NEW YORK – The U.S. Secret Service is having preliminary discussions about setting up security screening checkpoints near public areas around the White House, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press Sunday.
The discussions follow an incident Friday in which a man carrying a knife jumped over the gate around the White House, making it to a building entrance.
The official insisted on anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss internal deliberations by name.
The Secret Service tightened security outside the White House after the embarrassing breach, in which Omar J. Gonzalez, 42, of Texas, climbed the fence, ran across the lawn and entered the building before agents stopped him.
The Secret Service says it’s agents may have shown restraint because Gonzalez appeared to be unarmed and mentally unstable, CBS News correspondent Julianna Goldman reported.
Fence jumpers aren’t out of the ordinary at the White House, but getting in the building is unprecedented. An investigation will probe why agents didn’t use the tools at their disposal, including guard dogs, specifically trained to stop intruders.
The first family was away from the White House at the time, but has since returned.
Secret Service Director Julia Pierson ordered increased surveillance and more officer patrols. She also began an investigation into what went wrong.
The breach triggered a rare evacuation of much of the White House. Secret Service agents drew their weapons as they hurried White House staffers and journalists out of the West Wing through a side door.
Less than 24 hours after Gonzalez’s arrest, a second man was apprehended after he drove up to a White House gate and refused to leave, Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said, prompting bomb technicians in full gear to search the vehicle as agents briefly shut down nearby streets. On Sunday, Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary identified the man as Kevin Carr, 19, of New Jersey.
There were no indications the two incidents were connected.
Gonzalez is scheduled to have his initial appearance Monday in federal court on charges of unlawfully entering a restricted building or grounds while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon.
Source: CBS News