Archive for USSS

White House lockdown was due to fence jumper

white house

According to CNN (only on broadcast, no web link yet), the lockdown at the White House took place after someone tried to jump over the White House fence. That person was taken into custody.

Previous reports seemed to indicate that the White House lockdown was due to the U.S. Capitol shooting and lockdown. However, is has since been reported that it was due to the separate incident of an attempted fence jumping at the presidential residence.

The annual 2016 White House Easter Egg Roll is taking place today, and Beyonce and Jay Z were surprise guests, along with their daughter Blue Ivy.

Previous White House Security Breaches

A man was also detained earlier this month for trying to jump the White House fence. A fence jumping also took place on Thanksgiving Day 2015.

In October 2014, a man jumped the fence onto the North Lawn and was jumped on by security dogs before being detained. In September of that year, a man was able to enter the White House and run through most of the main floor before being detained. Also that September, someone scaled the fence before being detained. In August 2014, a toddler squeezed through the fence. In March 2014, a suspect was arrested for climbing the fence.

In June 2013, a man crashed a driverless jeep into a gate on Pennsylvania Avenue as a diversion in an attempt to spray paint the side of the White House.

In 2011, a gunman was arrested in Pennsylvania in connection with shootings near the White House that included shots that were stopped by bulletproof glass in White House windows.

In 2009, a woman wearing a backpack jumped the White House fence. Also in 2009, Michaele and Tareq Salahi famously crashed a state dinner for the Indian Prime Minister at the White House.

See a complete list of White House security breaches.






Elijah Cummings leaves Secret Service hearings to go on MSNBC


Here’s how Betsy Rothstein of the Daily Caller described what happened:

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, left an important hearing Tuesday afternoon concerning the White House Secret Service for a media hit on MNSBC.

“If you want to make improvement in any relationship, there must be trust,” Cummings told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on her show at noon. “I am very concerned with Julia Pierson.”

Julia Pierson is the director of the Secret Service. Cummings continued, “I’m trying to listen very carefully, but I must tell you, my trust is eroding.”

Listening? How about heading back to the hearing to actually listen to what they’re saying?

It’s really no surprise Cummings would pull a stunt like this.

3 Secret Service Agents sent home from Amsterdam after night out drinking


Washington Post:

Three Secret Service agents responsible for protecting President Obama in Amsterdam this week were sent home and put on administrative leave Sunday after going out for a night of drinking, according to three people familiar with the incident. One of the agents was found drunk and passed out in a hotel hallway, the people said.

The hotel staff alerted the U.S. Embassy in the Netherlands after finding the unconscious agent Sunday morning, a day before Obama arrived in the country, according to two of the people. The embassy then alerted Secret Service managers on the presidential trip, which included the agency’s director, Julia Pierson.

Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan confirmed Tuesday evening that the agency “did send three employees home for disciplinary reasons” and that they were put on administrative leave pending an investigation. Donovan declined to comment further.

According to two people familiar with the Amsterdam incident, the three are members of the Secret Service’s Counter Assault Team, known in the agency as CAT.

The story goes on to say that the actions would violate new rules put in place after what happened in Cartagena.


Former Ehrlich administration official receives probation for impersonating federal agent


The Baltimore Sun reports that Robert Ballinger received three years probation in federal court today. He was also sentenced to 200 hours of community service. Ballinger previously pleaded guilty to impersonating a federal agent. Reports he “impersonated” White House military staff stemmed from him wearing a lapel pin to get into an inaugural event in DC.

Ballinger, who was an official in the administrations of both Gov. Bob Ehrlich and Gov. Martin O’Malley, was charged with impersonating a Secret Service agent at a bank in Howard County earlier this year. Ballinger used a Secret Service badge to convince bank officials to let him cash a $300 check drawn on his father’s account.

Initially it was reported that Ballinger was a congressional staffer in the office of Rep. Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania, but he was actually an unpaid intern. Additionally, Ballinger had claimed to be a top official in both the Maryland Republican Party and the Ehrlich campaign in 2010. I was the first to report that he was not on the Ehrlich campaign staff and I also speculated he had exaggerated about the Republican party role.

The Sun article confirms my initial speculation about Ballinger’s role in the GOP:

Ballinger also lists himself as “Director of Opposition Research and Communications” for the Maryland Republican Party, but Joe Cluster, the party executive director, said Ballinger volunteered for the party a few years ago and never held that high a post.

The article also reports that federal prosecutors requested that Ballinger be given three months of home detention.

More from the Baltimore Sun article:

I’ve made a big mistake in my life,” said Ballinger, a former spokesman for the Maryland Department of the Environment who ran for school board in 2004, 2010 and 2012, advancing to the general election on his last two runs. He said he had “shamed” himself and his family, and “destroyed my career” in an attempt to cash a check using a Secret Service badge that he bought on eBay.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark W. Crooks called this “a sad case, for lack of a better word.” He argued that Ballinger be sentenced to three months of home confinement.

Arguing for probation, Ballinger’s lawyer, Leslie A. Stein, agreed with Crooks’ characterization.

“He is in every sense of the word a decent, decent man” Stein said of Ballinger, who has no prior criminal record. He said Ballinger is being treated with medication for bipolar disorder and suggested his condition may have affected his judgment.

After the 45-minute proceeding, Stein said, “I think the judge showed compassion, balance and judgment.”

Van Smith of the Baltimore City Paper was the first to report on Ballinger’s charges and has done an excellent job covering the court proceedings. Today’s article was the first mention of the whole situation that I’ve seen in The Sun.

MD GOP activist Ballinger also impersonated military officer


You may recall Robert Ballinger, former Ehrlich and O’Malley administration official, who was charged earlier this year with impersonating a Secret Service agent to withdraw money from someone else’s bank account. Ballinger was actually an intern in a congressional office, despite his claim to be a paid staffer. Additionally, Ballinger was untruthful when he claimed to be a member of the Ehrlich campaign’s staff in 2010. Ballinger, who had three failed bids for office, also claimed to be a MD GOP staffer.

On September 3, Ballinger pleaded guilty to impersonating a Secret Service agent to get $3,000 out of someone else’s bank account. His sentencing is Tuesday, November 19, and he could receive up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

One thing in Van Smith’s article detailing the statement of facts attached to the guilty plea caught my eye:

Earlier, in January, the statement continues, Ballinger “attended an inaugural celebration ball in Washington, D.C., and displayed a Department of Defense credential issued to United States Armed Forces personnel who serve as full-time military staff to the President of the United States for at least one year,” though “Ballinger has never worked at the White House nor served in the United States Armed Forces.”

Ballinger purchased the badge and credential on eBay.