Tags: Barack Obama | white | house | gonzalez | deeper

Intruder Ran Deep Into White House

By    |   Monday, 29 September 2014 05:32 PM

The man who jumped the White House fence and entered the building earlier this month was able to make his way farther inside than previously reported, according to new reports Monday.

Iraq War veteran Omar Gonzalez made it not only into the unlocked front entrance of the White House, but was able to overpower a Secret Service agent and ran through a good portion of the main floor, says The Washington Post.

Initial reports indicated Gonzalez was tackled soon after he got inside the White House.

But Gonzalez wasn't stopped until he reached the Green Room, an official told The New York Times.

According to the Post, the knife-wielding Gonzalez ran past a half-flight of stairs leading to the first family's living quarters, then ran into the East Room before being tackled.

The Post reported that an alarm box near the front entrance had been turned off because the usher's office had complained it made too much noise. It reportedly had gone off by accident several times.

Alarm buttons are posted throughout the grounds, and a Secret Service agent can press one whenever someone jumps the fence to alert other agents about the breach. The system is also supposed to alert a guard at the front entrance to lock the front door.

Secret Service Director Julia Pierson has called the breach "unacceptable." She is scheduled to appear before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Tuesday and is expected to face tough questions about the incident as well as other security lapses, including the 2011 shooting of the White House.

The Post said it received more detailed information on Gonzalez's attack from three unidentified sources and whistleblowers to Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Ca., who chairs the House Oversight subcommittee on Homeland Security. The New York Times also cited a congressional official it said was familiar with the incident.

Chaffetz told the post that if the "crash boxes" were, in fact, muted to avoid being "disruptive," it shows the problem is not a lack of resources or an insufficient number of checkpoints or barriers.

"The agency needs a solution that goes deeper than more fences and more people," Chaffetz told the Post. "It must examine what message is being sent to the men and women who protect the president when their leader sacrifices security to appease superficial concerns of White House ushers."

Chaffetz told the Times the 2011 shooting incident was "about as bungled as could possibly be," and said lawmakers have received other reports of security breaches that have yet to be made public.

"She’s got a lot to answer for," Chaffetz said of Pierson. "I want to give her a chance. But I see this as a total lack of leadership and very questionable protocol," he told the Times.

According to the Post, the failure to stop Gonzalez represented multiple breakdowns in the security process.

First, plainclothes officers were supposed to have noticed him going over the fence and sound an alert. When they failed to notice him, an officer at the guard booth on the North Lawn was supposed to have pursued him. When that officer couldn't reach him, an attack dog was supposed to have been released and a SWAT team and front-door guard were supposed to have been at the ready.

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The man who jumped the White House fence and entered the building earlier this month was able to make his way farther inside than previously reported, according to new reports Monday.
white, house, gonzalez, deeper
Monday, 29 September 2014 05:32 PM
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