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June 23 , 2008

The Washington Post Pulitzers: Carol Leonnig, National Reporting


The Secret Service has one of the most important jobs in the United States. In this Pulitzer Prize winning investigation, Carol Leonnig’s exposes the dereliction of duty that has put the President—and the nation—at risk.

In September of 2014, a man leapt the White House fence, ran across the lawn, and got into the mansion, where he was only later tackled by an off-duty agent who happened by. In 2011, the Secret Service mishandled the aftermath when a shooter took aim at the White House itself, sewing confusion within the division and amongst the First Family. The mission of the Secret Service is to keep our leaders safe. In this respect, the Secret Service has had a string of failures bordering on near-catastrophe.

Carol Leonnig got beyond the stonewalling of the Secret Service, notoriously tight-lipped about its procedures, and its shortcomings, to write a meticulously researched, utterly devastating expose into one of the most vital police forces in America. She has chronicled security lapses, mishandled resources, failures from the leadership on down, and reported on the men and women who protect the President.

This Pulitzer Prize winning work offers an unprecedented window into the flaws of an agency that once seemed picture-perfect. Many agents and officers spoke to Leonnig at the risk of their livelihoods. The impact of her groundbreaking work cannot be underestimated: the President, present and future, will be safer.
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