A security contractor with a gun and three convictions for assault and battery was allowed on an elevator with President Obama during a Sept. 16 trip to Atlanta, violating Secret Service protocols, the Washington Post reports. Secret Service director Julia Pierson asked a top agency manager to look into the incident but did not refer it to an investigative unit that was created to review violations of standards. The episode, which took place when Obama visited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to discuss the Ebola crisis, rattled Secret Service agents.
The contractor aroused the agents' concerns when he acted oddly and did not comply with their orders to stop using a cellphone camera to record the president in the elevator. When a supervisor from the firm providing security at the CDC discovered the agents' concerns, the contractor was fired on the spot. The contractor agreed to turn over his gun, which was a surprise to agents, who had not realized that he was armed. Extensive screening is supposed to keep people with weapons or criminal histories out of arm's reach of the president. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), who heads a House subcommittee that oversees the Secret Service, said, “Words aren't strong enough for the outrage I feel for the safety of the president and his family.”