- The Washington Times - Monday, September 22, 2014

Rep. Elijah Cummings, Maryland Democrat, said Monday that he plans to investigate the recent failure of the Secret Service to make sure it’s not a sign of a broader problem in the agency.

“This is supposed to be the highest security firm in the entire world and to be able to get inside the White House, to me, is a major, major problem,” he said on MSNBC. “I hope it’s not symbolic of other things, but we’re going to find that out.”

A man jumped the White House fence Friday night and made it into the front door of the presidential mansion with a 3-inch knife, causing many to wonder why Secret Service agents didn’t stop the man or unleash trained dogs on him before he could get inside the White House.

Omar Gonzalez, the Army veteran who allegedly jumped the fence, is expected to appear in court Monday at 1:30 p.m., MSNBC reported.

When asked if the president was angry that an intruder was able to enter his home, Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser to the president, praised the Secret Service and said the agency was looking at what went wrong to make sure it never happens again.

“I think we’re all in agreement that nobody should be able to post that sort of threat to the White House,” Mr. Rhodes said. “They’re taking it very seriously.”

Mr. Cummings, ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, said the subcommittee on national security is planning a hearing to look into how the man slipped through security and got into the White House.

Mr. Cummings pointed out that this isn’t the first issue that’s plagued the agency, citing two specific scandals in recent years: one where agents were hiring prostitutes during an official trip to Colombia and one where agents were sent home after getting extremely intoxicated and passing out in Amsterdam.

The lawmaker said the issues he sees makes him wonder what else is going on in the agency that never reaches the public eye.

“It makes me wonder about what I don’t see,” he said.

Mr. Cummings said some have wondered if the agency’s budget is lacking, but that a lack of funding can’t lead to incidents where the country’s elected leaders are in danger.

“We can never let austerity be an excuse for not protecting our presidents,” he said. “We’re better than that. So we’re going to have to look and try to figure out what’s going on.”

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