The Secret Service has been under fire for failing to stop an armed man from jumping the White House fence and running through the president's home, and some critics have begun asking if political correctness is partly to blame for the extent of the security breach.
As the New York Times reported on Monday, the jumper, Omar Gonzalez, "overpower[ed] a female Secret Service agent inside the North Portico entrance" of the White House and then ran past the stairway to the presidential living quarters and into the East Room where he was finally tackled by an off-duty agent. Without explanation, the Times deleted the word "female" from the opening paragraph of its story (the Washington Post similarly edited the word "female" out of its story).
Few details have been reported about how precisely Gonzalez overpowered the female agent, but it's certainly possible that the Secret Service's disparate physical strength requirements for men and women may be endangering the life of the president.
According to the Secret Service, male recruits in their twenties need to perform 11 chin-ups to receive an "excellent" rating; performing four chin-ups or fewer would disqualify him from serving as a Secret Service agent.
But for a female recruit in her twenties, four chin-ups would earn her an "excellent" rating; just one chin-up is enough for her to avoid the disqualifying "very poor" rating.
A male recruit in his twenties needs to perform 55 push-ups in one minute to receive an "excellent" rating, while a female recruit only needs to perform 40 push-ups to receive the same mark. Here's how the agency grades recruits:
There were many lapses that occurred before Omar Gonzalez got to the front door of the White House, but when all else fails there are times when an agent must wrestle a man armed with a knife or a gun to the ground.
"Now, if a woman, 6' 4", can tackle a big guy or a big woman that's intruding, that's one thing," Joe Scarborough said on on MSNBC Wednesday morning. "But we can't have people standing between the President of the United States and a terrorist that can get knocked down and that's there for politically correct reasons."