Former Shin Bet official: Secret Service failed miserably

The US Secret Service's conduct during the press conference Sunday in Baghdad, during which a pair of shoes was thrown at President George W. Bush, was a disgrace, an Israeli security expert said Monday. "All of this is one big failure and disgrace," said Tuviah Livneh, who headed the VIP Protection Unit in the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) in the 1980s, and who today runs a private security consulting firm called Sital International. "This should not be allowed to happen." According to Livneh, protection units work with a number of "security layers" during press conferences. The first layer is the inspection journalists undergo before being allowed into the conference hall. The second layer, which Livneh said should have been capable of preventing the shoe attack, was the security detail deployed throughout the room. The third layer, he said, are the agents standing directly next to or behind Bush, who are supposed to serve as a physical buffer between the president and an attacker. "The biggest disgrace, though, is the fact that two shoes were thrown," he said. "The time that passed between the throwing of the first shoe and the second shoe is, for security guards trained in VIP protection, an eternity."