There’s lots of things that should get Congress upset starting with Russia’s increasing aggressiveness and isolation, China’s military expansion and suppression of rights, the millions of refugees driven from their homes by war, the failure of the Arab nations to fight for themselves, the looming Ebola crisis, the unfairness of the U.S. tax laws, the FBI’s secrecy, the dire condition of our infrastructure and the waste in and effectiveness of our military, to name a few issues.
These are important issues that require deep consideration and can be addressed in a bipartisan manner in the interests of all Americans. But expecting Congress to spend time on serious issue is like expecting your kid to avoid the temptations of college life. It just won’t happen.
What our Congress members like is to have an issue that amounts to little or nothing, call a hearing, and then get outraged about it. It’s all theater. The media, like the old-time circus hucksters, are guaranteed to give the greatest coverage to the most outrageous statements. Each Congress member tries to outdo the other. One or two of these happenings a session makes them feel like they are doing something.
This week we saw the act at work. The stooge, or piñata, this time was the Secret Service director, Julia Pierson a thirty year member of that service. Ms Pierson sat there under the three and a half hour constant bombardment by the members. She remained cool under fire which brought the outrage of one member who said: “I don’t sense from you, Director Pierson, a sense of outrage. A sense of mission that you want to reform and correct this cascading set of mistakes that led to, potentially, a catastrophe.” I only had wished Ms Pierson answered: “what do you want, tears?”
She had to listen while being assaulted with the words: “Stunning, Absolutely disgraceful, Outrageous, Just mind-boggling, Gross neglect, Unacceptable and Profoundly inadequate.” Our Congressman Steven Lynch who pops up at times of a gang-up as he did with Billy Bulger showed his outrage with an inane comment: “I wish you spent the time protecting the White House that you spent protecting your reputation here today.” So she’s not supposed to defend herself?
Lynch also added that he had: “low confidence in the Secret Service under your leadership.” She’s been director for less than a year and a half. She came into a real mess. It seems some Secret Service agents bristled at the idea of working for her. Nothing has happened to assail her like that.
The publicity though was invigorating to the members of Congress. They appeared on cable news showing increased ire. They continued their feigned outrage demanding Ms Pierson’s resignation.
The cause for the hearing was the September 19, 2014, breach of the White House security by a man CNN described as: ”Omar Gonzalez, a 42-year-old knife-wielding Iraq war veteran, entered an unlocked door to the executive mansion.” The only problem with the description is he was not wielding any knife (it was found in his pocket) and he ran through a door in the process of being locked. Another issue was brought up which was the 2011 incident when someone shot seven bullets at the second floor of the Whitey House. Putting that on Ms Pierson’s plate was unfair since she’s only been director since 2013.
The bottom line in all this is that the Secret Service did its job. No one was hurt by Gonzalez or the bullets. Neither incident could have been prevented unless fleet Secret Service agents were stationed every 100 yards on the White House lawn.
Gonzales jumped over the fence at the White House. He was immediately spotted and the chase was on. He made it to the entrance before he could be stopped. A female agent there was pushed out of the way by him. He was never out of sight of chasing agents. He made it to a corridor while running and down to a room where he was tackled and apprehended by at least two secret service agents.
One member found that was not enough. He wants lethal force used if anyone intrudes on the White House grounds. I hope that doesn’t include the toddler who squeezed through the fence last August 7. If that member had his way we’d have had 24 dead Americans since 1980 who were in reality no threat to anyone.
I assume if Gonzalez had demonstrated he was armed he would have been shot. He didn’t. He was handled appropriately. The 2011 shots at the window were stopped by the bullet proof glass inside the shattered glass. There was no way to stop that shooting before it happened. This hearing was unnecessary and perhaps that is why it happened.
If Congress wants to do its job it should stop faking it with these hearings where no harm has happened. If it wants to be outraged it should be about an incident where harm happened. Why no investigation of the incident involving Miriam Carey, 34, of Stamford, Ct, who allegedly tried to break the White House barrier, fled, and was shot and killed as she sat in her car at a barrier by the Capitol police. Or, if it truly wants to do its job it should bring in the FBI Director and question him about some of the failings of that agency. Can you imagine any Congressman throwing the vile adjectives at him that they did against Ms Pierson? Did they assail her like they did because she was a woman?
From all I can see the president has been well protected by the Secret Service. Congress has a penchant for ganging up on those who can’t defend themselves. I for one hope Ms Pierson will continue in the job. She’s a professional. She’s done no harm. No harm has been done.