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The Secret Service’s Open-Door Policy

The Secret Service looks like it has an open-door policy at the White House after two security scares in as many days.

The first is by far the most interesting, and the most embarrassing for the Secret Service. It involves an Army veteran who vaulted over the fence and prompted an evacuation of the White House. A second man was charged the next day after he pulled up to a non-public entrance in his car and refused to leave.

[amazon asin=1608190064&template=*lrc ad (left)]In the first case, federal prosecutors said Omar Gonzalez, 42, jumped the White House fence and raced into the front door before he was apprehended. He was carrying a small pocket knife and, apparently a message for the president about global warming. Later, authorities said they found two hatchets, a machete and 800 rounds of ammunition in his car.

Gonzalez’s relatives say he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder from his tours of duty in Iraq. That fits nicely with the “lone nut” category of White House crashers that’s often brought up by the authorities to explain such incidents. The Secret Service has already launched an investigation into itself as the result of breach, a process that’s produced the Secret Service’s self-described squeaky-clean image.[amazon asin=0990463109&template=*lrc ad (right)]

Here’s a fascinating tidbit from the Gonzalez arraignment: he was stopped outside the White House in August while carrying a hatchet in his waistband. He was just let go. That’s despite the fact he was arrested in July in Virginia after leading police on a chase. Guess what was found in his car then? Among other things, a sawed-off shotgun and a map of Washington with the White House circled.

How is it Gonzalez got anywhere near the White House at all after those two incidents? That’s a story we’d love to hear.

For some insight and context with which to analyze the latest White House gate-crashing, we are republishing Russ Baker’s story from 2011 about some of the strange threats against President Obama:

The Salahis with Obama

ARTICLE SUMMARY

[amazon asin=0804139210&template=*lrc ad (left)]Small, bad things seem to (almost) happen to Obama; they get little sustained attention from reporters or the public. But there’s something odd about them, and they’re worrisome for the White House. Of course, the corporate media will dismiss it as nothing at all. Yet there’s a disturbing military/security thread running through it all—and as we approach the 50th anniversary of JFK’s demise, we’d be smart to err on the side of caution.

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By Russ Baker

Here’s a crazy story that has gotten little attention in the United States: During Barack Obama’s recent visit to Canberra, the Australian capital, a reporter happened upon a classified booklet containing security information about the presidential trip.

The highly sensitive booklet was…lying in a gutter.[amazon asin=1936239906&template=*lrc ad (right)]

What in the world can that be about?

We’ll come back to that in a bit, but first, let’s consider how a political leader such as Obama would react to such an incident, which was reported in an Australian newspaper.

In all probability, he would assume it was the result of spectacular carelessness. These cases surface from time to time, as when a scientist leaves top secret papers in the back seat of a taxi cab. But, knowing the complex machinations of the political and spook worlds, it would be understandable if, for a brief second, Obama might at least contemplate the possibility that such a “blunder” could be deliberate.

And he would realize that if it were deliberate, someone would either be trying to cause him harm, or to send a message of some sort.

[amazon asin=B007KTEBO0&template=*lrc ad (left)]***

A host of ill-fated leaders—from the early 20th century Mexican President Venustiano Carranza to Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to Egyptian President Anwar Sadat—learned too late that their own security forces were fully capable of betraying their masters. Indeed, history is replete with examples of treachery.

When it comes to the safety of US presidents, the line between reckless accidents and deliberate acts is not so clear. In the case of John F. Kennedy, the stunning inadequacy of Secret Service protective measures on November 22, 1963 have been the subject of broad speculation and debate for half a century.

Apparently, this was not the result of a one-day lapse. In his book, The Echo From Dealey Plaza, former Secret Service agent Abraham Bolden reveals not only the reckless behavior of his fellow agents charged with protecting Kennedy—but also their personal animosity toward the president and the policies he implemented.

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