Secret Service Director Julia Pierson did neither herself nor her agency any favors at Tuesday’s congressional hearing. She was there to answer questions about the Sept. 19 security breach at the White House. And under appropriately rough questioning, Pierson only seemed to dig the hole deeper. Whether discussing the fence-jump by Omar Gonzalez earlier this month or the 2011 shooting of the White House by Oscar Ortega-Hernandez, Pierson’s answers can only be described as an attempt at butt-covering evasion. It was so bad that Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) said, “I wish to God you protected the White House like you’re protecting your reputation today.”

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, hammered her over the glaring difference between the official version of events surrounding the dash into the executive mansion and what has been reported in The Post. For instance, Pierson had no credible answer for why she let everyone believe Gonzalez was stopped just inside the unlocked front door of the executive mansion when he was really stopped in the East Room. News that it was an off-duty officer who tackled the intruder only adds to the outrage.

“It’s clear that our security plan was not properly executed,” Pierson said, falling on her sword in her opening statement. But the excellent reports from The Post’s Carol Leonnig on the fence-jump and the shooting of the White House make me seriously doubt there was actually a “security plan” to “properly execute.”

Part of me wondered whether Pierson seemed so constrained was because she was in a public setting. I can understand a certain reticence about discussing the security arrangements for the president of the United States and his family in an open forum. So, I was putting my ultimate feelings aside until after the classified briefing. My thinking was that if the committee members who engaged in the bipartisan pile-on of Pierson emerged from that briefing with a more conciliatory tone, then Pierson had things under control. That hope was dashed by a tweet from Chad Pergram of Fox News.

What we know already shows that the problems plaguing the Secret Service go beyond Pierson’s leadership. This is especially so since she was brought in 18 months ago after that unpleasantness in Colombia involving agents and prostitutes in 2012. The culture appears to be broken at the agency. And it is unacceptable that the president and his family have to live with it.

Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj