Report: George H.W. Bush’s Home Security Alarm Broken for 13 Months

The Secret Service took more than a year to make repairs to the broken alarm system at former president George H.W. Bush’s Houston residence.

HOUSTON – It took more than a year for the Secret Service to replace a broken alarm system at former president George H.W. Bush’s Houston residence, according to a report by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general.

In 2010, a member of the agency warned that the 20-year-old alarm system, which monitors the property and house, was aging and would likely fail. However, the report notes that Secret Service officials rejected the request to replace it, The Washington Post reports.

The alarm system stopped working in September 2013 and was not replaced until November or December of 2014 – at least 13 months after the system ceased operating.

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While the system was down, a Secret Service agent was stationed at the home and rotated positions to monitor the property. There were no known intruders when the system was down.

Several Secret Service officials told Inspector General John Roth they believed the interim measures “provided an acceptable level of security.” Although others inside the agency argued that an additional agent was not sufficient to replace the alarm system.

This isn’t the first time that the Secret Service has struggled with home security technology.

In January, it was reported that the Secret Service shut down the video surveillance and alarm systems at Vice President Joe Biden’s Delaware home indefinitely because they had not been working properly. Agents protecting the home when the system was down were told that repairs to the security solution had to wait due to budget constraints.

Additionally, the inspector general’s report also cites Secret Service officials as saying that alarm systems at Bush’s other home, in Kennebunkport, Maine, have shown signs of imminent failure and need substantial repairs. The Maine estate has been a regular summertime gathering spot for the extended Bush family, including Jeb Bush and his brother, former president George W. Bush.

In his report, Inspector General Roth recommended a broad review of needed upgrades and also a centralized system for tracking maintenance requests and system problems. A spokesperson for the Secret Service said the agency has begun taking steps to address the recommendations.

Additionally, Secret Service Director Joseph P. Clancy and DHS Security Jeh Johnson have made upgrading technology and security at the White House, as well as at protectee residences, a top priority.

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The latest incidents are additional challenges facing Clancy, as he attempts to restore the agency’s image after a series slip-ups, including the Secret Service’s policy to destroy surveillance video after three days.

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