March 26, 2013

Obama appoints first woman to lead the Secret Service

President Obama today said he'll appoint Julia Peirson, a 30-year veteran of the Secret Service, as the first female director of the agency.

Obama said in a statement that Pierson "has consistently exemplified the spirit and dedication the men and women of the service demonstrate every day."

A veteran of the Miami and Orlando field offices, where she began her career at the Service, Pierson has served as the deputy assistant director of the Office of Protective Operations, assistant director of human resources and training, and most recently as Chief of Staff. 

"Julia is eminently qualified to lead the agency that not only safeguards Americans at major events and secures our financial system, but also protects our leaders and our first families, including my own," Obama said. "Julia has had an exemplary career, and I know these experiences will guide her as she takes on this new challenge to lead the impressive men and women of this important agency."

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano called the choice "historic" and said Pierson is "exceptionally well-qualified, and well-equipped.


"I am confident that Julia's background and capabilities will enable her to effectively lead the Secret Service as it continues to protect the safety of our First Families, our nation’s leaders, and the public
at large," Napolitano said.

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April 26, 2012

Reid's Secret Service solution: "Hire more females"

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's remedy for the Secret Service's controversy regarding prostitutes: "Hire more females."

The Nevada Democrat was asked at a Thursday news conference about a report by KIRO-TV in Seattle that agents may have solicited prostitutes last year in El Salvador.

At another press conference, though, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, noted that Wednesday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the incident in Colombia involving agents and prostitutes was an isoldated incident, to her knowledge.

Cornyn said he was concerned, saying an investigation was needed by Congress. "It's an obligation we owe to the American people," he said.

 

 

 

 

April 24, 2012

White House clears itself in Secret Service scandal

The White House says it reviewed White House staff performance in Colombia in light of the Secret Service sex scandal in Colombia and found no transgressions.

Press Secretary Jay Carney offered few details on the review, but said the White House counsel in a review that started Friday and was completed by Monday found no cause for concern. He said there had been no credible allegations of misconduct among Obama's advance team, but that the administration wanted to make certain there were no improprieties.

"Out of due diligence...that review was conducted, and it produced no indication of any misconduct," Carney said, adding that the only word of misconduct were "rumors published on the Internet by people with no editors and no conscience.

"Only out of due diligence have we conducted this review, which revealed what we thought to be the case, which there was no misconduct," he said.

April 20, 2012

White House accuses critics of politicizing Secret Service scandal

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney sharply rejected criticism Friday from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who has suggested the Secret Service sex scandal -- coupled with other Beltway exposes, including reports of over the top convention spending by the General Services Agency, show a White House not in control. The allegations have surfaced at the same time as graphic photographs of soldiers in Afghanistan posing with corpses..

"It is preposterous to politicize the Secret Service; to politicize the terrible conduct of some soldiers in Afghanistan in a war that's been going on for 10 years," Carney said, accusing Palin and Alabama Republican Jeff Sessions, who has been critical of the Secret Service incident and GSA imbroglio of looking to turn the incidents to their political advantage.

 "It's a ridiculous assertion that trivializes both the very serious nature of the endeavor that our military is engaged in in Afghanistan and the very serious nature both of the work that the Secret Service does," Carney said.

Sessions on Thursday criticized Obama's leadership and Palin emerged as a factor in the story when the Washington Post reported that one of the fired agents said in a Facebook posting that he was "'checking her out" under a picture of him standing behind her. She suggested on Fox News Thursday that it was a "symptom of government run amok" -- though host Greta van Susteren noted that the event was in 2008 -- when George W. Bush was president.

March 19, 2012

Bristol Palin to Obama: Where's my call?

Bristol Palin writes openly to President Barack Obama, wondering why Obama called Sandra Fluke when she was called a slut by Rush Limbaugh, but has said nothing about a pro-Obama PAC taking $1 million from a man who called used similar language to describe Palin and her mother.

From Bristol Palin's blog:

You don’t know my telephone number, but I hope your staff is busy trying to find it. Ever since you called Sandra Fluke after Rush Limbaugh called her a slut, I figured I might be next. You explained to reporters you called her because you were thinking of your two daughters, Malia and Sasha. After all, you didn’t want them to think it was okay for men to treat them that way:

“One of the things I want them to do as they get older is engage in issues they care about, even ones I may not agree with them on,” you said. “I want them to be able to speak their mind in a civil and thoughtful way. And I don’t want them attacked or called horrible names because they’re being good citizens.”

And I totally agree your kids should be able to speak their minds and engage the culture. I look forward to seeing what good things Malia and Sasha end up doing with their lives.

But here’s why I’m a little surprised my phone hasn’t rung. Your $1,000,000 donor Bill Maher has said reprehensible things about my family. He’s made fun of my brother because of his Down’s Syndrome. He’s said I was “f—-d so hard a baby fell out.” (In a classy move, he did this while his producers put up the cover of my book, which tells about the forgiveness and redemption I’ve found in God after my past – very public — mistakes.)

If Maher talked about Malia and Sasha that way, you’d return his dirty money and the Secret Service would probably have to restrain you. After all, I’ve always felt you understood my plight more than most because your mom was a teenager. That’s why you stood up for me when you were campaigning against Sen. McCain and my mom — you said vicious attacks on me should be off limits.

Yet I wonder if the Presidency has changed you. Now that you’re in office, it seems you’re only willing to defend certain women. You’re only willing to take a moral stand when you know your liberal supporters will stand behind you.

But…

What if you did something radical and wildly unpopular with your base and took a stand against the denigration of all women… even if they’re just single moms? Even if they’re Republicans?

I’m not expecting your SuperPAC to return the money. You’re going to need every dime to hang on to your presidency. I’m not even really expecting a call. But would it be too much to expect a little consistency? After all, you’re President of all Americans, not just the liberals.

June 14, 2011

Romney looking forward to the White House

Mitt Romney was feeling good after Monday night's debate with six other Republican presidential candidates--so good he was talking like a president.

"I'll probably be back in four years," the former Massachusetts governor, and New Hampshire GOP front-runner, said as he toured the Benson Lumber & Hardware Co. in Derry, New Hampshire Tuesday.

"Only this time it will be a large group," he vowed, "and I will probably have Secret Service."

 

December 02, 2009

White House: Social Sec'y won't talk to Congress about party crashers

White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers will not talk to a Congressional committee investigating the security breach when a Virginia couple crashed a State Dinner last month, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Wednesday.

"Separation of powers," Gibbs said. "Staff here don't go to testify" before Congress.

Gibbs brushed aside questions about whether Rogers bore some of the blame because she didn't have a staffer at the gate when the couple insisted they had been invited and were waved though by the Secret Service.

"The first family is quite pleased with her performance," Gibbs said.

He added that the White House on Tuesday changed  its policy, returning to the Bush-era poliocy of having an aide from the Social Sectetary's office at the gate to double check guests during every social function. The change was ordered by the White House Deputy Chief of Staff, Gibbs said.

September 23, 2009

Secret Service stops diplomats near Obama limo

Several Turkish diplomats were physically restrained by U.S. Secret Service agents when they tried to enter a tent holding President Obama’s limo and could not understand yelled orders to stop.

The fracas Tuesday night happened just outside the New York hotel where Obama was speaking at former President Bill Clinton’s Clinton Global Initiative meeting.

As Clinton was walking Obama out to his limo, a small horde of agents and police got into a shouting match with some people at one corner of the tent where the presidential limo was waiting.

“A foreign delegation got confused and were trying to enter the president's departure tent and didn't understand the verbal instructions being given,” Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said.
“They had to be physically restrained."

Donovan said he did not think the diplomats, identified as Turkish by White House pool reporter Jon Ward of the Washington Times, made it into the tent. They were not detained.

"Our feeling is the incident was exacerbated by a language barrier,” Donovan added.

July 02, 2009

Biden makes surprise visit to Iraq

Vice President Joe Biden has landed in Baghdad on a surprise visit to Iraq.

The White House reports that Biden will meet with President Jalal Talabani, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Ayad al-Samarrai, Sspeaker of the Council of Reprsentatives.

Biden will stress anew the U.S. commitment to carry out President Obama's pledge to draw down U.S. troops.

His two-day trip is his second visit to Iraq this year, his first since taking office as vice president.


 

May 11, 2009

If the president goes strong to the hoop ...

If President Barack Obama goes up strong for a layup on the basketball court, does the opposing player:

A) Check to see if the Secret Service agent on the sidelines has a menacing look and an itchy trigger finger?

B) Foul Obama so hard that he sees as many stars as there are on the American flag?

C) Part the lane the way Moses parted the Red Sea and let Obama safely score his points?

Obama's basketball prowess came under humorous attack at Saturday's White House Correspondents Dinner. Comedian Wanda Sykes suggested that the president shouldn't beat his chest about his basketball abilities.

"I bet you think your game is really nice right now, don't you?" Sykes told Obama. "Yeah, you really think you got good moves. C'mon, nobody's going to give the president a hard foul with the Secret Service standing there."

Obama isn't the first basketball-playing politician, just the highest-ranking one. Former New York Democratic Governor Mario Cuomo was a basketball fiend during his years in Albany. He played one-on-one  or three-on-three against all comers, and organized a statehouse basketball league. 

Cuomo believes that Obama is probably playinig old-school ball where the general rule is if there's no blood, there's no foul. Obama played pick-up Saturday at a downtown Washington, D.C., YMCA. The president came out unscathed, but his personal assistant, Reggie Love, sported a band-aid on his chin and muttered that he might need stitches. No word on how Love got injured.

 "It's hard to play basketball, play all out, without hitting a guy the way you didn't want to hit him," Cuomo said. "I suspect a guy like Obama, if he's playing five-on-five, he strikes me as a real player who wants to play a real game."

Cuomo said he kept it real when he played as governor, recounting hard fouls and fist fights - even against a team of State Police officers. "We kept it in the gym," he said.

"I got hit between the nose and top of the lip, loosened two teeth in front four days before I had to give the speech to nominate Bill Clinton at the Democratic convention at Madison Square Garden," Cuomo said. "I gave the whole speech scared to death that I was going to lose teeth in the Garden."

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"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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