A former Romney campaign staffer is reporting that a tipsy US Secret Service agent leaked details of President Barack Obama’s campaign schedule to the Romney campaign days in advance, a breach of security protocol.
Shawn McCoy, the former Iowa communications director on the Romney campaign, described the new details in the publication Inside Sources. The Secret Service didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the report, which could become the latest shoe to drop in a series of unfolding blunders by the agency.
Citing two independent sources, McCoy reports a Secret Service agent was attempting to make advances on a Romney campaign staffer while on the ground in a “key swing state” days ahead of the president’s trip there. And in an attempt to impress the staffer, the agent then began listing off details of Obama’s schedule.
Those details the agent revealed, including the time and place of planned events, wouldn’t become public until several days afterward.
The schedule details did not affect the Romney campaign’s planning, McCoy said. Many Romney aides were sceptical as it was being passed around, because they did not know its source. But the details ended up being accurate.
Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigned on Wednesday amid a series of embarrassments and mishaps by the agency, which has come under fire from lawmakers in the wake of a Sept. 19 incident in which a man armed with a knife was able to climb over the White House fence and venture deep inside the White House.
Omar Gonzalez, the intruder inside the White House, was able to get far inside the White House, with help from the fact he was able to make it through two unlocked doors. He was eventually tackled near the Green Room after running through most of the East Room, taking a path that led him past a staircase that led to the president’s bedroom. Obama was not in the White House at the time.
The details about how far Gonzalez was able to make it inside the White House were released only in recent days, and they painted a far more troubling picture than what the agency had originally revealed.
In addition to the Sept. 19 incident, the Secret Service has also come under fire for other incidents, including one in which it took the agency five days to realise bullets had hit the White House in 2011 and another in which an armed man was allowed on an elevator with Obama last month.
Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson on Wednesday announced the formation of an independent panel to review the Sept. 19 incident.
“This panel will submit to me its own assessment and recommendations concerning security of the White House compound,” Johnson said, announcing a Dec. 15 deadline for the panel’s review.
“I will also invite the panel to submit to me recommendations for potential new directors of the Secret Service, to include recommendations of individuals who come from outside the Secret Service. I will also request that the panel advise me about whether it believes, given the series of recent events, there should be a review of broader issues concerning the Secret Service.”
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