The 6 Dumbest Things We Just Learned The Secret Service Did
It's been more than 50 years since the last time a president died while the Secret Service was babysitting him, though clearly they've dumb-fuck-lucked their way into that winning record, because according to a recent Congressional investigation, the Service has melted down into an "agency in crisis," ruled by chaos, disorganization, low morale, brutal incompetence, drunken lushes, and computer systems that crash when you try to play Pong. Picture a broken-down 7-Eleven in a bad neighborhood, replace the scratch cards and Slurpees with the most powerful person in the world, and you've basically nailed how the Secret Service operates.
Everyone currently running for president: Thanks for reading Cracked, but are you sure you want this job? Because here's what the bozos in charge of keeping you alive have been up to lately ...
They Let An Armed Security Guard Get Into An Elevator With The President And Take Pictures Of Him
Maybe the Secret Service can worry about only one thing at a time, because after listening to Obama give a speech on Ebola at the Centers for Disease Control, they completely let their guard down when they let Obama get into an elevator. And no, it's not because he's claustrophobic and is always worrying that the elevator is going to get stuck; it was because the guy operating it was armed, and no one had any idea.
Only Secret Service members and officers are allowed to carry weapons around the president, for obvious reasons. This guy didn't get a special permission slip or anything -- quite simply, nobody bothered to check him, or even screen him prior to allowing him to chill next to the president for a few floors. If they had, they would've uncovered a guy arrested three times for violent behavior -- including once for shooting at a moving car with a 3-year-old girl inside. With that kind of past, the closest this guy should've gotten to a president was pulling some money out of his wallet.
And there's violent offense number four.
Once the president got off, the elevator operator decided to follow him and take pictures. Now, if you were a Secret Service agent and noticed the shifty elevator guy stalking the president, you'd probably tackle him, break his phone and the hand that held it, and immediately order your fellow officers to surround the president and ensure his safety, right? Well, no, you wouldn't do that, because you're in the Secret Service and you are shockingly irresponsible. They actually just let the guy take picture after picture of their boss, presumably because he was just so excited to do it. Normal people don't tell children there's no Santa Claus; these guys don't tell weirdos with cellphones not to Instagram the president.
Yes, Virginia, there is a flattering filter.
Upon returning to his elevator and realizing he had nobody to elevate, he returned for yet another photo session, in case he hadn't properly captured Obama's good side. FINALLY, a Secret Service member realized this guy shouldn't be there and kicked him out. But, even then, they didn't know about the gun until later, when the guy's boss learned of what had happened and ordered the man to turn in his weapon.
At this point, the Secret Service had only one skin-saving option left: Don't tell the president. And they even fucked that up -- director Julia Pierson insisted, in sworn testimony, that she briefed the president "100 percent of the time" after a security breach and that she had briefed the president about only one security breach that year (but didn't mentioned the elevator story). Hours later, the media mentioned the elevator story. This is why Julia Pierson has lots of free time lately.
It Took A Couple Housekeepers To Notice Somebody Shot Up The White House ... Four Days Prior
It's rare that someone shoots at the White House (don't take that as a challenge), but you would still think that the Secret Service would absolutely be prepared for days like Nov. 11, 2011, when somebody did. And yet, on that day, the agency reacted exactly like a confused dog who just farted himself out of a sound sleep.
Oscar Ortega-Hernandez was a terrorist who considered himself Jesus, on a "mission from God" to murder President Obama, whom he deemed the "anti-Christ." The Good Lord's weapon of choice was an assault rifle, with which he fired at least eight bullets into the White House. Fortunately, neither the president nor the first lady were home. Unfortunately, Sasha Obama was, with Malia due back at any time. Even more unfortunately, the Secret Service -- who heard shots and even had one come within 20 feet of them -- completely dismissed the incident. "No shots have been fired. Stand down," ordered the supervising agent, who concluded that nearby construction equipment had simply backfired. Eight times.
"And if anything else happens while I'm off getting sloshed at the Chug & Spew, it's also construction."
Eventually (as in four fucking days later), they realized the sounds didn't come from the rusted-out muffler of a shitty old tractor. And by "they," I mean Obama's housekeepers and ushers. They found the evidence of an attempted assassination, not anybody trained to do so. An usher named Reginald Dickson found broken glass, holes in the windows, and a piece of wood with a bullet still lodged in it. Another housekeeper found busted concrete nearby. Realizing this wasn't the typical mess caused by rambunctious preteens, they reported it to the Secret Service, who only then realized how massively they had fucked up. Luckily, Machine Gun Jesus was just as shitty at being a fugitive, and he was swiftly arrested and sentenced to 25 years in prison.
He died inside for our sins.
So what's worse than Alfred accidentally doing Batman's job for him? How about the Service's inspection branch waiting THREE YEARS to investigate this incident, and only doing so because the Washington Post reported on it first? And then waiting a month after THAT to actually begin, you know, investigating?
Two Drunk-Driving Agents Interfered With A Bomb Squad Attempting To Save The White House From Exploding
On March 4, 2013, a couple of Secret Service agents attended a party and got plastered. Fine. Even ultra-serious government types deserve to get loose every now and again. Agents Mark Connelly and George Ogilvie were celebrating the retirement of a fellow agent and drinking everybody under the table while doing so. Ogilvie alone purchased "eight glasses of Scotch, two vodka drinks, one glass of wine, and three glasses of beer." This was right before he and Connelly climbed into his government car and started cruising. What, was Connelly too drunk to drive, so Ogilvie drunk-drove for him? What a pal.
If not for that act of charity, this man might not have been alive to half-ass his job any longer.
Naturally, this story gets worse, as Ogilvie made a pit stop at the White House, because nothing says professional like banging on your boss' door with your brain drowning in fermented fruit and grain.
Castle Obama was under a Code Yellow at the time, thanks to a woman named Heather Brookins leaving behind what she claimed was "a fucking bomb." The plastered agents didn't know this, so when they approached the White House and were met with a bomb-induced barricade, they did what felt right: drove straight the fuck through it. They drove through police tape, roadblocks, barrels, a bike rack, and even sounded their sirens and air horn, because suck it, Gandalf, they shall pass. Ultimately, they drove within inches of the supposed bomb, presumably attributing the panic around them to their fellow agents beating themselves up over having missed the crazy-awesome rager down the street.
"Hey buddy, we would 'TURN BACK! TURN BACK!' but the party's already over."
They finally stopped about a hundred yards later and admitted to officers they were drunk. And yet, nobody arrested them, because their goddamn supervisor forbade it. This is presumably the same supervisor who forgot to report the incident to literally anybody. Secret Service director Joe Clancy only learned about it thanks to an anonymous email almost a week later.
If Hollywood's stuck on a plot for Horrible Bosses 3, there's some inspiration.
A Guy Bypassed Security And Even Spoke With The President By Pretending To Be A U.S. Congressman
On Sept. 27, 2014, President Obama attended the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's annual awards dinner and took backstage photos with any member of Congress who wanted one. One unidentified man decided that getting elected and serving the American people was too much work, but he still wanted to give the leader of the free world bunny ears, so he had to get backstage somehow. His solution: saunter up to the Secret Service guards at the entrance and identify himself as Donald Payne Jr., 10th Congressional District representative from New Jersey.
That's the sad smile of a man whose district will forever be Better Unknown.
Amazingly, this plot -- which was only slightly less stupid than Bugs Bunny throwing on a dress and Elmer Fudd immediately sporting a massive boner -- worked perfectly. Instead of checking some sort of list, asking for ID, or even Googling this guy's name, the Secret Service apparently determined only one black man on Earth can rock the Doctor Who bow tie, therefore this must be the right guy. They let him through doing less background investigation than you would on someone hitting on you at a bar. Once backstage, he tracked down the president and actually managed to speak with him. Shit, even Oswald couldn't get that close.
And neither could Johnson, the FBI, the CIA, the KGB, the Mafia, the Moon men, you and me, the Cubans ...
Eventually, someone did realize this guy didn't belong: a White House staffer. As in, not someone paid to keep the president safe. No word on the exact size of the asshole that Obama tore his security team, but I'm guessing they now have a body cavity that fits headshots of all 435 congresspeople. Not that the Secret Service will admit their faux pas -- a spokesman insists everybody did their job and that "this guy went through security, fully screened." Apparently, screening for the right people was above their pay grade.
The Personal Data Of Countless Civilians Was Stored In An Easily Bypassed '80s DOS System
So the SS agents are largely trash. But at least their technology has to be top-of-the-line, right? OK, by now you know the answer to that is no, but I promise you have no idea how unbelievably bad it is. Until November of 2015, they relied on a program called Master Central Index, whose sexalicious homepage looked like this:
They've since formed an exploratory committee to look into the possibility of upgrading to Windows 95.
That's neither a Photoshop nor a joke, though this being the best our government has to offer admittedly deserves a whimpering, defeated chuckle or two.
If you've ever been investigated by the Secret Service for anything (like, say, jokes about pummeling presidents), all your personal information -- birth date, Social Security number, phone numbers, addresses, and probably your innermost hopes and dreams -- was stored in an outdated, '80s-style DOS program protected by literally nothing but a username and password. The program was so old, it wasn't even "naturally auditable," which means you couldn't just log in and find out if any unauthorized hooligan agents accessed the records. The Secret Service themselves had to create a separate computer script to conduct searches, and Lord knows what program they used to write those things. My money's on the Harwell Dekatron.
If justice don't get you, death from old age will.
Shockingly, a top-secret database run via honor system has seen its share of unscrupulous agents abuse it for their own, extraordinarily selfish and stupid gains. In 2013, for example, an agent used the MCI to find the personal data of a woman he had once asked out on a date. He then sought a second chance by flying from his NYC office to California, knocking on her door, and asking her out. Amazingly, she didn't immediately drop her panties at his advanced stalking techniques, but instead called the cops.
Or how about April of 2015, when 45 agents used the MCI to dig for dirt on Congressman Jason Chaffetz, looking for revenge for his investigations into the Secret Service that spawned the report that spawned the article you're currently neglecting your family over. Their own director, Joseph Clancy, publicly calling this event "reprehensible, disturbing, [and] embarrassing" didn't help, either, though nobody's sure if he was talking about the snooping, or the computersaurus they did it on. Probably both.
Director Clancy, seen here wondering if that Dairy Queen application he filled out in 1962 is still good.
So when exactly did the once feared and respected Secret Service devolve into a gaggle of barely warm bodies, worse at focusing on their job than a pro wrestling referee? Around the time the people who hired them became shit at their jobs too, apparently ...
Their Hiring System Is Horrific ... And Revolves Around A Lie Detector Test
Part of the problem is that after the Secret Service merged with Homeland Security it lost a ton of funding and a bunch of agents. But now they are preparing to fix that by hiring 1,100 new people, along with the 285 Congress forced them to hire last July.
As with all serious employment opportunities, the first step in this process is to weed through applications sent in by people who read a URL on the bumper of a squad car. Seriously.
Our leader's life could be in the hands of some tailgater sporting Truck Nutz and a Peeing Calvin decal.
That's one step above an intern dancing around D.C. with a sandwich board reading, "WANNA PROTECT THE PREZ? SIGN UP HERE!!" while dressed up as the Statue of Liberty. Even the Congressional report rolled its bureaucratic eyes and sighed eternally: "It does not help that, instead of spending the time to target qualified applicants, USSS advertises for open positions on the back of their government vehicles."
Also, small details like background checks and "Are you a citizen?" don't appear until months into the application process, after the agency has already spent untold amounts of money processing it. In many cases, they only come after extending a job offer.
Of course, those elite percent of a percent that get offered a job aren't even the best candidates, just the ones that are best at filling out paperwork and passing a polygraph. Yes, A FUCKING POLYGRAPH. In 2015, the agency dedicated to protecting our country's leader still vets its job applicants using the same inadmissible-in-court quack machine that Maury uses to determine who Daddied and who didn't. Why not pay some Wonder Woman cosplayer to use her Lasso of Truth on all potential hires while you're at it? She might have actually caught the agent who got hired (and even received security clearance) despite not actually being a U.S. citizen. Oh, he said he was, and he did so confidently enough that the lie detector didn't catch him, but that didn't change the fact that he didn't actually get around to becoming a citizen until 2010, years after he got the job.
His results also confirmed that he totally banged Selena Gomez and she loved it, bro.
They're in such a rush to hire people, not only do they hire the wrong ones, they then toss them into important positions before they have the security authorization to be there. Unless they are all lying from application to hire, that's apparently the Golden Ticket to more clearance than the Neptunians who run Area 51*.
*I have just been informed by [REDACTED] that there are no Neptunians, or that the Neptunians are our friends. I forget which one. Either way, nothing to worry about, sorry to have startled you. Go back to sleep.
We've had our run-ins with the Secret Service before. See the showdown between them and Dan O'Brien in How A Comedy Article Got Me Placed On The No-Fly List, and learn why the bumbling Secret Service would be no match for Canadian Mounties in 6 Organizations You Didn't Know Were Secretly Badass. Just more evidence that Canada is clearly positioning themselves for a hostile takeover of America.
Also follow us on Facebook, because the president is watching you and he wants to make sure that you're a fan of Cracked.