A White House Moat? Well, If The Secret Service Won't Do Its Job Right, Says Rep. Steve Cohen
Hey, people probably laughed at Steve Jobs when he first suggested the iPad. Sometimes it takes a really out-there idea to change the world — or at least solve the issue at hand. That may have been the motivation behind Representative Steve Cohen's suggestion of a moat for the White House in order to heighten security measures. Rep. Cohen offered his idea during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the effectiveness of the United States Secret Service. The best part is that acting Secret Service director Joseph Clancy seemed to consider it for a second. I guess it's always good to think outside the box.
On Wednesday, acting Director Clancy testified before the House Judiciary Committee on a security breach incident that occurred in September. On September 19, an intruder, Omar Gonzalez, scaled the fence outside the White House and was able to make it as far as the East Room, evading — and even overpowering — Secret Service agents in the process. Gonzalez was armed with a knife at the time. In October, another intruder jumped the fence and ran about 25 yards onto the lawn before being subdued. As a result, Clancy met with the committee and Congress members to identify shortcomings in the Secret Service's policies and procedures and examine how to improve security measures.
Apparently, the hearing was more urgent than they thought, because the very same day, another man was arrested near the White House, this time with a rifle and ammunition. So, yeah, the Secret Service needs to take a long, hard look at beefing up security. Clancy admitted the deficiencies, but also emphasized the importance of preserving the White House in its present condition as best as they can.
Without question, the agency has been severely damaged in recent years by failures.... We recognize the historic nature of the White House and how the American people should have access to the White House.
Rep. Cohen, a Democrat serving Tennessee's 9th congressional district, offered one:"Would a...moat —" Cohen said, perhaps somewhat self-consciously, before Clancy interrupted."A moat?" Clancy double-checked if he heard right."Water, six feet around...[could] be kind of attractive and effective?"It's unclear whether Clancy seriously considered the idea or if he was just humoring the Congressman when he said, "Sir, it may be."
Let's just take a moment here to envision a moat around the White House. Would it have alligators? Piranhas? If you're going to install a defense mechanism most commonly associated with medieval castles and Robin Hood, you might as well go all out and splurge on sharks, right? Definitely. And the White House door will only be accessible via a draw bridge, obviously.
But then Clancy reminded the committee that the solution mustn't compromise the appearance and essence of the White House, which, you know, a moat might do.
That's our first step, to see if we can do something that would still be appeasing to the eye and keep the historical nature of the White House.
That's when Cohen shot back:
Like a higher fence? Because this guy got further in the White House than some of my Republican colleagues have ever gotten.
Zing! Looks like Cohen was on fire that day.
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