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USSS director ‘furious’ over security breach in Sullivan incident


WASHINGTON — Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle is “appalled” by the apparent security breach that allowed an intruder to enter the home of national security adviser Jake Sullivan undetected last month, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

The incident, which occurred in the middle of the night a few weeks ago, is widely viewed as a “human failure” at the agency, the sources told NBC News.

There were no signs of forced entry into Sullivan’s home, but even if the doors were unlocked or an alarm system was not used, as one source said was the case, the Secret Service is not blaming technology for the incident.

The Secret Service is taking the case “extremely seriously” and is assessing possible consequences for the agents involved in the incident, which a source clearly described as “not acceptable.”

Sullivan had a brief but not physical encounter with the intruder during the incident, a source said, and after the intruder left his home, Sullivan alerted the Secret Service.

A working theory in the Secret Service investigation is that perhaps someone who lives nearby was so drunk and confused that they entered the wrong home, the source added, but that possible explanation does not exonerate the agents responsible for to protect Sullivan, who has 24-hour security because of his public profile.

The White House has declined to comment.

Sullivan told reporters aboard Air Force One on Wednesday that he has “complete faith in the Secret Service” and declined to comment on the incident. “They do a remarkable job every day as professionals protecting people,” he said.

While the incident took place in late April, it only became public when The Washington Post first reported it on Tuesday.

In a statement Tuesday, the Secret Service said it is investigating how an intruder could enter Sullivan’s home.

“Any deviation from our protective protocols is unacceptable, and if discovered, personnel will be held accountable,” Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. “Changes to the protective posture have also been made to ensure additional layers of security are in place while we conduct this comprehensive review.”

Politicians and civil servants have faced an increase in threats in recent years.

On Tuesday, Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger told a congressional hearing that his force is dealing with an approximately 400% increase in threats against members of Congress over the past six years.

Sullivan has served as National Security Advisor to President Joe Biden since the beginning of his presidency. He previously worked in the Obama administration and was also a foreign policy advisor to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her 2016 presidential campaign.

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