Stung by accusations that it cannot adequately protect the White House, the Secret Service wants to spend $8 million to build another White House in Beltsville, Md.
In testimony before the House Appropriations Committee, Joseph P. Clancy, the director of the Secret Service, on Tuesday urged lawmakers to give him money to build a detailed replica of the White House to aid in training officers and agents to protect the real thing. Beltsville, about 20 miles from the real White House at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, is the location of a 500-acre Secret Service training site in the verdant terrain of southern Maryland.
“Right now, we train on a parking lot, basically,” Mr. Clancy said. “We put up a makeshift fence and walk off the distance between the fence at the White House and the actual house itself. We don’t have the bushes, we don’t have the fountains, we don’t get a realistic look at the White House.”
Mr. Clancy added, “It’s important to have a true replica of what the White House is so we can do a better job of this integrated training between our uniform division officers, our agents and our tactical teams.”
The proposed replica would provide what Mr. Clancy described in prepared testimony as a “more realistic environment, conducive to scenario-based training exercises,” for instructing those who must protect the president’s home. It would mimic the facade of the White House residence, the East and West Wings, guard booths, and the surrounding grounds and roads. ….