Secret Service Apologizes. Profusely.

By Marc Ambinder

With reports circulating that the White House party crashers, Michaele and Tareq Salahi, shook hands with President Obama, and more reports (which I can confirm through independent reporting) coming out about high-level White House anger at the Secret Service, the agency today issued the following, fairly extraordinarily public statement today, in the words of director Mark Sullivan:

"The Secret Service is deeply concerned and embarrassed by the circumstances surrounding the State Dinner on Tuesday, November 24. The preliminary findings of our internal investigation have determined established protocols were not followed at an initial checkpoint, verifying that two individuals were on the guest list.


Although these individuals went through magnetometers and other levels of screening, they should have been prohibited from entering the event entirely. That failing is ours.

The Secret Service safely processed more than 1.2 million visitors last year to the White House complex.  In the last several years, the agency has successfully protected more than 10,000 sites for the President, Vice President and other Secret Service protectees, screening more than 7 million people through magnetometers at campaign related events, with more than 1 million during the Inauguration alone.

Even with these successes, we need to be right 100% of the time.  While we have protocols in place to address these situations, we must ensure that they are followed each and every time.

As our investigation continues, appropriate measures have been taken to ensure this is not repeated.

The men and women of the U.S. Secret Service are committed to providing the highest level of security for those we are charged to protect, and we will do whatever is necessary to accomplish this mission."

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2009/11/secret-service-apologizes-profusely/30918/