Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Ex-Secret Service Agent: Obama 'Absolutely Not Telling the Truth' on White House Tours
In an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, Obama said the decision, made as a part of sequestration, was not one “that went up to the White House.”
“But what the Secret Service explained to us was that they’re going to have to furlough some folks,” Obama said in the interview. What furloughs mean is--is that people lose a day of work and a day of pay. And, you know, the question for them is, you know, how deeply do they have to furlough their staff and is it worth it to make sure that we’ve got White House tours that means that you got a whole bunch of families who are depending on a paycheck who suddenly are seeing a 5% or 10%--reduction in their pay. Well, what I’m asking them is are there ways, for example, for us to accommodate school groups--you know, who may have traveled here with some bake sales. Can we make sure that– kids, potentially, can--can still come to tour?”
Bongino, who served 12 years in the Secret Service including five years working directly at the White House before leaving to run as a Republican for U.S. Senate in Maryland, said Obama is lying because the Secret Service does not make such decisions.
“The Secret Service does not make political decisions,” Bongino said. “The Secret Service makes security decisions. His statement that it was a Secret Service decision internal budget decision--and keep in mind, I’m not speaking for the Secret Service, I’m speaking from experience of being with them. All he’d have to do is cancel one or two of his political trips and his Martha’s Vineyard vacation, which two years ago I was on and helped coordinate, he would save that money times ten. There was just no way this was a sound decision. To insinuate this is the first administration where the White House social office and the Executive Office of the President had no role in cancelling public tours at the White House, that he was the first president who was left out of the decision, is absolute nonsense.”
Bongino said he thinks the president is using “the Washington Monument strategy”--a ploy by a politician who tries to garner public opposition to spending cuts by eliminating popular public services first--in doing this to White House tours. “He wanted to inflict, there is no question in my mind, maximum pain upon the American people. But here’s the caveat: it had to be public pain. If you don’t see it, it doesn’t hurt.”
But Bongino said all the public pressure Obama has taken for the decision to cancel the tours caused the ploy to “backfire.” Regardless, the ex Secret Service agent who served three years at the George W. Bush White House and two years at Obama’s White House said Obama still will not admit he was wrong and is now trying to blame the Secret Service for his own behavior.
“Instead of coming clean and being honest with the American people that your office and likely you as well had a role in this, he’s again pulling the wool over your eyes just like he’s done on Benghazi, the immigration release [of thousands of illegal immigrants] where he said he didn’t know and Janet Napolitano said she didn’t know, this is nonsense,” Bongino said. “These are not security or budget decisions. These are strictly political decisions. Make no mistake about it.”
Bongino said the Secret Service is not correcting Obama because the agency has “a great, elite group of guys and they’re always going to take it on the chin.”
“I don’t speak for them but they’re obviously a patriotic group of men and women and they’re not lying when they say there will be overtime costs saved so it’s not like they’re being disingenuous,” Bongino said.
“They’re trying to cover for this guy, I think, because they know it looks bad and they don’t want to get involved in the politics and I don’t blame them.”