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    Secret Service Oversight

    Secret Service Director Julia Pierson was among three witnesses who testified at a hearing on Secret Service response to a September 2014 White House security breach, and similar security failures since 2009. In the September incident Omar Gonzalez allegedly scaled a White House fence, ran across the North Lawn, and entered the executive mansion. 

    Ms. Pierson detailed actions the Secret Service was takng to address protocol concerns and said agency culture had improved during her tenure as director. Members also asked her about a Washington Post story on the four-day delay in 2011 before officers discovered that gunshots had been fired into the White House. Ranking Member Elijah Cummings told Ms. Pierson that he was most disturbed by his impression that officers seemed more comfortable discussing concerns with members of Congress than agency leadership. Committee Chair Darrell Issa closed the hearing by saying he intended to request an independent investigation.

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    Writing About Writers

    Mr. Blotner talked about what it is like to write biographies about writers. He focused on the decision to write biographies and on his field research. After his prepared remarks he took questions from the audience. Mr. Blotner is the author of a two volume biography of William Faulkner.