Armed con­trac­tor with ar­rest record was on el­e­va­tor with Obama


Ase­cu­rity con­trac­tor a gun and an ar­rest record was al­lowed on an el­e­va­tor with Pres­i­dent Obama dur­ing a Septem­ber 16 trip to At­lanta, violating Se­cret Ser­vice pro­to­cols, ac­cord­ing to three peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the in­ci­dent. Obama was not told about the lapse in his se­cu­rity, th­ese peo­ple said. The Se­cret Ser­vice Di­rec­tor, Ju­lia Pier­son asked a top agency man­ager to look into the mat­ter but did not re­fer it to an in­ves­tiga­tive unit that was cre­ated to re­view vi­o­la­tions of pro­to­col and stan­dards, ac­cord­ing to two peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the han­dling of the case who spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymity.

The in­ci­dent, which took place when Obama vis­ited the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Preven­tion (CDC) to dis­cuss the US re­sponse to the Ebola cri­sis, rat­tled Se­cret Ser­vice agents as­signed to the Pres­i­dent’s pro­tec­tive de­tail.

The pri­vate con­trac­tor first aroused the agents’ con­cerns when he acted oddly and did not com­ply with their or­ders to stop us­ing a cell­phone cam­era to record the Pres­i­dent in the el­e­va­tor, ac­cord­ing to the peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the in­ci­dent.

When the el­e­va­tor doors opened, Obama left with most of his Se­cret Ser­vice de­tail. Some agents stayed be­hind to ques­tion the man and then used a na­tional data­base check that found some prior ar­rests in his his­tory turned.

When a su­per­vi­sor from the firm pro­vid­ing se­cu­rity at the CDC ap­proached and dis­cov­ered the agents’ con­cerns, the con­trac­tor was fired on the spot. Then the con­trac­tor agreed to turn over his gun — sur­pris­ing agents, who had not re­alised that he was armed dur­ing his en­counter with Obama.

Un­der Se­cret Ser­vice pro­to­cols, peo­ple with weapons, ar­rests or con­vic­tions for as­sault and re­lated of­fenses or any his­tory of men­tal ill­ness are typ­i­cally barred from hav­ing any ac­cess to the Pres­i­dent. But it ap­pears that this man, pos­sess­ing a gun, came within inches of the Pres­i­dent after un­der­go­ing no such screen­ing.

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