Report: Armed man with criminal record was allowed on elevator with Obama
WASHINGTON — A security contractor with a gun and three convictions for assault and battery was allowed on an elevator with President Obama during a Sept. 16 trip to Atlanta, violating Secret Service protocols, The Washington Post reported Tuesday, citing “three people familiar with the incident.”
According to the newspaper, the incident, which took place when Obama visited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to discuss the U.S. response to the Ebola crisis, rattled Secret Service agents assigned to the president’s protective detail.
The Post said that 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 opened, the newspaper said, 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 turned up his criminal history.
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 realized that he was armed during his encounter with Obama.
CNN said U.S. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson, in her testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said she is responsible for briefing the president whenever there is a serious breach of his or his family’s security.
When asked how many times she had to take such action in 2014, she said it was only after the Sept. 19 incident in which a man armed with a knife jumped the White House fence and made it into the mansion’s East Room.
Not long after the hearing adjourned, the Washington Examiner and then The Washington Post reported the incident in Atlanta on Sept. 16.
An agency official confirmed the incident to CNN in which a security contractor operating an elevator at the CDC was carrying a concealed gun without the knowledge of Obama and his Secret Service detail.