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House panel concludes Secret Service is 'an agency in crisis'

There have been 143 security breaches or attempted breaches at facilities secured by the Secret Service in the last 10 years, according to a lengthy House Oversight and Government Reform Committee report critical of the agency released early Thursday.

The committee concluded that the Secret Service is an "agency in crisis" after a series of high-profile embarrassments over several years, including a South American prostitution scandal and multiple security breaches involving President Barack Obama and the White House. The report faults both leadership failings within the agency and budget cuts imposed by Congress that have led to what the committee concluded was a "staffing crisis."

The committee is chaired by Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz and has been investigating the agency since details of the April 2012 prostitution scandal became public. Three directors have led the Secret Service in the last three years and multiple agents and officers, including senior officials, have been fired, transferred or disciplined in the last several years as details of scandals and security breaches have become public.

"This report reveals that the Secret Service is in crisis," Chaffetz said. "Morale is down, attrition is up, misconduct continues and security breaches persist. Strong leadership from the top is required to fix the systemic mismanagement within the agency and to restore it to its former prestige."

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Budget cuts or no, the ongoing debacle at the Secret Service is yet another example of the incompetence and corruption plaguing our federal agencies. While a Convention of States likely will not address the Secret Service, it can shrink the power and jurisdiction of other federal agencies, limiting their ability to wreak havoc on the American people. It's time to bring the "fourth branch" back down to size, and we can do it with an Article V Convention of States.

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