The White House lockdown that began before dawn Tuesday morning has ended.
The cause of the White House lockdown was a suspicious package that was left unattended in Lafayette Park across the street.
The president and first lady are in India, so there wasn’t an immediate threat to them. It is not known if the first daughters were home at the time.
An explosive ordinance disposal unit examined the package, but nothing hazardous was discovered and the lockdown was quickly lifted.
Press secretary Josh Earnest said at a news conference earlier Tuesday, “There is a device that has been recovered by the Secret Service at the White House. The early indications are that it does not pose any sort of ongoing threat to anybody at the White House.”
This is the latest in what seems to be a string of careless mistakes made by secret service agents, which have resulted in four of the agency’s highest-ranking executives being reassigned earlier this month.
The most embarrassing incident took place last year, when a Texas man armed with a knife was able to get over a White House fence in September. He was then able to run deep into the executive mansion before being subdued.
Director Julia Pierson was forced to resign after that incident.
An independent panel was called on to investigate the agency’s leadership and practices in the wake of the September incident, as well as a previously unreported security breach earlier that month.
That panel recommended hiring a new director from outside the agency.
And that was just the beginning. In November, the Homeland Security Department released an internal investigation about the fence-scaling incident.
That report concluded that poor training, unresponsive staff, and a series of missteps allowed the fence jumper to get as far as he did.
What is your opinion on the adequacy of the Secret Service? Do you think they are at fault for the lockdown?