3 attempted breaches stopped at White House in 24-hour span
Three intruders in less than 24 hours tried to get on White House grounds. U.S. Secret Service stopped them all, but one Congresswoman warns these attempts only show how urgent it is to improve White House security.
"What we have seen is very troubling," said D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC).
On Monday morning, the Secret Service says Michael Fogg tried to slip through a pedestrian entrance onto White House grounds as some construction workers left. He got confrontational after being stopped by a Secret Service agent.
Fogg, who is from Newport News, Va., was arrested and charged with unlawful entry. The incident led to a brief lockdown.
"We've seen an increasing number of such incidents and you have to ask yourself, ‘What will stop them?'" said Holmes Norton.
The incident happened less than 24 hours after two others on Sunday. According to a police report, a man now identified as Curtis Smith jumped a stone wall at the vehicle entrance on 15th and E Streets in Northwest D.C. He made it to a restricted sidewalk adjacent to the south fence of the White House grounds where he was apprehended by Secret Service.
According to the report, Smith said, "he left home of origin and drove to White House to pass a message to the President."
Court records show he was released on bond on a misdemeanor charge of unlawful entry and ordered to stay away from the White House.
On Sunday night, authorities say another man jumped a bike rack used as a security barrier. Ian Boone, a 41-year-old from Cambridge, Ontario, got six feet inside a restricted area before being stopped. He was arrested for unlawful entry, but FOX 5 has learned the U.S. Attorney for the District declined to file charges and he was to be released.
At a hearing in November, Secret Service director Joseph Clancy, who was acting director at the time, told lawmakers the agency is working to raise the seven and a half foot fence.
"A higher fence would certainly help us and we are looking for ways and options," he said. "In fact, we have we hope to have some renderings, some drawing some options for people to look at."
Clancy took over Secret Service after a series of embarrassing security breaches. In one of the most serious incidents in September, Omar Gonzalez made it into the East Room with a knife in his pocket. That was followed in October by another jumper who made it over the fence and was stopped by Secret Service K9s.
Holmes Norton warns nothing can be done for now because of the stalemate over funding the Department of Homeland Security.
"You need deterrence," she said. "What is the deterrence? Higher fence? Greater number of personnel? All of that is in the Department of Homeland Security appropriation."