A new congressional report has described the U.S. Secret Service as an "agency in crisis" after years of deep budget cuts, "systemic" mismanagement and low morale among its ever-shrinking workforce.
The report, issued Thursday by the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, is the result of a lengthy probe into the agency tasked with protecting the president, vice president and their families after series of embarrassing scandals and security blunders.
The numerous security failings listed in the report include an incident in October 2014, when an armed guard with a prior criminal record was allowed to board an elevator with President Barack Obama when he visited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. One month earlier, a man posing as member of Congress slipped past Secret Service guards and got backstage to meet Obama at an awards dinner hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus.
In 2013, four people went fishing in a lake in the backyard of Vice President Joe Biden's home in Delaware, and were not discovered until neighbors alerted the Secret Service.
One of the worst security breaches occurred in 2014, when a disturbed Army veteran jumped the White House fence, sprinted across the lawn and entered the executive mansion with a knife in his pocket.
The report also cited a number of e-mail exchanges between Secret Service agents in which they joked about looking forward to soliciting prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia where they were traveling to prepare for President Obama's visit for an economic summit in 2012. More than a dozen agents and officers were implicated in the scandal, which triggered both public and congressional scrutiny of the agency.