White House Fence Jumper Made It All The Way To The East Room

Man walks past one Secret Service guard, subdues another

A security member of the Secret Service approaches the North Portico of the White House. / AP
• September 30, 2014 9:16 am


The man who jumped the White House fence earlier this month made it much farther into the people's house than previously known, according to the Washington Post.

Omar Gonzalez, 42, scaled the cast-iron fence and ran for 70 yards across the front lawn of the White House and entered through the North Portico. On the way there, he brushed by a Secret Service officer with a drawn gun, CBS reported.

Gonzalez then proceeded to run through the entrance hall to the cross hall of the White House, past the staircase that leads up to the first family's residence. He was confronted by a female Secret Service agent, whom he overpowered, and made it all the way to the East Room, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah) told CBS News, citing whistleblowers. Gonzalez was brought down by a door leading to the Green Room, a parlor adjacent to the East Room, which is used for formal events including bill signings, press conferences, receptions, and ceremonies.

The Washington Post reported that an alarm box near the front entrance of the White House, which was designed to alert guards to an intruder, "had been muted at what officers believed was a request of the usher's office,"–the alarm annoyed the staffers, so they shut it off.

A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday for members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to question Secret Service Director Julia Pierson.

"I don't see people being held accountable and I don't see changes that make the security situation better, so part of [the hearing] is to discuss the perimeter at the White House but I think the problems are much deeper seated than that," Chaffetz, a member of the committee, told CBS News Sunday. "There are other incidents that we might talk about but we're also going to reach back during her tenure to review what has happened and not happened."

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) said the Secret Service will have a hard time regaining the public's trust.

"There is nothing that can be said public that's going to cause the American people to have confidence after the Secret Service failed to lock the front door as part of its protection of the White House," Issa said.