The top Republican and Democrat on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee are formally asking Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to conduct a "comprehensive external review" of Secret Service practices and protocol.
In a letter to Johnson on Friday, Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and ranking member Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., emphasized that any such investigation must extend beyond last month's isolated incident, where an armed intruder scaled the fence of the White House and was able to get inside the presidential residence before being apprehended — by an off-duty officer.
The two lawmakers, who famously clashed earlier this year , said Secret Service Director Julia Pierson's resignation on Wednesday evening should not preclude a larger probe, given that problems within the agency preceded her tenure. Nor should the committee's rare, mid-recess hearing on department misconduct be construed as congress closing the book on the chapter.
“Following the hearing, Director Pierson resigned, but serious questions predated her tenure as Director, and her resignation by no means resolves them," the lawmakers wrote. "While we honor Ms. Pierson’s 30 years of service to the nation, we agree that the Secret Service needs new leadership to address the grave issues it currently faces."
Issa and Cummings' request for further inquiry into the Secret Service infrastructure follows calls from other senior lawmakers for a formalized response to address outstanding issues and concerns.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said she wanted to see the launch of an independent, outside investigation. Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, has introduced legislation to establish a "blue ribbon commission" to probe the matter, which Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, has endorsed .
Read the full letter here.
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