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October 23rd, 2017

Insight

Why the Secret Service should thank the latest fence jumper

Dana Milbank

By Dana Milbank

Published Oct. 28, 2014

It's a good thing for Dominic Adesanya that U.S. marshals don't bite.

If they did, he would have a new set of puncture wounds to match those given him by Secret Service dogs Hurricane and Jordan last week when he jumped the White House fence.

From the moment he entered the courtroom of Magistrate Judge John Facciola on Monday for a status hearing, Adesanya, in an orange jumpsuit that covered his dog bites, demonstrated the same ferocity he displayed in attempting to battle the two attack dogs on the North Lawn.

He made a slashing gesture with his hand toward his lawyer, Jonathan Jeffress, then shook his head. "No! Stop!" he commanded. "Excuse me!" he called out when the lawyer tried to ignore his client's outburst.

The defendant turned his attention to the judge, attempting to explain that he didn't hire Jeffress, a public defender. "Please listen to me, sir," the judge told him. When Facciola explained that a psychological report had determined him incompetent to stand trial, Adesanya burst into a rage. "I don't have a condition! I'm competent!" he protested.

As two marshals tried to lead him out, the defendant, who wasn't in shackles, resisted, forcing the officers to carry him out of the chamber. "Stop! Help!" he shouted, slamming into furniture. "Help me! You can't do this! That wasn't even a trial! That wasn't a trial! Somebody help me, please!"

The judge signaled for reinforcements, and with Adesanya now outside the courtroom, the sound of chains clanking could be heard, along with a scream of "Ahhhhh!" and a quieter voice: "You going to calm down, sir?"

The judge made sure the defendant was entirely subdued and everybody was unhurt before releasing the lawyers.

Adesanya's behavior wasn't winning him any friends, but the beleaguered Secret Service might consider sending him a thank-you note. After another fence jumper made it into the White House and led officers on a chase of the first floor of the executive mansion, Adesanya's attempt was a reminder that off-balance people jump the White House fence fairly often, and they are almost always caught.

In particular, the episode highlighted the heroism of two fine civil servants, Agent Hurricane and Agent Jordan, ages 6 and 5 (or 42 and 35 in dog years.) Though immigrants from Belgium, this pair of Malinois did their adopted homeland proud last week when they brought down Adesanya even though he punched and kicked them. They won the hearts of the nation when the Secret Service tweeted out photos of these officers seated in front of flags, wearing harnesses and choker collars, tongues in panting position.

These selfless heroes, who ask nothing more than the occasional treat, provide a much-needed happy story for the Secret Service after a series of debauchery scandals and security lapses put the agency through two directors in rapid succession. Hurricane and Jordan also gave the country a welcome respite from Ebola, the Islamic State, a school shooting and campaign attack ads.

Even as hard a man as Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who has fiercely criticized the Secret Service and the Obama administration, got all mushy as he spoke to The Post's David Nakamura and Juliet Eilperin about the animals. "I love the dogs," he gushed.

Hurricane, who reportedly enjoys playing with his Kong when not at work, and Jordan, who likes taking walks, did not attend Monday's proceedings at the U.S. courthouse in Washington. Two uniformed Secret Service agents took front-row seats, as did Bill Miller, spokesman for the U.S. attorney in D.C., who acknowledged that this was his first canine case. (Two of the felony charges against Adesanya are from the wounding of law enforcement animals.)

Facciola, the judge, lent the proceedings a 19th-century look by wearing a dark bow tie underneath his black robe. Adesanya, who had been arrested two times this summer near the White House complex, had also been disruptive at his bail hearing last week. His father said young Adesanya suffers from paranoia and believes cameras are everywhere.

It's a sad situation for Adesanya, who hopefully will find the help he needs while in federal custody. But this troubled young man, by introducing us to Hurricane and Jordan, quite inadvertently gave the country something to smile about — at a time when we particularly needed it.

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Dana Milbank writes about political theater in the nation's capital.

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