The top Republican and Democrat on the House’s government watchdog panel asked Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson Friday to conduct a comprehensive external review of the Secret Service, which has been rocked by recent White House security failures leading to the resignation of former Director Julia Pierson.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the chairman and ranking member of the House Oversight Committee respectively, wrote a joint letter to Johnson saying that Pierson’s resignation “by no means resolves” the questions they have regarding the agency. They asked the investigation to go “well beyond” the September 19 incident, in which 42 year-old Iraq veteran Omar Gonzalez jumped over the White House fence and ran into the President’s mansion wielding a knife.
“The panel should review not only recent security lapses, but the full range of management, personnel, training, and cultural issues that contribute to the root causes of these security failures,” wrote Issa and Cummings. “The panel should examine the process by which the Secret Service communicates with Congress, the press, the American people, and the President himself, to ensure that information the agency provides is accurate and timely.”
After Pierson resigned Wednesday following a brutal congressional hearing before the Oversight committee on Tuesday, Johnson announced that Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas would lead an internal review of the Secret Service. He also said that another panel of independent experts would be created to submit by mid-December a list of potential new directors and recommendations for reforming White House security procedures. In the interim, Johnson has named Secret Service veteran Joseph Clancy as acting Director.