The Secret Service Wednesday broadened the protective perimeter around the White House — closing access to the fence area at the popular South Lawn — in light of recent security breaches.
"This is not going to impede the public's ability to take the iconic photo of the White House,'' Secret Service spokeswoman Catherine Milhoan told USA Today. "It's still there. It's just going to be pushed back a little further.
"We are always trying to balance the desire for access and the security for both the public and those inside the grounds,'' she said.
Under the plan outlined Wednesday by agency officials, the sidewalk bordering the South Lawn will be permanently closed to tourists at 11 p.m. on Wednesday, USA Today reported.
The move pushes visitors to the northern edge of the 52-acre park called the Ellipse. The South Lawn is on the side nearest to the Washington Monument.
The goal is to create a buffer zone like the one at Pennsylvania Avenue. There, iron bicycle racks sit in front of the perimeter fence, allowing police more time to react to fence-jumpers.
The move came in the wake of a 2014 breach by a mentally ill Iraqi War veteran who climbed the North Lawn fence and got through the front door of the White House.
One-hundred people have tried to breach the White House grounds in the past three years, Secret Service officials told USA Today.
Ninety-five percent of the cases involved individuals with mental health or other emotional issues.
Joe Casey, another Secret Service spokesman, said the security changes were part of an "evolving'' strategy to better "mitigate potential threats.''
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