Tags: jason chaffetz | white house | intruder | door | handle

Jason Chaffetz: Intruder 'Rattled the Door Handle' of White House

Image: Jason Chaffetz: Intruder 'Rattled the Door Handle' of White House
(AP)

By    |   Friday, 17 Mar 2017 07:39 PM

House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz said Friday that the California man accused of intruding on the White House grounds last week "rattled the door handle" of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue before he was arrested by Secret Service agents 17 minutes later.

"It was a total failure," the Utah Republican told Wolf Blitzer on CNN in an interview. His committee oversees the Secret Service.

"The person was on the ground for 17 minutes, went undetected, was able to get up next to the White House, hide behind a pillar, look through a window, rattle the door handle," he said. "It's just beyond comprehension, especially because this is not the first time this has happened.

"The moment someone jumps over the fence, they have to be taken down.

"This one scares me probably more than any because of the length of the time, the proximity to the president, getting up to the White House — and going so long without being detected," Chaffetz said. "It makes no sense.

"I don't know what in the world they're doing, but it's a total and complete embarrassment."

Jonathan Tuan-Anh Tran, 26, of Milpitas, Calif., was charged in U.S. District Court in Washington for the March 11 incident.

According to court documents, Tran set off multiple alarms after breaching the White House, but "the response to the alarm was lacking, and [the suspect] found vulnerabilities in the system."

He was eventually caught within a few feet from the main entrance to the mansion.

Chaffetz wrote a letter Friday to Secret Service Acting Director William Callahan demanding all video and related information on the breach.

He has scheduled a briefing on the incident for Monday.

Chaffetz also referenced the September 2014 scaling of the White House fence by Omar Gonzalez, 43, an Army veteran from Texas, who was arrested by Secret Service agents in the East Room carrying a serrated knife.

Gonzalez also had run past security, made it through an unlocked door and knocked over an officer.

Federal agents later searched his parked car nearby, finding more than 800 rounds of ammunition, two hatchets and a machete.

The following June, Gonzalez was sentenced to 17 months in prison in a plea agreement.

Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigned in the debacle.

Chaffetz told Blitzer Friday that he was not sure whether the White House doors were locked when Tran allegedly approached them, but "the intruder did not get into the White House.

"But to be able to touch the White House.

"That's why we spend billions of dollars of personnel and dogs and technologies and fences and undercover people and video surveillance — and yet, the person is able to get up close to the White House and spend 17 minutes before he's apprehended.

"That's unbelievable."

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House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz said Friday that the California man accused of intruding on the White House grounds last week "rattled the door handle" of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue before he was arrested by Secret Service agents 17 minutes later.
jason chaffetz, white house, intruder, door, handle
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2017-39-17
Friday, 17 Mar 2017 07:39 PM
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