Secret Service Is Asking For $8 Million To Build A Fake White House
Secret Service director Joseph Clancy has admitted that his agents aren't as familiar as they should be with the environment they are trusted to defend.
This is why he's asking the House Appropriations Committee for $8 million to build a replica of the White House, where agents will simulate protection measures, according to The New York Times.
If approved, the structure will be built in Beltsville, MD, which is 20 miles from the actual White House.
Clancy plans to tell lawmakers that the agency is not properly equipped in terms of accurate training models.
A statement obtained by The Times reads,
The Secret Service currently uses a rudimentary, not-to-scale simulation of the north grounds of the White House, using bike barricades to act as the fencing. There are no structures, vehicle gates, lighting or other aids to enhance the training simulations.
Whether this replica will have the exact dimensions of the entire White House has not been revealed, but the general idea seems to be a realistic re-creation of the exterior of the building, most notably its East and West Wings.
It will also be enclosed by areas meant to resemble the White House grounds and the bordering roads on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Most details are unclear because they haven't been outlined in an official diagram yet.
The proposal is largely attributed to a break-in last September, in which a man was able to get past numerous guards and run amok in the White House's first floor.
Armed with a knife, Omar Gonzalez made it into the East Room, where presidential addresses are typically held, and passed the stairway leading to the president's living quarters.
Security experts suggested building a higher fence outside the White House but eventually concluded the “problems exposed by recent events go deeper than a new fence can fix.”
The Secret Service was then told its agents should spend more training “in conditions that replicate the physical environment in which they will operate," The New York Times reports.
Clancy's request also comes just days after two Secret Service agents allegedly drunkenly drove through the scene of a bomb investigation on White House grounds.