Issa, Cummings to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson: Independent Review of Secret Service Must Assess Entire Agency
WASHINGTON – Today, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings, D-Md., asked U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson to conduct a comprehensive external review of the Secret Service beyond the September 19 White House intrusion incident. The Committee’s September 30 hearing raised bipartisan concerns regarding a series of dangerous security breaches that highlighted significant flaws within the Secret Service’s culture.
Chairman Issa and Ranking Member Cummings wrote:
“At a September 30, 2014, hearing titled ‘White House Perimeter Breach: New Concerns about the Secret Service,’ Secret Service Director Julia Pierson testified before the Committee in an open session, followed by a closed session. During the hearing, Committee Members expressed bipartisan apprehension about a series of dangerous security breaches over the past several years, as well as troubling reports involving protocol failures, technology lapses, training reductions, and internal cultural issues that may discourage agents from reporting security concerns to their superiors.”
“Following the hearing, Director Pierson resigned, but serious questions predated her tenure as Director, and her resignation by no means resolves them. While we honor Ms. Pierson’s 30 years of service to the nation, we agree that the Secret Service needs new leadership to address the grave issues it currently faces. We look forward to working with interim Acting Director Joseph Clancy as he returns to the Secret Service to guide the agency forward.”
“Recognizing that the Secret Service is at a critical juncture, at the hearing Members and panelists expressed their strong belief that now is the time for an independent, comprehensive evaluation from outside the Department. Thank you, therefore, for your recent announcement that the Department will name a panel of independent experts to examine the September 19 incident and related issues. Your initiative is an important step in assuring that missteps at the Secret Service do not continue. Congress and the American people look forward to receiving the results of this comprehensive external review, as well as the results of the internal inquiry you tasked Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to lead.”
Chairman Issa and Ranking Member Cummings requested that the panel conduct a broad assessment of the agency—well beyond the September 19 incident, and take the following actions:
- 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.
- 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.
- The panel should make an unclassified version of its report and recommendations available to Congress and the public. Any classified version of the report should be submitted to Congress in an appropriate manner.
Read the entire letter to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson here.