Some of the male panelists on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" wondered Wednesday whether Secret Service director Julia Pierson hadn't been dismissed over recent revelations of serious security lapses because of her gender.
Panelist Donny Deutsch, acknowledging that he wasn't exactly taking a "delicate" approach to the subject, said that promoting women into positions of authority shouldn't be prioritized over competence.
"We need to be careful that we are never, ever throwing the baby out with the bath water as far as the best person always has to get the job," he said. "As we kind of go through her resume, you go 'Obviously, coming off the prostitute scandal, okay, yeah, women on top makes sense, good for the brand, if you will.' But the brand doesn’t work if it’s not competent."
"In positions of national security, quota second, competency first," he added
going to fix a problem that has become rampant in not only that branch of government but in all branches.
Low morale is a crock of shyt. They are paid a very good wage.
J. David Cox, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, said federal employees have been the target of attacks for more than four years that have required them to contribute more to their pensions and endure furloughs.
“They are sick and tired of simultaneously being Congress’ and the administration’s punching bag and ATM,” he said.
Pierson also rejected an internal study’s recommendations that the White House have a total of about 100 countersurveillance officers to patrol the perimeter of the complex. She suggested cutting the recommended number by a third. And Pierson had agreed to shrink key units in the agency, including the number of officers from the uniformed division who guard the White House complex.
In her 18 months in charge, Pierson also became the subject of derision among some lower-level agents for accommodating the White House staff’s wishes for less-cumbersome security over the warnings of her tactical teams.
In the spring, Pierson was irate at what she considered the excessive security measures her team had planned for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, which Obama hosted this summer, demanding that it dismantle extra layers of fencing and reopen closed streets, according to two agency supervisors. Supervisors who had mapped out the security plan said they were taken aback when Pierson, who worked during high school at Walt Disney World as a costumed character and park attendant, said: “We need to be more like Disney World. We need to be more friendly, inviting.”
“I respect Pierson’s service, but she hasn’t been on a protective mission in two decades,” said one supervisor who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “She doesn’t know anything about security planning in a post-9/11 world.”
On a presidential trip this past spring to the Netherlands, Pierson told several counterassault team members stationed at posts in the president’s hotel to move to more remote locations and put their weapons in bags, causing the sharpshooters to worry that their reaction time would be hampered in an emergency.
And this week, Pierson personally ordered that a downtown Washington street be left open near a hotel where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was staying. Secret Service teams have insisted on the closure for years because Netanyahu is considered one of the most sought-after international targets.