The Secret Service interrupted a press briefing with Press Secretary Josh Earnest in the White House Briefing Room after someone called in a bomb threat. The threat came just hours after the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee cut a meeting about TSA security short when a suspicious package was found in the Dirksen Senate Office.
Josh Earnest was in the middle of his briefing when a call came in to evacuate the Brady briefing room in the White House. Reporters were moved to a driveway that separates the West Wing from a neighboring office building. A short time later, the Secret Service relocated the press to a holding room in Eisenhower building, where Vice President Joe Biden’s office is.
After the Secret Service cleared the room, they swept it with a K-9 unit and bomb squads. Press Secretary Josh Earnest explained what happened when he took the podium again:
Shortly before 2 o’clock today a telephonic bomb threat was called into the Metropolitan police department….Based on a threat that the Secret Service received from another law enforcement agency, the press room was evacuated, [and] they quickly searched and determined that it was safe and we all came back in the room.
When the press was allowed back in the room, many of them were clearly annoyed. They wanted to know why the Secret Service would move the press, after a serious threat was called in, but not move President Obama or any other high-ranking official. They seemed incredulous that the Secret Service would only evacuate one room, as if a bomb would only destroy one room.
The Secret Service has been riddled with incompetence and scandal over the last three years. They have allowed people to scale the White House fence; one man was even able to make it into the White House. Between 2004 to 2013 there were 824 cases of misconduct within the agency. This has greatly hurt their credibility and many have questioned whether or not they can really keep Obama and other officials safe; that is what we definitely saw today when the press was allowed back into the briefing.
I have to say, only evacuating the press room seems pretty asinine. If there had actually been a bomb in the room, it surely would have caused much more damage than just one room. It’ll be interesting to see what the Secret Service has to say in the coming days. Check back with us for updates.
Watch the evacuation below:
Featured image via video screenshot