Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Business and Thanksgiving

Well, this is my last blog for November! I will be back with you on December 1st. I’m taking the next four days off as a way to be Thankful for all my hard work and that of my amazing staff! Plus, we are moving to a new office location in Washington, D.C. on Monday and it is a very exciting time for IME!

This said, on holidays it can be very hard to unplug from the PR business. We live in a 24/7 social media culture and non-stopping news media community. Unplugging, however, can actually boost productivity and no one expects you to work 24/7. So, if you are an entrepreneur- take tomorrow truly off!

In case you need help doing this, I have developed 3 ways to help you unplug this Thanksgiving holiday:

1. Leave your phone at home. What? I know, right! If you are going out shopping with your family, someone is bound to have their cell phone in case of a true emergency. Announce that you are leaving your phone at home and truly do this. I promise you that your business and clients will not fall off the face of the Earth as a result. And you will be surprised what a real conversation feels like without the distraction of all your cell phone and social media alerts.
2. Don’t sleep with your phone in the same room. This way emails and social media events are not the last thing you see when you go to sleep or the first thing you see when you wake up. Instead, you can just sit in silence and clear your head or engage in some mindful meditation.
3. Don’t watch the news. It may be tempting with all the events going on right now – especially surrounding the Mike Brown case. Instead, focus on holiday movies or the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade. This will allow your brain a much needed rest from the news cycle most publicists work in the midst of.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving! I’ll be back with a new blog on the 1st of December,

Twyla N. Garrett of IME

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ferguson - Too Little, Too Late?


What can I say about the events last night in Ferguson, Missouri? I've watched the news this morning and from a Homeland Security perspective- it was a disaster. With all the time and preparation going into giving people the right to protest and to protect the community- all I am left with is a big question mark as to what happened?!

So far, we have 61 people arrested and several cars and businesses burnt to the ground. Is this how we protest in the country? Is this how we navigate and implement security measures? Is this violence how we promote a message of peace and further movements to justice? No! It isn't what one says that matters in these types of situations. Instead, it is how one says it! If the police stood calm and had a great plan in place- like being stationed across the city and in front of different businesses- I truly believe less structures would be burned this morning. The same goes for the protestors. If they stood together in silence- like here in Washington, D.C.- more would have been spoken through the silence and stillness.

We have a lot to learn about communication within individual and security platforms. I'm sad today on so many levels and hope- going forward- we can learn from last night's events.

Twyla N. Garrett

Monday, November 24, 2014

Homeland Security and Feguson.....

Pictures of Homeland Security officers are causing a stir and raising questions whether the Feds will be on the ground in Ferguson after the Grand Jury decision is announced. According to TacticalGear.com, Federal Protective Services has been spending money with them, providing proof of recent transactions for police gear by officers in town from Washington DC. As I write this blog, there has been an announcement that the verdict is in as to if a manslaughter charge is going up (or not) against the copy who fatally shot Michael Brown and the media is feeding the feeling of impeding chaos in the air. But is Homeland Security's presence really needed?

In my opinion, the answer is 'yes'! Anytime you have a group of people that have reason to be heated or outraged, the public's safety becomes an automated priority. I'm not saying that I agree or disagree with any decisions or actions on either side of the fence. My concern is for the city and the safety of both law enforcement and the citizens. This said, Homeland Security has to help provide a plan to local law enforcement because they can become a target regardless of the verdict! And the same goes for ordinary people who live, shop and work in the surrounding neighborhoods!

There is no doubt in my mind that today is going to continue to be an emotional day for many. There are several apparent and underlining issues feeding the heartbreak of the Ferguson community. The Department of Homeland Security may or may not be directly involved with boots on the ground service, but the do have an obligation to offer securities training and resources - if requested. For those of you who read my prior blog about the Vet who was fired for snapping a picture of the DHS's cars in a local hotel- you know that I am of the belief that we need to let these men and women do their jobs and keep us safe.

So, as we head into the evening seeking an answer as to what the decision is, I remain hopeful that the right thing will be done and that the peace will be kept.

Twyla N. Garrett of IME

Friday, November 21, 2014

Homeland Security and Immigration

I've been asked several times to comment on my thoughts via President Obama's recent media blitz regarding immigration. Listen, I have no answers other then this is not a black and white issue. Like anything, there are several layers and a "one size fits all" solution will only create, in my opinion, further issues down the road.

This said, from a Homeland Security standpoint- something has to be done that will ensure we are protecting our country from allowing terrorists (who fly into Mexico or Canada) from entering our country with great ease. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson sent an open letter to the President on the issue. In it, Johnson says "I support and recommended to the President each of the reforms to the immigration system that he will announce today. These recommendations were in turn the result of candid and extended consultations between me and the leadership of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), as well as outside stakeholders. Along the way, I listened to members of the workforce who implement and enforce the law to hear their views. In my own view, any significant change in policy requires the insight of those who administer the system. I believe we have done that here. The executive actions the President will announce will reform and improve the system in a number of respects. These executive actions are well within our legal authority to direct and implement."

I don't think that the immigration orders will open us up to any more terrorism. It could, but I doubt it. Why? We have problems in other areas. I believe a lack of funding and program sustainability will cause further issues- which in turn will be blamed on any executive order that the President implements. I agree with Jeh Johnson but I know what will look like a lack of ability from the DHS will result not because of immigration and border issues (although that is always a concern) but because we are not handling money issues and program issues properly now! Immigration amnesty or not, the DHS is running out of resources as this country is running out of money. Something has to change- but like I said, not all issues are black and white or cut and dry.

"So, Twyla... what is your point?"

As we head into the weekend, take time to consider your own business. Think about the issues you have at hand and growth vs. income. Can you blame all of your problems on one source? Or is it easy to blame challenges on one area because addressing the few roots that lay underneath may be harder because their are no obvious solutions?

Until Monday,

Twyla N. Garrett

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Homeland Security and Holiday Travel

Next week the Thanksgiving holiday falls upon us and many of you will be traveling. In honor of the busy travel week, I have decided to put together a few basic tips to stay safe and secure.
First, if you are flying- show up early and expect delays. If you plan your flight to close to a deadline for a party or check-in, you will be stressed out. If you allow yourself plenty of time to arrive to your destination, without the pressure of a deadline, you will be more focused and travel safer. This is a proven fact.

Second, have a backup plan should something happen- and extra cash to! I tell everyone to travel with their emergency fund divided into cash and a debit account. In the event that a terrorist attack or security issue should occur, banks could be down or frozen. People don’t like to travel with a lot of cash, but you should have at least a thousand dollars (if not two) on you in the event of an emergency. Keep the same amount in the bank as an ER fund too.

As far as that backup plan, know what you would do if you couldn’t reach your destination and were to get diverted or stuck somewhere. Explain the plan to your fellow travelers and those you are going to visit. Your friends and family should know where you are going to be at all times- even if an emergency were to happen.

The holiday season is a stressful and wonderful time wrapped up into a matter of weeks. Keep an eye out for potential issues and report them if you do catch wind of anything suspect and keep cash on hand along with a viable plan. If you follow these steps, you will have a better and more secure holiday travel season.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Vet-Gate & My Thoughts

Here's some Homeland Security news for you- Mark Paffrath- a Navy Vet- said he lost his job at Drury Hotel Plaza in Chesterfield, Mo., and was called a terrorist after uploading images of dozens of Homeland Security vehicles in the hotel garage. When did it become illegal to take photos of cars and trucks in a garage? Well, that is the question when you ask the media about his arrest.

Now, let me give you some background on Mr. Paffrath. He works at the Drury Hotel Plaza. During his duties, he spotted over a dozen of Homeland Security vehicles in the parking garage and was alarmed, claiming he had never spotted the vehicles there before- at least during his employment with the company. Given today's social media culture, he took photos of the vehicles and posted them to Facebook. Then the vet wrote his caption, which was "I wonder if it has anything to do with Ferguson? #Ferguson, #No justice, no peace." Paffrath took down the photos and video the next day after Drury General Manager Jeff Baker asked him to.

Paffrath was soon after fired by the director of security for Drury Hotels Company, LLC, because his posts almost cost the company a $150,000 contract with Homeland Security. Now, relook at the post he posted and the caption. He never did say where the photo was taken. He never gave a location. Yet, he was fired..... Paffrath, who was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy after three years of service, took to Facebook to protest his firing and then went to the media- now alerting to where the photos were taken.

Here's the thing- Mr. Paffrath probably didn't mean any harm when he posted the photos and the caption. But he could have very well compromised a Homeland Security strategy to keep the city of Ferguson safe and - being that he IS a vet- the should have known better. So, what is the lesson to be learned here? If you see the DHS in your neighborhood- let them do their job. They are there for a reason. Sure, if could be nothing- maybe just a planning meeting- but they are working regardless.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Reporting Facebook Posts to the FBI- Why You Should!

Heather Coffman of Virginia was pushing ISIS propaganda via multiple Facebook accounts. The FBI obtained a warrant to search her account after reports of pro-ISIS comments on the social media platform. This information led the FBI to numerous falsified Facebook accounts supporting her ISIS views- which included marketing the terrorist group to her sister.

After meeting with FBI agents and an informant, Coffman was arrested earlier this week and is scheduled to appear in court this up and coming Monday. CNN’s reporter offers the play-by-play of the Coffman case (thus far) online. You can read it here: http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/17/justice/virginia-woman-isis-recruitment/

So, why am I covering this? Well, people like Coffman are the reason I wrote my Homeland Security book. It is hard enough for this country to fight and deal with international terrorism, but now- we are seeing men and women use social media to become domestic terrorists. After reading the CNN article, I’m not so sure that Ms. Coffman was directly related to ISIS or simply wanted to promote the group for shock value- maybe a little of both. Either way, her actions are deplorable!

This brings me to my next point – report controversial statements to Facebook or the FBI if you see them. The “see something, say something” rule banks on tips to help get people like Coffman- regardless of motive- away from inciting terrorist activity! We all spend so much time online sharing our opinions that we may fail to realize when someone is serious with their potentially harmful comments and posts. It is better to report something and be wrong then to not report it and be right.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Monday, November 17, 2014

Governor Jay Nixon Has No Choice....

Here's some breaking news, Governor Jay Nixon of Missouri has declared a state of emergency. An hour ago he told the press, "People need to feel safe and to achieve those goals, we need to be prepared." But is this the real reason behind his actions?

From a Homeland Security perspective, Mr. Nixon has no choice but to do this and the people's safety is just ONE of the many reasons why. You see, if Mr. Nixon doesn't act quick enough when it comes to preparation for the highly publicized verdict (should the grand jury decide not to criminally charge Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown), then he can be criticized for NOT handling things smoothly and with safety as a priority. The state can be civilly liable too.

ABC News reported that an FBI bulletin sent to police forces across the United States warned that the grand jury's decision "will likely" lead to some violence. An FBI spokesman declined to comment on the report. Schools are also on alert. The state of emergency status is to free up resources and funds to prepare for the worst while hoping for the best. While I am sitting here writing this, the news commentators are stating that violence is going to happen either way, which is almost feeding on the energy of what is happening in Missouri right now. Some people are even stating the added resources via Nixon's decision to call a state of emergency are wasteful.

Again, from a Homeland Security perspective- the Governor has no choice but to be prepared and to help protect everyone within the city. People's emotions can get heated and that blocks their decision making. I know that regardless of what the verdict is, people are going to be upset and given the incidents over the summer- violence is a very real possibility. So no, I don't agree with people stating this is over-zealous or a waste of resources. I believe it is better to be over prepared and not have to take action vs. not being prepared and having civilians take a bad situation and make it worse- causing the loss of life.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett



Friday, November 14, 2014

Leadership and Twitter....

Tonight's blog is a bit off of the Homeland Security topic. I want to talk about the recent Twitter disaster and Dr. Oz. Now, I know what you're thinking -"Twyla, have you lost it?" No, I haven't. We all stand to learn something from Dr. Oz's Twitter disaster, which is knowing how to time your message. In fact, knowing how to time your message is everything when it comes to issues of Homeland Security and public affairs.

First, so you know, Dr. Oz opened up his Twitter account and encouraged people to use the public hashtag #DrOzsInbox. Yes, so everyone could see the questions being submitted to the doctor. Here's what happened;


As I said, we all have something to learn from Dr. Oz. First, don't open yourself to answer questions you don't want to deal with during a scandal. Second, if you have something to communicate - make sure you know how to do it and why you are doing it. Third, a big brand doesn't mean its a flawless brand. Big empires fall hard.

To tie-in yesterday's blog, the big retailers need to take a lesson from Dr. Oz's Twitter account as we head into the holiday shopping season. Security plans should be enforced and a crisis communication for ill-prepared and/or accident incidents at stores also needs to be planned and in place, otherwise- your store may be the next Dr. Oz on Twitter.

Until Monday,

Twyla N. Garrett

Thursday, November 13, 2014

'Masque Attack' Becomes A Homeland Security Issue

The U.S. government’s computer security team is warning iPhone and iPad owners to be extra careful when updating their apps thanks to a vulnerability in iOS 7 and iOS 8 that allows hackers to send updates that impersonate the apps on their phones. Sounds scary right? It is! But it isn't that the DHS is concerned about your individual phone and identify theft- not to minimize it. The reason this is a DHS issue is because of the capabilities associated with what is being dubbed as the 'Masque Attack'.

Apple has known about the vulnerability since July 26. Apple has not responded to previous requests for comment except to reiterate that users should only download and install apps from trusted sources. The DHS is also concerned about that because not saying something means the virus could have spread and fallen into more sinister hands. This said, US-CERT, which acts as the operational arm of the Department of Homeland Security’s National Cyber Security Division, said Apple users can protect themselves by only installing apps directly from Apple’s official store or from their own organizations.

Here's my point - we now live in a world where cyber security seems to be a huge issue for both individuals and our country's security on a daily basis. It also seems that major companies, like Apple, truly don't understand how a small case of identity theft (again, not that it can every be considered "small") can also lead to big problems on a national level if the wrong app or big technology hacks are used for bad things. Our banking systems can go down, airport traffic control could go down, systems can show beheadings on children television stations- a lot can go wrong. So, this is far more of a concern because of the bigger concerns associated with the 'Masque Attack'. Oh, did I mention the President uses an iPhone?

I'm not trying to scare anyone today, but I am offering a warning. Be awareof what you download online and report anything suspicious to US-CERT.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett of IME

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Holiday Shopping and Security

It happens every year. People line up for Black Friday deals days, if not a week, in advance. The doors open and people flood inside, running for the deals. At least once a year, as a result of the deals, someone gets killed or injured because of the sale madness. Every year retailers have giant payouts as a result of being ill-prepared when it comes to holiday havoc sales and security issues. And yet every year retailers don't change policies. They fail to protect themselves from lawsuits and bad press by avoiding the cost of hiring a company, like mine, that can offer pre-event training and comprehensive plans to keep store employees and customers safe.

I don't get it. Prevention is key. If we are having a major social function, security is increased. Policies in and out of the venue where the event is being held change for a reason. We meet the demands of the added people, time crunch, and potential security issues for that event. And yet, every year someone dies because retailers fail to pay for prevention security training. The loss of life and money is preventable with some aggressive planning, which should have started back in August. This said, if you are a company with a holiday sale happening this Black Friday- take notice. Below are some preventative tips that may help you avoid serious security issues and breaches.

1. Have a "first-in" lottery. Allow people to make a donation, say a dollar, to a local homeless shelter in exchange for a raffle ticket for the Black Friday events. Pull 50 names that can enter the store an hour before the sale and pick out up to $1,000 dollars worth of deals. After the limit, they can re-enter the store like everyone else.

2. Station security outside and assign numbers. Make sure security is disallowing backpacks and screening people with metal dectecting wands - one by one- before anyone can enter the store.

3. Have enough security allocated to implement step two.

These simple and obvious steps can prevent people from dying or becoming injured during any Black Friday event.

Still have questions? Contact me at IME directly. We still have time to help put together a plan for your retail needs.

Twyla N. Garrett

Monday, November 10, 2014

Loretta Lynch.... The Bombshell!

On Friday, I posted a blog stating who I thought the President would pick for Attorney General. Three hours after my post the President announced his choice, which is Loretta Lynch. I, like many other experts, was completely off the mark with my prediction.

Here's why myself and other are concerned about Loretta Lynch. First, qualifications. From a Homeland Security perspective, Ms. Lynch has some nice wins under her belt. She has no partial ties to Obama or those who dislike his initiatives. She seems to be clean and less aloof then Eric Holder. But this doesn't mean anything. Her Harvard degree, while impressive to some, doesn't come with the endorsements that other candidates had from police unions and first responder organizations.

Am I disappointment? No. She has experience in prosecuting cyber crime and financial crime. She could look at the current IRS scandal with a fresh set of eyes. I do feel there were other and better qualified candidates that should have obtained the position, but this doesn't mean all hope is lost for the country. Lynch brings a different kind of leadership to the table and maybe this is exactly what we need when it comes to sustaining certain programs and prosecuting terrorists. I guess we will have to wait and see.... In the meantime, here is the official announcement and welcome Ms. Lynch!

Video of Lorretta Lynch.



Anyway, as we head into Tuesday, November 11th- note I will not be posting a blog as it is a Federal Holiday.

Twyla N. Garrett



Friday, November 7, 2014

Alejandro Mayorkas May Replace Eric Holder



Here's a dose of Friday buzz for you.... Alejandro Mayorkas may be replacing Eric Holder as the Attorney General. So, what's the big deal? Well, for one, the country’s largest law enforcement officers’ organization, the National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), personally is championing Mayorkas to President Obama. National president Chuck Canterbury penned an Oct. 31 letter on behalf of Moyorkas and sent it to President Obama at the White House - which is a huge deal. In fact, Mayorkas has the experience and qualification for the job- but as you know- this doesn't mean he will get it.

Why you should care: Mr. Mayorkas can offer insight and actually get things done as the Attorney General. He was the director of US citizenship and Immigration Services — the biggest immigration system in the world with a $3 billion budget and 18,000 workers. He knows a lot of about the different issues and he is working with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) now. You should care because someone, like Mayorkas, has to have a lot of knowledge about grey areas when it comes to protecting human rights and civil liberties while also keeping the country safe and playing politics at the same time.

Here is some more info on Alejandro Mayorkas directly from the DHS: http://www.dhs.gov/person/alejandro-mayorkas

We don't have any say if Mayorkas gets to fill Eric Holder's position or not. But I can use this blog to urge the President to highly consider someone capable of sustaining programs for the long-term, and who can consider implementing- if not developing- new technologies, to better how the DHS operates and handles sensitive matters. Why do I think Mayorkas fits this role? Well, he had to look at the DHS - his own department- from the inside out earlier this year.

For example, an immigrant detention facility that opened earlier this year in Artesia, New Mexico, has been very controversial. Mothers being held there complained about cold temperatures, undercooked food their children wouldn't eat, and difficulties in presenting their case for why they should remain in the country rather than being deported. After visiting the facility, attorneys claimed that women were forced to speak about their experiences -- often including abuse and sexual assault -- in front of their children. This is a great example where policies should meet with commonsense.

Instead of passing the buck, Mayorkas responded quickly to concerns about Artesia, saying "If, in fact, we fall short, and quite frankly, the advocacy community has identified instances where we have not provided as we should for the care and needs of those families, then we will respond aggressively to address that and to solve that problem." And, the DHS is working to improve its approach in screening women in the detention facility and addressing issues on a case-by-case basis.

As we finish out a very political week, try to remember that not all DHS issues are black and white. We, as people and policy makers, have to be able to pivot from time-to-time.

Until Monday,

Twyla N. Garrett of IME

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Budget Issues & Homeland Security



Homeland Security has budget issues attached to the Department. I know, it's shocking. The truth is, when the Department of Homeland Security was formed- finances and long-term plans were truly an afterthought. And, unlike America’s past wars, the battle against terrorism will not allow demobilization. It is going to be an ongoing thing for the rest of this country's existence.

The terrorist threats the nation faces today are the new normal and homeland security will be an enduring task, so every effort from here on out has to be sustainable. The government could simply impose across-the-board percentage cuts, but how does this happen without significantly increasing risk? This is the challenge we are up against daily as citizens of this great nation.

I don't have the answers. I have recommendations, but no single person can solve the issue of DHS budget requirements and needs in the blink of an eye. What I do know, and what I think every person in Congress may actually agree upon, is that we have to update and retool our efforts. Things have changed since 2001. Our process and our budgets haven't- at least for the better.

I'm hopeful today's topic can create an exchange of ideas on Twitter of Facebook to discuss what the public perception of the DHS budget is and how we should move forward, especially since the election was just two days ago!

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett of IME.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The 2014 Elections and Homeland Security

So, last night was interesting to say the least! After Mr. Obama's recent press conference to address "no what", my Twitter account was flooded with the same questions- but directed at Homeland Security. Yes, the elections are going to impact how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will move forward. Different leadership and different people at the table will always lead to different perspectives and objectives when it comes to Homeland Security. And, to make things more shaky, there was a security breach by a DHS contractor announced today- which means incoming officials may be looking to clean house.

Here's what happened; a contractor running background checks for the US Department of Homeland Security has suffered a potentially embarrassing security breach. The security snafu at USIS reportedly led to the theft of some DHS employees’ personal information. The extent of the breach — discovered and self-reported by USIS itself — is still being assessed. DHS encrypts the data it sends USIS but how it is stored and handled within the contractor, the largest provider of background investigations for the federal government, is unclear.

Our country has to pivot right now because of new people coming into office, and because of examples such as the above. We need to tighten policies, figure out how to sustain several programs with needed improvements to social and multi-media tools, and -most of all- we need to learn to work together. Regardless if we are traveling through an airport and annoyed with the TSA screening process or we are a newly elected official lost in the overwhelming process of taking over a political office- collaboration has to be a priority from here on out.

There isn't going to be an overnight change within any area of our political or security systems. But, together, we can work for a safer and more forward-thinking future!

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Visa Rules Are Being Tightened

I'm not sure that you can say a rule is being "tightened", but this is the phrase being tossed all over Washington D.C. right now. What really is happening, in my opinion, is the rules are actually going to be fully enforced. This leads me , and many other Americans, to a question of impact. Why are we not fully enforcing Visa rules on a continued basis?


Homeland Security officials said Monday that they will immediately begin demanding more information from visitors from countries with visa-free entry, bowing to growing fears that jihadists from Iraq or Syria could use a loophole to bring their battle to the U.S. mainland. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson did not suspend the Visa Waiver Program despite pressure from some key lawmakers on Capitol Hill, but he said the government will order travelers from visa-waiver countries to report more information such as parents’ names, city of birth and aliases. This is a concern for me!

We should always be demanding more information from travelers into our country. Period. In my book, Homeland Security; A Comprehensive Guide for All , I discuss why some of the reigns may be tightened or loosened due to financial restrictions. We don't plan on money running out to sustain ongoing issues, which is a problem. But now, we have to spend more money that we don't have to sustain what we should have been doing all along. Does anyone else notice the irony here?

So, where is the fine line? There isn't one. Nothing with Homeland Security matters is cut and dry nor black or white. We need to tighten the rules around the clock. We need to put more money into sustaining our current efforts and look at what it may cost to utilize new media tools in the future. We need to prepare better in order to stay safer.

Until next time,

Twyla N. Garrett of IME

Monday, November 3, 2014

Publicity and Homeland Security

This past October Joseph Clancy took charge of the U.S. Secret Service on an interim basis following a series of security lapses that led to the resignation of Julia Pierson as director of the government agency. Clancy's efforts will try to right the wrongs while a search for a permanent successor is conducted, but are the breaches in security already impacting the Secret Services and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in a negative manner when it comes to publicity and public image?

One article on PR Newser states, "The agency has been hammered by the media since 2009 because of the string of embarrassing security breaches that have put the agency’s credibility in jeopardy. The latest episode happened September 19, when an armed intruder jumped over the White House fence and ran into the residence. That was preceded by the service allowing an armed felon to ride on an elevator with President Obama. The most notorious incident was in 2012, when several Secret Service agents conducting advance work in Columbia for a summit meeting there were recalled after being accused of hiring prostitutes and bringing them back to their hotel."

The list of blunders, unfortunately, can go on and on.... So, yes- the DHS and the Secret Service have lost respect in both the eyes of the media and public. A loss of respect in this specific example equates directly to the loss of feeling secure among the American people. We can plead with people to "see something, say something" all we want, but if the government isn't leading by example- why should the public take anything its says seriously?

Rebuilding trust isn't as easy as fixing communication errors or weak spots in security plans and procedures. It is a long-term fix that has to built up over time. The DHS and the Secret Service both have a long road ahead regardless of whomever fills Julia Pierson's intermediate spot. There is no quick fix to the damage done, which is unfortunate in a time where feeling secure is all that matters right now within this country and its road back to economic greatness.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett of IME

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