A man who scaled the White House fence and made it through the front door before being apprehended Friday evening sparked an evacuation of the complex as well as renewed scrutiny of the Secret Service.
Omar J. Gonzalez, a 42-year-old from Copperas Cove, Texas, made it onto the grounds at 7:20 p.m., according to the U.S. Secret Service. Gonzalez ignored commands to stop and was ultimately caught, unarmed, just inside the North Portico doors of the White House, one of the main entrances. He was charged with unlawful entry into the White House complex and transported to George Washington University Hospital after complaining of chest pain.
Although there have been other occasions in which people have made it over the White House fence, they are typically stopped immediately, causing some to question the ability of the Secret Service to protect the president.
"Unfortunately, they are failing to do their job," said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on national security. "These are good men and women, but the Secret Service leadership has a lot of questions to answer."
An outraged Chaffetz took to Twitter, as well.
White House fence jumper reportedly made it INTO the White House. Was the door open? Seriously. It was open?— Jason Chaffetz (@jasoninthehouse) September 20, 2014
The Secret Service has said little after the incident, but indicated it is taking the matter seriously.
"This situation was a little different than other incidents we have at the White House," Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said. "There will be a thorough investigation into the incident."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.