In her 18 months in charge, Pierson also became the subject of derision among some lower-level agents for accommodating the White House staff’s wishes for less-cumbersome security over the warnings of her tactical teams.
In the spring, Pierson was irate at what she considered the excessive security measures her team had planned for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, which Obama hosted this summer, demanding that it dismantle extra layers of fencing and reopen closed streets, according to two agency supervisors. Supervisors who had mapped out the security plan said they were taken aback when Pierson, who worked during high school at Walt Disney World as a costumed character and park attendant, said: “We need to be more like Disney World. We need to be more friendly, inviting.”…
On a presidential trip this past spring to the Netherlands, Pierson told several counterassault team members stationed at posts in the president’s hotel to move to more remote locations and put their weapons in bags, causing the sharpshooters to worry that their reaction time would be hampered in an emergency.
And this week, Pierson personally ordered that a downtown Washington street be left open near a hotel where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was staying. Secret Service teams have insisted on the closure for years because Netanyahu is considered one of the most sought-
after international targets. But the director agreed to changes because of D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s concern that the street’s closure during an earlier visit caused severe gridlock, said a spokesman for Gray (D).