Amid the panic surrounding the White House and Capitol Evacuation, a few startling issues have come to light. Instead of alerting the President immediately, White House officials chose to let him finish out a bike ride in Maryland first. Apparently members of the President’s security detail had decided he need not be informed because there was no danger to him. So the Secret Service agents did not consult with White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card Jr. or other senior administration officials.
The decision has been justified by claiming “the protocols that were in place after September 11th were followed. The President was never considered to be in danger because he was at an off-site location. The President has a tremendous amount of trust in his Secret Service detail.” But one would think that in the event that F-16 fighter jets are deployed in our nation’s capital, our own president should know about it. There is no problem with the President taking a bike-ride after a long European trip, which unfortunately caused him to go to bed past 9:00 pm. There is no problem if the President wants to sneak off to read the racy Tom Wolfe novel I Am Charlotte Simmons. But there should be a system in place to contact him in the event of an emergency.
Fortunately, this incident did not end similarly to Sept 11, but had the threat been real, we now know that the man elected to make crucial decisions would not have been there to do so in a timely and responsive way.
– Jay Heidbrink