White House gets second barrier after fence jumping

By REUTERS
September 23, 2014 23:08
1 minute read.

 
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WASHINGTON - A second fence has been erected along part of the White House grounds, pushing tourists and passersby farther away after a fence jumper got into the executive mansion.

The new waist-high barricade, which closes off part of the sidewalk on the Pennsylvania Avenue side of the White House, went up late Monday or early Tuesday. It is about 8 feet (2.4 meters) from the regular spike-topped fence.

The barrier was erected after Iraq war veteran Omar Gonzalez, 42, allegedly scaled the 7-foot (2.1-meter) fence on Friday, ran across the White House lawn and entered the building through an open door.

Gonzalez was carrying a pocket knife and had 800 rounds of ammunition in his car, officials said. He was subdued by Secret Service agents and has been charged with unlawful entry. President Barack Obama and his family were not in the building when the incident occurred.

"This temporary closure is in effect while the Secret Service conducts a comprehensive review of the fence jumping incident," agency spokesman Brian Leary said in an emailed statement.

The House of Representatives oversight committee has scheduled a Sept. 30 hearing on the security breach. The Secret Service is charged with safeguarding US leaders and visiting heads of state and government.

The Pennsylvania Avenue side of the White House, which is closed to traffic and is a favorite site for tourists and protesters, had an increased number of Secret Service agents on Tuesday, including at least one with a dog.

The agency is considering ways to expand the security zone around the White House to keep the public farther away and do more screening of people.

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