WASHINGTON — Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle is “livid” over the apparent security lapse 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 largely being considered a “human failure” within the Secret Service, sources said.
There were no signs of forced entry into Sullivan’s home, but even if doors were unlocked or an alarm system wasn’t used, as a source said was the case, the Secret Service isn’t blaming technology for the incident.
The Secret Service is taking the matter “extremely seriously” and evaluating possible consequences for the agents involved in the incident, which a source described plainly as “not acceptable.”
Sullivan had a brief but not physical encounter with the intruder, a source said, and after the intruder left his home, Sullivan alerted the Secret Service.
One working theory in the Secret Service investigation is that perhaps an intoxicated or confused person who lives nearby entered the wrong home, the source added, but that possible explanation wouldn’t absolve the agents responsible for protecting 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 "total faith in the Secret Service," and he declined to comment on the incident. "They do a remarkable job every day as professionals protecting people," he said.
While the incident occurred in late April, it became public only when The Washington Post first reported it Tuesday.
Now, the GOP-led House Homeland Security Committee says it plans to look into the matter.
Committee Chairman Mark Green, R-Tenn., said he has reached out to the Secret Service to request a briefing and plans to meet with Cheatle “soon.”
“What happened at National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s house is unacceptable,” Green said in a statement Wednesday. “We know that our foreign adversaries are openly targeting high-ranking U.S. officials, which is why it is crucial that these men and women are adequately protected in all circumstances. Our nation’s Secret Service agents are some of the best of the best, but if there are security gaps, we need to identify and fix them immediately.”
The Secret Service said in a statement Tuesday that it was investigating how an intruder was able to enter Sullivan's home.
"Any deviation from our protective protocols is unacceptable and if discovered, personnel will be held accountable," spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. "Modifications to the protective posture have also been made to ensure additional security layers are in place as we conduct this comprehensive review.”
Politicians and government officials have come under more threats in recent years.
Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger said Tuesday at a congressional hearing that his force is dealing with an approximately 400% increase in the number of threats against members of Congress over the past six years.
Sullivan has been President Joe Biden's national security adviser since the beginning of his presidency. He worked in the Obama administration and was also a foreign policy adviser to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her 2016 presidential campaign.