In the latest humiliation for the Secret Service, an unauthorized armed man was allowed to ride an elevator with President Obama during a tour of CDC headquarters in Atlanta this month, according to reports that were confirmed by a senior Republican congressman.
The Washington Examiner first reported on Tuesday that Obama was in an elevator with his Secret Service detail when a CDC security officer began taking photos and video of the president and "behaving unprofessionally."
The lapse was a breakdown in protocol for an agency tasked with vetting anyone who will come in close contact with Obama. The Washington Post reported that the man was a security contractor who had three prior convictions for assault and battery. He did not comply with directions from Secret Service agents to stop photographing the president.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican who is a senior member of the House oversight committee, confirmed the accounts on Twitter, citing "a whistleblower."
Security contractor with a gun next to the President happened two weeks ago, according to my whistleblower.— Jason Chaffetz (@jasoninthehouse) September 30, 2014
Obama had been in Atlanta to receive a briefing on the Ebola outbreak.
The news of the latest Secret Service lapse came just hours after lawmakers grilled the agency's director, Julia Pierson, over two prior breaches. The first came in 2011 when it took the Secret Service several days to discover that a gunman had fired seven bullets from a semiautomatic rifle at the White House. The more recent incident occurred on Sept. 19, when a knife-wielding Iraq War veteran, Omar Gonzalez, jumped the fence and made it deep into the White House before being stopped by an agent who wasn't even on duty.
Gonzalez was indicted Tuesday on three federal and local weapons charges. At the White House, press secretary Josh Earnest said Obama retained confidence in the Secret Service to keep him and his family safe.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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