Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Utah Man Advocates Violence On Federal Property

Jason "Overwhelming Force" Chaffetz Action Figure

I was going to write up my reaction to yesterday's Oversight Committee hearing on the White House security breach, but then Salon wrote it for me:
The competition for who could make the grander spectacle of themselves was stiff. Rep. John Mica held up an ADT sign and suggested that the Secret Service buy some “inexpensive vegetation” to bolster White House security. Rep. Trey Gowdy cranked his volume knob all the way to eleven and then broke it off. But the winner has to be committee-chair-in-waiting Jason Chaffetz, who demanded to know why, when it comes to fence jumpers, the Secret Service doesn’t use “overwhelming force.”

Exactly so. If you didn't see it live, you can watch the hearing here, on C-Span.

Representative Mica's helpful suggestion to Secret Service Director Pierson was that she reinforce White House security with Spanish Bayonet, a plant that grows in the desert and on sand dunes and which is used as a landscape accent in his home state of Florida. Okay, yeah, thanks.

Representative Gowdy is still the loudest man in Congress. Still annoying, but that's nothing new.

Representative Jason Chaffetz, however, might have broken new ground with his histrionics about wanting "overwhelming force" exerted against any and all White House intruders (no matter how small?). I think he even teared up a little when he said, more than once, that if any Secret Service agent used lethal force "I will have his back." I don't know what he means by that, but he seemed to think it was a muy macho thing to say.

The only grown-up at the hearing was former Secret Service Director Basham, whose opening statement cautioned that, had this latest fence-jumper been shot, the Committee might very well have been grilling Pierson over why her troops killed a mentally disabled veteran who was displaying no obvious weapon. Of course, had that happened, the agent who fired would be reassured to know that Jason Chaffetz will have his back - what does that mean? - while he goes through the criminal, civil, administrative, and personal consequences of using deadly force.

After all the bloodthirsty shouting at that hearing, it seems awfully mild and mundane to go back to the business of the White House's weak perimeter fence. But, there was this interesting article in the WaPo a few days ago in which a National Park Service spokeswoman said that the Secret Service has never given NPS any security standards or criteria for the fence, or even shown any interest in what NPS does with it:

The fence itself is 7 feet 6 inches tall. It is made of evenly spaced iron bars, mounted in a Virginia sandstone base. At the top of the bars — the last physical obstacle between the public sidewalk and the knob on the White House door — are little spear points, called finials.

We haven’t done any other work since 1965,” said Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles, a spokeswoman for the National Park Service, which owns the fence (the White House is technically located in a national park).

And Anzelmo-Sarles said the Park Service couldn’t remember anyone — the Secret Service, the White House, anyone — asking for the fence to be changed. In fact, the Park Service is in the middle of a project that will repaint the old fence and remove the rust, without changing anything else.

“There’s no sort of tension or anything like that in recent memory” over the design of the fence, she said.

That article was published September 23. I hope there has been some tension between NPS and the Secret Service since then.


Anonymous said...

Great post TSB! I really thought Mica was hilarious when he pulled out that
ADT sign and explained how for $19.95 a month he knows immediately when his house comes under gunfire. I have an ADT sign out front too, inherited in 1994 from the previous owner. Mine doesn't detect gunfire.. just prevents it (exept for the roof) and scares away Zebras. gwb

Anonymous said...

TSB: R.Admiral John Kirby on CNN says he's heard reports that mortars are landing on the Green Zone but he's not surprised and can't confirm. Wolf didn't ask him what he thought of the new Russian SU-27's or whether that's anything to worry about. (they are both still pretending that we are advising the Iraqi's) gwb

Anonymous said...

TSB: I missed this one at yesterday's hearing. One congressman prefaced his remarks with: "As much as I find it difficult to say that this 1st family deserves SS protection"... that might have been your rep but don't quote me.
Just sayin.. they let all the dogs out yesterday. gwb

Anonymous said...

TSB: Did you see this one? (as long as we are talking about raising morale.
Burn Bag

|9/25/14| "A fun little fact on U.S. Diplomatic Couriers: The department is so concerned with cutting costs that they are implementing policies to not pay couriers for hours worked while on official travel. Even Peter The Great paid his couriers well. They should be paid from door to door
No?? And also a % for how hard the doors are to open. gwb

Anonymous said...

TSB:My clients are in a bit of trouble.
Afghan soldiers who left Cape Cod base sought refuge from Taliban in Canada
Three officers who took a taxi from a Walmart to the Canadian border say they are targets at home and ‘reborn’ by hopes-Guardian

If they had called me sooner I would have told them to head to DC and the Russian Embassy or if pursued, straight for the WH fence. (don't worry about the dogs!) Now all they have on their side is the law and we know how much that's worth. You should have seen their faces when I told em I wasn't really a lawyer. gwb

James said...

TSB: I forgot to ask, but is this a photo of your PSE outfit for onsite inspections?

Anonymous said...

TSB: This is the new smart look for work and travel. (not yet for the links). When we see John Kerry in one we will no that the end is near. gwb

TSB said...

James: PSE? No need for it. Like Blanche DuBois, I rely on the kindness of strangers when I travel.

Anonymous said...

James: Don't listen to him. When State gets those outfits in fall colors TSB will grab one that compliments his greatcoat. BTW Turkey has now agreed to allow NATO to use their bases to attack
ISIS and might even send in their own troops and tanks to crush the bastards.

James said...

Heh! Now according to OSHA that's being very naughty. As you know it's "Fall protection, a system, an attitude, a way of life".

Anonymous said...

TSB- When Hollande tells the Russians their Mistral Ships deal is suspended.......He's just kidding!!
Probably just needed to check with his wife?.. mistress?..girlfriend? Sarkozy?
Sarkozy's girlfriend? ... well anyway
Joe Biden had a talk with him and....
Russia and France strike deal on Mistral
Published time: June 17, 2011 18:57 gwb

Anonymous said...

TSB: James; I'm not trying to say the Afghan Army has leadership or morale problems problems but...

Afghan army death rate spikes 30 per cent By AP Published about 5 hours ago
(Thanks to a $4.4 billion payment they will continue to receive their salaries
and the finest training and equipment.. well, not equipment.. from 10,000 US troops who don't want to be caught dead with them! gwb)

TSB said...

GWB: Now, now, leave poor Hollande alone. The guy has lots of current and former wives and girlfriends. So? Have you ever googled pics of his ex, Segolene Royal? She's one year older than me but she is absolutely Chaud! I wish I knew Hollande's secret for hooking up with the hottest Euro-lefty chicks.

Anonymous said...

TSB! Ok, you win! Yes I have 'Binged' Segolene Royal. It was love at first sight.. especially that gown that looks like a negligee. And anyone who defeats Domonique Straus Kahn, doesn't like the Sarkozy's and has been labeled a Luddite is great in my book. I like the part where she sues her dad over his divorce and wins (in 6 years) for her mom and her education. gwb