A mentally disturbed US Army veteran who jumped over the White House fence and ran into the president’s mansion with a knife pleaded guilty Friday to two federal charges.
Omar Gonzalez, 43, faces 18 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful entry while carrying a weapon and one count of assaulting officers, according to court documents. He could also be asked to pay up to $30,000 in fines.
The September 19, 2014 intrusion was just one in a string of recent security failures surrounding President Barack Obama, including one in which an armed contractor with a criminal record rode in an elevator carrying Obama.
After the Gonzalez incident, lawmakers wanted to know how someone could scale the fence, race 70 yards (meters) across a lawn, enter unlocked White House doors, knock down an agent, and run into the East Room — all without being stopped.
Gonzalez, an Iraq veteran reportedly suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, had a folding knife in his pocket at the time of the incident. Obama and his family were not home.
This and the other lapses ultimately led to the resignation of the Secret Service’s director, Julia Pierson. Obama last month appointed Joseph Clancy as the new head of the service, which is responsible for presidential security.
Gonzalez was ultimately tackled by an off-duty Secret Service officer who was coincidentally walking through the premises.