The New White House Fence Could Wind Up Being Really, Really Tall

An independent panel has a few recommendations for the Secret Service about how to fix the presidential perimeter.

National Journal
Marina Koren
Add to Briefcase
Marina Koren
Dec. 18, 2014, 11:23 a.m.

A new review of the Secret Service has found that the agency’s problems run deeper than White House fence-jumpers. The protective service, an independent panel reported on Thursday, could use more and better-trained officers, better technology, and, most important, leadership that is not Julia Pierson.

But the fence, the one scaled by a mentally ill Iraq war veteran in September, still matters, and it can’t stay as is. The panel, which was composed of four former administration officials—two who served under Obama, two under the latest Bush—”believes strongly that the fence around the White House needs to be changed as soon as possible to provide better protection.” So, what should the new-and-improved fence guarding the seat of executive power look like?

The panelists “decline to say precisely what the optimal new fence should look like.” But you can bet it’s going to much more difficult to climb, which the reviewers say will save Secret Service officers from having to decide whether to shoot someone who does make it over. Here’s what they have in mind.

The fence should serve its purpose as a protective perimeter, but still allow tourists to comfortably gawk at the executive mansion:

Importantly, designers of the new fence must balance security concerns with the long and storied tradition of the White House being the “People’s House.” These historical, symbolic, and aesthetic factors deserve consideration, but ultimately they should not be permitted to delay or prevent a fence that could save lives.

The fence should also be bigger:

For sure, the fence must be taller; even an increase of four or five feet would be materially helpful.

It should also be impossible to climb:

Horizontal bars, where climbers can easily place feet or hands, should be eliminated or placed where they provide little assistance. The top of the fence can also be manipulated in certain ways—such as including curvature outward at the top of the fence—to make scaling it much more difficult for most.

The panelists write that all of these adjustments “can be made without diminishing the aesthetic beauty or historic character of the White House grounds.” Because nothing says aesthetic beauty like a supremely tall fence that’s bent at the top.

What We're Following See More »
TRUMP CANCELS FLORIDA TRIP
Congress Heads Back to Work to End Shutdown
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"The Senate was expected to be back in session at noon, while House lawmakers were told to return to work for a 9 a.m. session. Mr. Trump on Friday had canceled plans to travel to his private resort on Palm Beach, Fla., where a celebration had been planned for Saturday to celebrate the anniversary of his first year in office."

Source:
CLOTURE FAILS
Government Shutdown Begins, as Senate Balks at Stopgap
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"A stopgap spending bill stalled in the Senate Friday night, leading to a government shutdown for the first time since 2013. The continuing resolution funding agencies expired at midnight, and lawmakers were unable to spell out any path forward to keep government open. The Senate on Friday night failed to reach cloture on a four-week spending bill the House had already approved."

Source:
HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS IN SUSPICIOUS CHECKS FLAGGED
Mueller’s Team Scrutinizing Russian Embassy Transactions
3 days ago
THE LATEST
PRO-TRUMP SPENDING COULD VIOLATE FECA
FBI Investigating Potential Russian Donations to NRA
3 days ago
THE DETAILS

"The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency." Investigators have focused on Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank "who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA." The solicitation or use of foreign funds is illegal in U.S. elections under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) by either lobbying groups or political campaigns. The NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections.

Source:
DISCLOSURES MORE THAN DOUBLED
Mueller Investigation Leads to Hundreds of New FARA Filings
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"Hundreds of new and supplemental FARA filings by U.S. lobbyists and public relations firms" have been submitted "since Special Counsel Mueller charged two Trump aides with failing to disclose their lobbying work on behalf of foreign countries. The number of first-time filings ... rose 50 percent to 102 between 2016 and 2017, an NBC News analysis found. The number of supplemental filings, which include details about campaign donations, meetings and phone calls more than doubled from 618 to 1,244 last year as lobbyists scrambled to avoid the same fate as some of Trump's associates and their business partners."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login