DHS Sec. Jeh Johnson issued a statement this afternoon on the security breach at the White House this past Friday night, and on the US Secret Service’s actions during the breach. He noted that he was awaiting the Secret Service’s review of the incident, then added the following pointed comment (emphasis added):
In the meantime, I encourage all of us to not rush to judgment about the event and not second-guess the judgment of security officers who had only seconds to act, until all the facts are in. It is important to remember that the U.S. Secret Service remains one of the best, if not the best, protection services in the world. This week it is responsible for the protection of approximately 140 heads of state or heads of government who will convene at the UN General Assembly in New York City. Last month the Secret Service provided protection for over 46 world leaders who convened in Washington for the Africa Summit, and it did so flawlessly and without incident. There is virtually no other protection service in the world that could accomplish these things.
I agree completely about not rushing to judgment on this, and think the media and Congressional furor on this could be better directed a half-dozen other more pressing homeland security and counterterrorism issues.
I also hope that DHS and the US Secret Service will avoid any temptation to over-react by further curtailing pedestrian access to the White House perimeter, such as by closing off the area on the Pennyslvania Avenue side of the White House, as this Post story indicates is potentially being contemplated. That would also be a unwise rush to judgment.