Omar Gonzalez, the man who jumped the White House fence and made it into the front door of the executive mansion, was able to go deeper inside the building than was previously believed, the Washington Post reports.
According to the Post, an alarm near the White House’s front entrance — meant to alert agents to intruders on the property — had been muted. Without the advance warning, the guard posted at the entrance was unable to lock the door before Gonzalez made it inside. Once through the door, Gonzalez, who was in possession of a knife, moved past the guard stationed inside, moved into the East Room before being tackled by a counter-assault agent at the entrance to the Green Room.
Cellphone video of Gonzalez making his way across the White House lawn. Video from YouTube user Alan Pawlinski, who’s son took the video on Sept. 19.
Secret Service officials had originally said that Gonzalez had been detained immediately after making it through the door. Secret Service spokesman Edwin Donovan told the Post there would be no comments on the new information, due to an ongoing investigation of the intrusion.
The Secret Service is under widespread scrutiny after revelations that in recent multiple incidents, layers of security protecting the White House have been breached. On Tuesday, the head of the Secret Service, Julia Pierson, will testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform where she’ll undoubtedly face tough questions about her agency. The New York Times reports that Pierson may have to answer for other security breaches that haven’t been yet been revealed to the public.
“Have there been some other serious breaches? Absolutely,” said Representative Jason Chaffetz, a Republican on the committee. He said the 2011 incident was “about as bungled as could possibly be,” but he said lawmakers on the committee have received numerous reports about security breaches that have not yet been made public.
“She’s got a lot to answer for,” he said. “I want to give her a chance. But I see this as a total lack of leadership and very questionable protocol.”