Representative Louie Gohmert (R-TX) asked Joseph Clancy, acting director of the Secret Service, about the security fence surrounding the White House during a House Judiciary Hearing on Wednesday. Gohmert commented that the perception of invulnerability at the White House is an illusion due to the multitude of trespassers who have been able to jump over the fence.
Drawing a comparison with the nation’s southern border, Gohmert said the current 7-and-a-half foot perimeter fence around the White House is more about appearances than actual protection.
Gohmert recalled that former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano scrapped the $3 billion virtual border fence, writing it off as “worthless.” Using that logic, the Texas Congressman made a half-serious recommendation to remove the fence from around the White House:
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Well, you know the secretary has said a number of times, Secretary Napolitano, the fence was worthless. ‘You put a 10-foot fence up, somebody’s going to build a 12-foot ladder.’ So I would think that if the administration is going to be consistent, it’s now time to remove the fence from around the White House. Because if it isn’t good enough for our border, it shouldn’t be good enough for the White House.
Gohmert was not being completely serious with the acting Secret Service director; yet he wanted Clancy to understand his analogy that an adequate fence will provide a shield of protection.
So I would ask you to consider that consistency and also consider the fact that maybe there really is some real virtue in having a fence that slows people down.
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The security at the White House goes beyond the fence. There is a system of foot patrols, bike patrols, and surveillance systems, as well as intelligence and countermeasures to keep the executive mansion secure.
The Secret Service’s most visible mission is to protect high level politicians and their families. The protection of the nation’s borders is a function of the U.S. Border Patrol. Both agencies are components of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The Secret Service was transferred from the Department of the Treasury to DHS on March 1, 2003.
Image credit: Getty images
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