He didn’t say whether the mock White House would have break-away security barricades for drunk trainees to crash into.
NBC News reports that in the wake of a number of Secret Service security lapses, including one last year in which a White House fence-jumper made it deep inside the president’s residence, Director Joseph Clancy told a House Appropriations subcommittee yesterday that his agents would be able to “train more efficiently” if they had access to a “mock-up” White House at their Beltsville, Md., facility. The cost to taxpayers? A cool $8 million.
Training, Clancy goes on to say in the video that follows, is currently conducted in a parking lot, which — when you get down to cases — just doesn’t look that much like the White House. Said Clancy, “We don’t have, on that parking lot, the bushes, we don’t have the fountains, we don’t get a realistic look.”
Granted, $8 million in the grand scheme of things is less than a drop in the bucket, but it would seem as though with a little imagination Clancy, who was permanently appointed only last month, could strike a compromise between Hollywood-set reality and a parking lot. There is no denying that the Secret Service does a vitally important job. But at a time when members of Congress from both sides of the aisle are wondering if the agency’s leadership is up to the job, the last thing the new director should be asking for is a more realistic playhouse.
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