Secret Service Bungled Response To 2011 Shooting At White House


In a string of security lapses never previously reported, the Secret Service failed to identify and properly investigate a serious attack on the White House in 2011, the Washington Post reports. A shooting and arrest of gunman Oscar Ortega-Hernandez got attention at the time but neither a bungled internal response the potential danger to President Obama’s daughters has been publicly known. The agency confirmed a shooting had occurred but wrongly insisted the gunfire was never aimed at the White House. Secret Service supervisors theorized that gang members in separate cars got in a gunfight near the White House's front lawn, an unlikely scenario in a quiet, touristy part of the nation's capital.

It took the Secret Service four days to realize that shots had hit the White House residence. The discovery came about only because a housekeeper noticed broken glass and a chunk of cement on the floor. The episode exposed problems at multiple levels of the Secret Service. It shows that an organization long seen as an elite force of selfless and highly skilled patriots willing to take a bullet for the good of the nation is not always up to the job. “It was obviously very frightening that someone who didn't really plan it that well was able to shoot and hit the White House and people here did not know it until several days later,” said William Daley, White House chief of staff at the time.

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