Ex-Secret Service Director: Agency Needs To Be ‘More Like Disney World’

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October 2, 2014 11:26 a.m.

U.S. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigned Wednesday after being hammered by both lawmakers and the press for a series of embarrassing missteps committed by the President’s and White House’s security detail.

The Washington Post’s Carol D. Leonnig, who broke the news that the man who jumped the White House fence last month went far deeper into the building than the agency originally disclosed, offered more insight late Wednesday into Pierson’s tenure with the Secret Service:

In the spring, Pierson was irate at what she considered the excessive security measures her team had planned for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, which Obama hosted this summer, demanding that it dismantle extra layers of fencing and reopen closed streets, according to two agency supervisors. Supervisors who had mapped out the security plan said they were taken aback when Pierson, who worked during high school at Walt Disney World as a costumed character and park attendant, said: “We need to be more like Disney World. We need to be more friendly, inviting.”

That “Disney World” mentality also may have contributed to Pierson suggesting that the White House reduce the recommended numbers of officers patrolling the perimeter of the White House complex by a third, as the Post reported.

Pierson had been hired as director to clean house in the wake of the agency’s 2012 prostitution scandal. But one anonymous supervisor who spoke with the Post questioned how suitable she was for the top spot.

“I respect Pierson’s service, but she hasn’t been on a protective mission in two decades,” the supervisor said. “She doesn’t know anything about security planning in a post-9/11 world.”

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