Washington: The US Secret Service has ordered stronger White House security after a man climbed over the fence and entered the North Portico door of the executive mansion before being caught, the presidential spokesman said Monday. Washington was shocked by the incident.
Once in a while agents have had to detain people who scale the fence around the White House, but for an intruder to get inside the building is virtually unknown.
The Secret Service Director Julia Pierson has launched a comprehensive review of what happened last Friday, Efe quoted the White House spokesman Josh Earnest as saying.
The spokesman said he had discussed the incident with President Barack Obama, who at the time of the incursion was not at the White House, having gone with his family to Camp David for the weekend.
"His family lives in the White House, so he is obviously concerned about the incident that happened on Friday evening" but at the same time the president said he has complete confidence in the professionals in the Secret Service, the spokesman said.
Earnest noted that "providing security at the White House is a complicated business" because it is a "very popular tourist destination" where there are always many government officials and journalists.
"The Secret Service has the challenging task of balancing the need to ensure the safety and security of the first family, while also ensuring that the White House continues to be the people's house," Earnest said.
The intruder was identified as Omar Gonzalez, a 42-year-old Iraq War veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, according to his family.