White House Intruder Identified as Iraq Veteran While Politicians Take Aim at Secret Service
More details emerge from Friday's White House intrusion and politicians go after the Secret Service.
Omar J. Gonzalez, the man who was arrested after scaling the White House fence before making it inside, is a veteran who was awarded a medal for his service in Iraq, the Army said Sunday.
According to the Army, Gonzalez, 42, of Copperas Cove, Texas, served from 1997 to 2003 and then again from 2005 to 2012, when he retired. Gonzalez is expected to appear in court Monday to face charges of entering a restricted building while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon.
Although the Secret Service initially thought Gonzalez was unarmed, it was later revealed that he had a Spyderco VG-10 folding knife with a three-and-a-half inch serrated blade in his pants pocket.
Gonzalez told a Secret Service agent "that he was concerned that the atmosphere was collapsing and needed to get the information to the President of the United States so that he could get the word out to the people," according to the affidavit.
Politicians used the Sunday talk show circuit to express their outrage over the pair of incidences, but especially the Friday evening one, given the entry to the White House.
"This demands a full investigation, an investigation as to what happened, why it happened and what's being done to make sure it never happens again," Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y. told "Fox News Sunday."
"They are not doing their audits, their checks, their test runs to make sure that people are up to the right standard," chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Mike Rogers said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation."
"It's just a matter of the Secret Service upping their game to make sure that they can maintain — that every detail matters — a door locked, a quick reaction when somebody hits the fence and over the gate," Rogers said. "I think they are going to need to reinstate some of these ongoing checks about what activities they participate in."
The Secret Service offered a nuanced defense of the security breach.
"Every day the Secret Service is challenged to ensure security at the White House complex while still allowing public accessibility to a national historical site," the agency said in a statement Saturday. "Although last night the officers showed tremendous restraint and discipline in dealing with this subject, the location of Gonzalez's arrest is not acceptable."
The White House said that President Obama has "full confidence" in the Secret Service.
"The president has full confidence in the Secret Service and is grateful to the men and women who day in and day out protect himself, his family and the White House," said White House spokesman Frank Benenati late Saturday.