Allowing a mental-health patient with violent tendencies to stand next to the president of the United States was a “major security lapse,” charges a former member of President Obama’s elite Presidential Protective Division of the Secret Service.
“We need to re-evaluate dignitary protection for our people overseas,” said Dan Bongino, author of the newly released book “Life Inside the Bubble: Why a Top-Ranked Secret Service Agent Walked Away from It All.”
Bongino told WND in an interview today that because of his experience, he has been against the president going on short-notice trips that require a compression of the security-verification timeline.
Without the time it takes to do a thorough check, the Secret Service must rely to a large extent on the host government’s security forces, he said.
“I think these (short-notice) trips are a mistake,” Bongino told WND. “I think sooner or later something is going to happen. I think the president is going to get hurt on one of these trips overseas.”
He recalled that he had five days to do a preliminary security trip to Prague in 2010 for Obama’s signing of the START treaty with Russia. Ideally, he said, he and his colleagues would have had 20 to 25 days to prepare.
The sign-language interpreter for Obama and other world leaders at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service Tuesday, Thamsanqa Jantjie, said in interviews published today he frequently has been violent and was hospitalized in a mental health facility for more than a year. He said he is officially classified as disabled by the government because of his schizophrenia.
Jantjie, who has been accused of using fake signs that amounted to gibberish, said he suffered a schizophrenic episode while on stage in which he had visions of angels.
Bongino noted there also were problems at the Mandela memorial site, FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, with the magnetometer security screening checkpoints.
“These are really serious security failures on [South Africa's] part,” he said. “I don’t know if we can place that degree of trust in some of these international security teams any more.”
The Secret Service can fill in the holes on longer trips, he noted, and bring in other assets, such as military personnel.
“On short trips like this, it’s impossible to catch everything,” he said. “And I think we need to be willing to pull the plug on it.”
The South African government reportedly was investigating whether the interpreter had been vetted before the memorial.
In an interview with Johannesburg’s Star newspaper, Jantjie said it was possible that the magnitude of the event triggered the purported schizophrenic episode in which he started hearing voices and hallucinating.
He told the South African paper he then lost concentration and it was all downhill from there.
“There was nothing I could do. I was alone in a very dangerous situation,” he said. “I tried to control myself and not show the world what was going on. I am very sorry. It’s the situation I found myself in.”
Bongino, who resigned from the Presidential Protective Division in 2011, joined the Secret Service in 1999 as a special agent assigned to investigate financial crimes.
In 2006, he became a member of the Presidential Protective Division in the administration of President George W. Bush and remained on protective duty during the change in administration to Obama.
Bongino was featured on BBC World News television today and will be a guest on Jake Tapper’s CNN program at 4:30 p.m. Eastern.
In his book, Bongino, 39, said it seemed to him as he served the president as a Secret Service agent that the Obama White House staff “lived in a utopian bubble devoid of any acknowledgment of real-world consequences.”
“They spoke of policies in an idealistic way, rather than how to apply legislative solutions to the real world,” he writes. “When a policy not only failed to produce the desired result but in some cases produced the exact opposite result, it was ignored.”
He writes that the administration “looks on with a blind eye, seemingly proud of its good intentions yet complete lack of results.”
Bongino told WND in a previous interview that because President Obama and his staff seem to care more about “good intentions” and political posturing than sound policy and have little respect for the constraints of executive power, the Obamacare disaster is about to get much worse for Americans.
He explains in his book that “many of the bureaucrats and staffers within the Washington, D.C., bubble who had a role in the design of Obamacare legislation were well aware of the media reports about the unpopularity of this legislation, and in an effort to save their careers, they relayed a completely different message to the president.”
Bongino, citing clear statements Obama and other Democrat leaders have made, is certain that the intent of Obamacare all along was to move the country toward a single-payer, or socialized, medical system run by the government.
Obamacare itself, he argued, is private insurance “in name only.”
“Once you can own the mechanics of the private insurance industry through state exchanges, you can tax and regulate them to death, and you, effectively, already have a single-payer system,” he told WND.
Contract with the people
As WND reported, Bongino, in his run for Congress, is “signing a contract” with citizens – featured on the splash page of his website – to help him avoid the corruption into which so many lawmakers fall in the nation’s capital. He has the endorsement of former Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., who said Bongino left the Secret Service at the height of his success “because he is an American patriot and the embodiment of the highest standards of honor, integrity and character … exactly what we need inside the bubble.”
Watch Bongino’s interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News:
In his book, Bongino says his "path into politics had a clear mission: to sound the alarm on what I had learned living inside the 'D.C. bubble' by highlighting the very real consequences of an ever-expanding government and its insulated bureaucracy."
Bongino began his career in law enforcement with the NYPD in 1995.
Watch the trailer for the book here:
See Bongino talk about his solutions:
Hear him discuss "Life Inside the Bubble":