of the action.

But when the U.S. elects to conduct an air war, Americans generally witness the action from airborne targeting cameras, or social-media posts from the ground. Both of those, of course, have their own problems: footage released by the Pentagon has been edited—scrubbed, if you prefer—and represents only a tiny fraction of what was recorded. The provenance and, indeed, the authenticity of cell phone videos allegedly capturing what is happening on the ground gives a similarly incomplete, and often suspect, picture of what’s happening.

The U.S. military’s assault against targets belonging to two groups of Islamic militants inside Syria has become almost background noise for most Americans. Granted, the airmen involved are at risk, but the nation generally seems to focus on war—and holds its breath—only when U.S. ground troops are involved in combat.

For Americans, that’s a double-edged sword. For sure, it cuts down on the risk to U.S. military personnel. But it also makes accomplishing President Obama’s declared mission—the destruction of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and the Khorasan Group—tougher to achieve.

That’s why Pentagon officials have made clear that the aerial campaign is open-ended and likely to be lengthy. Inflicting real pain on the jihadists is going to require ground troops, and U.S. officials say they’re more than a year away from training the first batch of 5,000 to take on an ISIS force estimated at 30,000.

“I don’t see the political strategy, at least a realistic one, in Syria,” Senator Chris Murphy, D-Conn., told CNN Sunday. “That begs the question, how long are we going to be there and is there any end? There’s just no appetite in the American public for an open-ended military conflict in Syria.”

Todd Harrison of the independent Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments estimates that the cost of the U.S. war against ISIS is approaching $1 billion, and could end up costing $6 billion annually for an aggressive, sustained bombing campaign. While significant, that’s far less than the roughly $150 billion the U.S. spent during the peak years of the Afghan (2011) and Iraq (2008) wars.

At best, the daily bombing will likely only freeze ISIS’s grip on eastern Syria. “Combined with our ongoing efforts in Iraq, these strikes will continue to deny [ISIS] freedom of movement and challenge its ability to plan, direct, and sustain its operations,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Friday. In western Iraq, reinvigorated Iraqi army and peshmerga forces are more likely to regain ground lost to ISIS over the past year.

Such campaigns have a mixed history. When the U.S. and its allies forced Iraqi forces out of Kuwait in 1991 in Operation Desert Storm, it took a 43-day aerial bombardment before ground forces swept in to finish the job.

The 1999 NATO-led air campaign to drive Serbs out of Kosovo in the Balkans, Operation Allied Force, required 28,000 high-explosive munitions. It cost an estimated $3 billion and killed nearly 500 civilians. The 78-day barrage did highlight airpower’s ability change the reality on the ground.

But both of those examples pitted the U.S. and its allies against organized state militaries commanded by dictators: Saddam Hussein in Iraq, and Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia. As heads of state responsible for far more than battlefields, they were subject to pressures the zealously-driven ISIS is unlikely to feel.

The air war that most closely parallels what the U.S. is now conducting against ISIS is Operation Unified Protector, the U.S.-led seven-month effort over Libya in 2011. Launched by the U.S., with NATO eventually assuming a larger role, it began as a humanitarian effort to protect Libyan rebels from Muammar Gaddafi’s army. While air strikes played a critical role in Gaddafi’s ouster and eventual killing, the country has since been wracked by conflict among its warring factions.

Two years ago, terrorists took advantage of the chaos to attack U.S. diplomatic outposts in Benghazi, killing Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. “Where you’ve got states that are failing or in the midst of civil war, these kinds of organizations thrive,” Obama told CBS’ 60 Minutes Sunday night, referring to ISIS. But he just as surely could have been speaking of Libya, where the war he launched more than three years ago initially was hailed as a victory for U.S. leadership. Two months ago, the U.S. shuttered its embassy in the Libyan capital of Tripoli and evacuated its diplomats.

“The fate of that country has been largely absent from discussions about the new war,” the New York Times warned Sunday, “which is certain to last longer and unleash a wider array of consequences.”

The Pentagon, thus far, has declined to name that new war.

TIME

Sometimes the Government Puts Money in Our Pockets

Cash Money Dollar Bills
Getty Images

The percentage of women who get free birth control has skyrocketed since Obamacare went into effect, providing new ammunition for the political wars over Obamacare as well as the cultural wars over birth control. But there’s been almost no attention paid to the practical effect of this trend: It’s the equivalent of a modest tax cut for millions of women whose insurers used to require co-payments. It’s putting money in ordinary people’s pockets.

These days, the big economic story is about inequality, about a recovery that’s benefited the rich more than the poor, about middle-class wages that haven’t increased in fifteen years. It’s an important story. But the storytellers often overlook a variety of public policies that have helped offset the structural trends widening the gap between the rich and the rest. “Instead of promoting equality,” Tom Edsall wrote in a recent New York Times jeremiad, “public policy has…bestow[ed] the benefits of growth on the very few.” In fact, the government has put money into ordinary people’s pockets in all kinds of ways.

The most obvious way has been tax cuts. President Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill—a topic I’ve discussed at some length—included $300 billion in tax cuts, mostly for the non-rich. The centerpiece was called Making Work Pay, which provided up to $800 a year for the bottom 95% of working families, and was later converted into a payroll tax credit worth up to $2,136 a year before it expired in 2012. Most stimulus tax cuts were “refundable,” which meant low-income workers who don’t pay income taxes—the “47 percent” that Mitt Romney was caught denigrating on video—would be eligible to benefit. When Obama famously told former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor “elections have consequences, Eric, and I won,” he was talking about refundable tax cuts for the poor, which House Republicans opposed but could not block.

This extra money for the poor and middle class doesn’t show up in charts illustrating how the rich are vacuuming up all the recovery’s income and wealth. Those charts and the pundits who love them also tend to ignore the impact of Obama’s tax hikes on the rich, especially his repeal of the Bush tax cuts on income over $400,000. In his Times essay, titled “America Out of Whack,” Edsall speculates at length about the impossibility of redistributive taxation in modern Washington, somehow failing to mention that it just happened in a big way last year. As Zachary Goldfarb calculated for a Washington Post piece on inequality in July, repeal cost the average member of the top 0.1% income bracket nearly half a million dollars.

Obamacare is also financed by hefty new taxes on the rich, including a 3.8% hike on investment income and a 0.9% hike on earned income above $250,000. But its main push against inequality will be its health benefits for the uninsured and underinsured. Free birth control is just one example. There’s also free primary care and other preventive services. Families up to 138% of the poverty line are now eligible for Medicaid benefits in participating states. The law also eliminated the “donut hole,” reducing drug costs for seniors. None of this will show up in the inequality data, but it all helps make ordinary Americans less financially insecure. And so far, Obamacare insurance premiums have been significantly lower than expected, which means more money in ratepayer pockets. Jason Furman, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, says the combination of Obamacare plus progressive tax changes has offset a decade’s worth of rising inequality.

There are many less memorable ways that public policy has tried to narrow the gap. For example, the stimulus, if you’ll pardon my obsession, also sent $250 checks to retirees and disabled veterans, increased Pell Grants for low-income students by more than $600, and expanded unemployment benefits by $25 a week. Oh, and the stimulus—along with the much-maligned Wall Street bailouts and the Federal Reserve’s aggressive monetary policies—helped prevent a depression, a very good thing for the poor and middle class as well as the wealthy and the Dow. The 10 million new jobs created in this recovery didn’t all go to rich people.

The stimulus also financed energy-efficiency retrofits of more than 1 million low-income homes, which will save families money and power for decades to come. And beyond the stimulus, the Department of Energy estimates that the Obama administration’s new energy-efficiency mandates for refrigerators, air conditioners and dozens of other appliances will save consumers $450 billion on their electric bills through 2030. The administration’s strict fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light trucks are expected save drivers another $500 billion. That’s real money.

Even the federal response to the foreclosure crisis, widely perceived as an abysmal failure, has provided financial help to millions of Americans in need. The most important move, widely perceived as a gift to undeserving corporations, was the $400 billion government bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which kept mortgage credit flowing at a time when no one else would provide it, averted a dramatic increase in mortgage rates, and helped 26 million homeowners reduce their monthly payments by refinancing their mortgages by 2014. Federal programs like HARP (which helped 3 million of those homeowners refinance) and HAMP (which helped modify another 1.3 million loans) were slow and often inefficient, but low mortgage rates—maintained by the Federal Reserve’s aggressive purchases of mortgage-backed securities as well as the government backstop for Fannie and Freddie—meant money in the bank for anyone with an adjustable-rate mortgage.

Reasonable people can disagree about whether government should be in the business of redistribution—what Obama called “spreading the wealth” in his 2008 chat with Joe the Plumber—but we should recognize that it is. The inequality trends, as severe as they are, would be far more severe without government intervention. Yes, the average CEO earns almost as much in a day as the average worker earns in a year, but government—through progressive taxation, the safety net, public education and other public services, and the policies of the last five years—has been pushing back.

Is it pushing back hard enough? Well, reasonable people can disagree about that, too.

 

TIME White House

Larry Summers: Obama and Clinton Are Very Different Bosses

The current president is a stickler for punctuality and order, the former Treasury Secretary tells the Nantucket Project. But Clinton? Not so much

“There are differences in working for President Clinton and President Obama,” said Larry Summers in a panel on global finance at the Nantucket Project on Sunday. Summers ought to know: he served as Secretary of the Treasury under the first and Director of the National Economic Council under the second.

“If you have a 10 o’clock meeting with President Obama,” he says, “you should be in your office at 10 minutes before 10, because he might be running early. If you have a 10 o’clock meeting with President Clinton, it’s really okay if you cruise in at 10:05, because he’s not going to be ready until 10:20.”

The differences in meeting styles go beyond punctuality, Summers continued: “If you’re meeting with President Obama, if it’s a 30-minute meeting, at 10:26 his assistant will bring him an index card telling him about this next meeting, and at 10:30, you will be gone. That 30-minute meeting you were supposed to have with President Clinton that was supposed to begin at 10 and actually began at 10:20? At 10:50, he is just warming up.”

Number 42 and Number 44 differ in their approach to meeting prep as well. If Summers gave Obama a memo in advance, he says, “the probability that he would have read the memo was 99.5 percent, and if you attempted to summarize the memo, he would politely but very firmly say, “Larry, I read the memo.” President Clinton? “He might have read the memo. He might not have read the memo. He kind of welcomed your summary.”

While Obama focused on making decisions based on the information his advisers presented, Clinton wasn’t afraid to give his advisers some food for thought. Doing an impression of sorts, Summers recalled the way he’d go off on a tangent: “Larry, you’re talking about the unbanked, people without bank accounts. There was a guy, great guy, used to be mayor of Memphis, he had a program going to help the unbanked—beautiful wife—ran for Congress, I don’t know what happened to him, great guy, you really should look into that program to use unemployed youth to install ATMs.”

Though one was more disciplined and the other more freeform, he said both were effective leaders by staying true to their own styles.

Summers also came to Obama’s defense in the forum when Meredith Whitney, the former stock analyst turned hedge fund manager who correctly predicted the subprime crisis in 2007, said that we’re now in a period of over-regulation.

If it’s really true that there’s a bureaucratic “war on corporations,” Summers asked, then “why is it that the market value as measured by the stock market of American corporate business has grown more rapidly in the five and a half years of this presidential administration than any other administration since 1932? … why is it that corporate profits as a share of our economy are larger than they have ever been before?”

“It’s just an odd kind of war in terms of the results.”

TIME National Security

Obama Admits U.S. Intelligence Didn’t See ISIS Coming

Intelligence chiefs have admitted they underestimated the threat posed by the Islamist group, Obama says

The U.S. underestimated the threat the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) posed in Syria and Iraq, President Obama conceded in an interview that will air on 60 Minutes Sunday, and overestimated the ability of the Iraqi army to secure their country.

“[Director of National Intelligence James Clapper] has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria,” Obama said.

“Essentially what happened with [ISIS] was that you had al Qaeda in Iraq, which was a vicious group, but our Marines were able to quash [it] with the help of Sunni tribes,” Obama went on. “They went back underground, but over the past couple of years, during the chaos of the Syrian civil war, where essentially you had huge swaths of the country that are completely ungoverned, they were able to reconstitute themselves and take advantage of that chaos.”

When asked about comments by the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who has said the U.S. overestimated the ability and will of the Iraqi military to fight the extremist group, Obama said, “That’s true,” Mr. Obama said. “That’s absolutely true.”

Obama had already admitted that the rise of ISIS took the U.S. by surprise. “I think that there is no doubt that their advance, their movement over the last several months has been more rapid than the intelligence estimates and I think the expectations of policymakers both in and outside of Iraq,” he said in an August statement.

 

TIME Foreign Policy

Boehner: U.S. May Have ‘No Choice’ But to Send Troops to Fight ISIS

House Speaker Boehner Holds Weekly News Conference
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) speaks to the media during his weekly briefing at the US Capitol on Sept. 11, 2014 in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

"At some point, somebody's boots have to be on the ground."

House Speaker John Boehner said in an interview aired Sunday that the U.S. may need to commit ground troops to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), despite widespread opposition at home to putting American boots back on the ground in Iraq.

“At the end of the day, I think it’s gonna take more than air strikes to drive [ISIS] outta there,” Boehner told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. “At some point, somebody’s boots have to be on the ground.”

Boehner went on to say that if the United States can’t train sufficient forces to secure the region or find allies willing to commit enough ground troops, he would recommend sending American troops. “We have no choice. These are barbarians. They intend to kill us. And if we don’t destroy them first, we’re gonna pay the price,” the Speaker said.

More than 70% of U.S. soldiers oppose committing to combat operations in Iraq, according to a recent poll, and a CNN poll released earlier this month showed that 61% of Americans oppose placing U.S. troops in Iraq. President Obama has repeatedly pledged there will be no ground troops used in Iraq.

U.S. Navy Vice Admiral John Miller told ABC that “progress [is] being made” with the current strategy of using airstrikes combined with Kurdish and Iraqi troops, mentioning the recapture of the Mosul dam, reinforcing the Haditha dam and securing Baghdad, as well as Sinjar mountain, among others.

 

TIME Military

7 in 10 U.S. Troops Oppose Boots on the Ground in Iraq

Pessimism about success of Iraqi mission growing, with almost 60% saying the war was not very or not at all successful, up from 31% in 2013

A large majority of the U.S. military’s rank and file are opposed to sending troops back to Iraq in combat roles, according to a new Military Times poll, even as the Pentagon commits to a broadening program of air strikes against Islamist extremists in the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS).

The poll of active-duty members also showed a sudden hike in negativity over the past year about the success of the army’s combat mission in Iraq, with a large number of troops now questioning what U.S. military operations in the country had achieved.

Just over 70% of the troops polled were opposed to the U.S. military sending a “substantial number of combat troops to Iraq to support the Iraqi security forces.”

Of the 2,200 U.S. troops surveyed in the Military Times poll, just under 60% said the war in Iraq was not very or not at all successful, up from 31% in 2013; just 30% thought the war was very or somewhat successful this year, compared with 53% last year.

The mounting pessimism among troops over the U.S. involvement in Iraq could explain why more than seven in 10 troops support President Obama’s commitment not to get “dragged into another ground war” in Iraq. Many troops have adopted a non-interventionist attitude, with one Army infantry officer telling the Military Times, “It’s their country, it’s their business.”

One officer said troops should have stayed in Iraq longer to secure the country. “I know there are other political issues, but for our job, we should have stayed until it was secure,” said Army Capt. Eric Hatch, a logistics officer at Fort Bliss, Texas. “I think we were close to being done [in 2011], but I think we could have stayed another year or two.”

[Military Times]

TIME White House

Report: Secret Service Bungled White House Shooting Response in 2011

The White House Is Reflected On Driveway Puddle
A puddle in the driveway reflects the White House and north lawn on Sept. 25, 2014 in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

Took four days to realize White House had been hit by gunfire

The Secret Service badly bungled its response to a shooting outside the White House in 2011, according to a new report, taking four days to realize that shots had actually hit the presidential residence.

A detailed report in the Washington Post chronicles the Secret Service’s slow and inadequate response to a 2011 shooting outside the White House in which an Idaho man, Oscar R. Ortega-Hernandez, fired at least seven bullets into the house’s upstairs residence 700 yards across the South Lawn, and to the attack.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama were away during that weekend, but their younger daughter, Sasha, was in the White House, the Post reports, and their older daughter, Malia, was expected home any minute.

While Secret Service officers rushed to respond to the shots, a call came from the supervisor on duty: no shots fired, stand down. The officers complied, even as Ortega sped away from the scene at 60 mph. The supervisor apparently believed the noise had been a construction vehicle backfiring.

Although it acknowledged later that night that shots had been fired in the vicinity, the agency initially suggested they had come from a gang gunfight near the front lawn of the White House, and not from a deliberate attack.

It took more than four days for the Secret Service to piece together that shots had hit the White House, and only then because a housekeeper noticed the damage. The Secret Service did not interview key witnesses until days later, when the bullets were found, and only conducted a superficial inspection of the White House for damage.

The Obamas were only made aware of the shooting when an assistant White House usher told the First Lady about the bullet holes another housekeeper had found. The officers who believed shots had hit the White House were either ignored or afraid to contradict their superiors.

Ortega was eventually arrested and sentenced to 25 years in prison. A spokesman for the Secret Service declined to speak with the Post.

[Washington Post]

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