Words by Charles N. Lewis Jr.
Yesterday (April 15, 2015) a breach in security allowed a man to fly his gyrocopter into restricted air space and land near the capital. In recent years there have been several incidence at the White House and Capital area which raises the question, where is security? The most concerning and troubling are those regarding Presidential and White House security.
In 2012 we were shocked to learn that Secret Service agents had partied with Colombian prostitutes while on President Obama’s trip to that country. The incident coming to light only after the prostitutes contacted Embassy authorities complaining over agents stiffing them for payment of services. That incident sparked an investigation by the Justice Department that uncovered similar activity by DEA agents and cartel involvement.
On the President’s trip to the CDC in Atlanta on September 16, 2014 for a briefing on the Ebola crisis secret service failed to know that the security guard operating the elevator was armed and had a criminal history. The security guard began taking pictures with his phone the incident reported by secret service agents which activated protective intelligence detectives to interview the security guard. During that interview in the presents of his supervisor the Guard was admonished for his unprofessional behavior and relieved of his weapon; knowledge the secret service had not known.
Omar Gonzales, an Iraq war veteran suffering from PTSD, jumped the White House fence and sprints into the White House. After his apprehension, a search of his vehicle found a gun and 800 rounds of ammunition. Kevin Carr made two attempts first walking up to a security gate then later driving up to the 15th and E street entrance. March 4th two Senior Secret Service officers crash into a barricade at the White House after a night of drinking; the incident hushed by officers present and the security video erased.
Needless to say that these and other incidents of security lapses are troubling. We are in a new age, one of foreign, domestic, and self-radicalized terrorists. Our national security should be at its highest level with extreme vigilance. The Secret Service, a once respected and renowned agency, has lost its professionalism, vigilance, and impenetrable shield around the White House, President, and most likely first family. It’s not just the Secret Service, Capital police and many other security forces within the DC area are severely lacking. If swift effective and strong security measures aren’t implemented immediately we will experience a tragedy!
It is not unconceivable or impossible for the next incident to be one of 9-11 proportion. A drone, gyrocopter, vehicle or individual as we have seen could deliver a chemical, biological, or explosive device to the White House, Capital, or DC area. That reality should have us doing much more than Congressional investigations and posturing my elected officials. My definition of restricted airspace means “fly within the restricted area without prior permission results in you being shot down”! My restricted airspace would encompass the entire DC area with the only exceptions being commercial and government related traffic. The security of the White House, President, and members of the first family is the responsibility of the Secret Service. I am sure there are enough individuals within the military, FBI, and other agencies to recruit capable individuals for Secret Service duty. The Secret Service should be funded to support the highest level of security personal and equipment imaginable.
Imagination is what is lacking in our efforts to combat terrorism, for some reason we can’t think outside the box. How did we miss 9-11? Because security officials could not “imagine” such an act! We never “imagined” IED’s or suicide bombers, or car bombs. If our security forces don’t begin imagining the same impossibilities as our enemies and Hollywood, we will experience another tragedy upon our homeland.
I place no blame on Hollywood for having the vision and imagination to create movies like “White House Down”, “Olympus Has Fallen” and others that depict security lapse that threaten the White House, President, or First Family members. I applaud them for having the guts to present fictional events that are possible. But why do our National Security and political leaders continue to underestimate our terrorist enemies? Anything is possible.