White House Plagued by “Systemic Neglect” of Security Procedures

” After an Oversight Committee hearing last month in which James Knodell, the chief security officer at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., testified that the White House Security Office had done nothing to investigate the source of the Valerie Plame leak, “multiple” security officers from the White House approached Waxman to complain about the loose ship being run at the presidential residence. The security officers, who requested anonymity to avoid retaliation, had three main complaints:

–The White House regularly ignored security breaches. Security officers reported several incidents in which administration staffers left sensitive information lying around in the open. Some of the information was “Sensitive Compartmentalized Information,” the highest level of classified material. The White House Security Office ignored the violations and prevented officers from investigating.

–No West Wing inspections allowed. Security officers were denied access to the power wing of the White House, preventing them from making inspections, a power granted them under federal law. Senior White House officials actively blocked inspections.

–White House Security Office “flouted” security rules. The security officers who talked to Waxman lit into Knodell and his deputy director Ken Greeson, calling them poor managers who preferred to avoid embarrassing White House officials rather than to do their jobs. Knodell and Gresson routinely allowed people to bring cell phones or a Blackberrys into “sensitive compartmentalized information” facilities, a big no-no. Gresson also reportedly put classified information on an unsecured computer.”


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