GOP rep: Lawmakers eyeing major changes to Secret Service

GOP rep: Lawmakers eyeing major changes to Secret Service
© Greg Nash

House Oversight Chairman Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzHouse Oversight slams TSA after report says officials 'interfered' in disciplinary case Gowdy steps down from Ethics Committee, citing 'challenging workload' Criminal referrals by members of Congress raise procedural questions MORE (R-Utah) on Monday said lawmakers are considering  “major structural changes” to the Secret Service after a string of intrusion attempts at the White House. 

“I think you're going to see some big changes. We're also looking at major structural changes,” Chaffetz said on “Fox & Friends.”

Chaffetz, who serves on a Judiciary Subcommittee that focuses on crime, homeland security, investigations and terrorism, said lawmakers are exploring multiple possibilities for changing the agency. 

“We have a cyber mission as well as a protective detail mission. We're looking at separating out this missions and maybe they should be housed in a different department. So all of that's on the table as we should explore what options to do next,” Chaffetz said

The Secret Service has been under the umbrella of the Department of Homeland Security since 2003. Previously, it fell under the Department of the Treasury. 

Chaffetz suggested a bipartisan group is considering making the Secret Service a separate unit. 

“Well, we're looking really hard at that. We have a bipartisan group that's actually exploring that. I think it's a very real possibility. We've got a lot of good men and women who are working hard there,” Chaffetz said. 

Chaffetz’s comments come after three recent White House intrusion attempts in less than two weeks.

One intruder hopped the heavily-patrolled White House fence, approximately 11 feet high, and reached a door to the White House Saturday night. The intruder spent a quarter of an hour on White House grounds before being detected.

“This, to me, though, scares me, because I really do think this is the worst one, given the time, 17 minutes on the White House grounds undetected, not detained, and where he was able to get to. That can never, ever happen, and yet it happened again,” Chaffetz said.

Chaffetz pointed to the Secret Service leadership and understaffing as reasons for recent failings. 

“There are about 1,000 agents and officers short of where they're supposed to be, so they've been failing in terms of recruiting and retaining their agents and officers. So I just don't see the leadership, and they're in the past,” he said. 

“I have great optimism about [DHS] Secretary [John] Kelly, though,” Chaffetz added.

The congressman is expected to meet with the acting Secret Service director and Kelly later Monday to discuss the recent security lapses.