Watchdog finds lapses in protection of George HW Bush’s home – Politico
The alarm system at the Houston home of former President George H.W. Bush and first lady Barbara Bush was inoperable for at least 13 months before the Secret Service fixed it, according to a report released Thursday by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general.
The redacted report is not precisely clear as to when the alarm failed, only that it “experienced a failure” in September 2013. In 2010, a security expert for the agency had recommended that the system, installed in 1993, needed a replacement. That request was denied in August 2011, the report states.
Story Continued Below
In the report, Inspector General John Roth said that Secret Service agents assigned to the Bushes’ Texas home assigned an agent to patrol the premises “in a roving post.” It also found broader issues with identifying, reporting and tracking system malfunctions as well as problems repairing and replacing systems, which Roth said “may be affecting other residences” protected by the agency.
The inspector general’s office visited the house in October 2014 after complaints that the system was broken, but the report says that the Secret Service’s Technical Security Division received a permanent replacement for the alarm in January 2014. The division installed a temporary alarm in April of last year and a more permanent one later in the fall.
“We did not determine why the equipment was not replaced in 2011 when it was originally recommended or why the alarm system obtained in January 2014 was not installed until November or December 2014,” Roth wrote.
It’s the latest episode in a series of Secret Service slip-ups, a concern shared by House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.).
“It is imperative that Director [Joseph] Clancy act swiftly on a host of fronts to restore the American people’s confidence in this agency,” Chaffetz and Cummings said in a joint statement.
In a statement posted to Twitter, the former president said he and his wife, Barbara, “have great respect for, and confidence in the men and women” of the Secret Service. “That respect and confidence has never waned.”
Bush has designated the family’s Kennebunkport, Maine, residence as the primary one for agents to permanently protect.