As you know, yesterday White House security folks closed down Lafayette Park in an effort to stop the media, and tourists, from seeing the DADT protest that was taking place at the White House gates (six vets had handcuffed themselves to the gates). It was a remarkable move that no one could remember having happened before. Now the Park Service is claiming it was just a rookie maybe a bad decision. Oh really?
Ben Smith reports, then I’ll dissect:
“That was strictly the U.S. Park Police that screwed up – that has nothing to do with the Secret Service of the White House or the Administration,” said Park Police spokesman Sergeant David Schlosser of the incident, which drew complaints from reporters and online speculation about darker motives.
“We had some young officers who, when they were told to move the people back — which we typically do when we’re going to make arrests – they moved the people back a lot further than we typically do,” said Schlosser. “That was a rookie, amateur error and they screwed up on that.”
“A high ranking official recognized the problem and opened the access back up, but the damage was done at that point,” he said.
First off, they didn’t open access back up. After a reporter phoned Brian Bond at the White House, and got another aide named Fred, suddenly they decided to only let the reporters back in. By that time, half the protesters had already been carted away. They did not let the rest of us back in to the park that they had “closed.”
Second, a rookie mistake? We’re to believe that rookies who make mistakes are working the White House beat for the Park Service? Check out this second video from Joe Sudbay, below. These guys don’t look like rookies at all. In fact, if you watch the video, it sure looks like several different branches of White House security start discussing what to do, then some guys who look much older than rookies start telling everyone the park is closed.
And check out the photo at the top of this post. I took it from my video just as they started to “close the park.” I see four Park Service employees involved in closing the park just by me. Were all four of them rookies? Exactly who made the decision? How “new” are they in the Park Service, and how recently were they on the White House beat? These guys get protesters practically every day. They never reacted like this, in years, until the gays showed up. We know that during the last protest a month ago, when Choi and Pietrangelo handcuffed themselves to the White House gates, employees inside the White House were getting a blow by blow of what was going on, including what actions would be taken and when. Now we’re to believe that suddenly a rogue agent made a bad decision and no one in the White House knew about it. This sounds like utter bullshit.