Omar Gonzalez, the troubled Iraq War veteran who is under arrest for scaling the fence of and entering the White House, is not the first intruder to breach the building's security. Nor is President Obama the first president to express concern about his family's safety and await the results of a hastily arranged review of Secret Service practices. But given the embarrassment of the much-publicized incident and the disclosure of the arsenal in the intruder's car, this review could go beyond the wrist slaps that characterized many similar episodes in the past.
Despite erroneous reports that Gonzalez made it farther than any previous intruder, others have made it much closer to presidents and been in the executive mansion much longer before being apprehended. One intruder even persuaded President Theodore Roosevelt to sit alone with him before an exasperated president summoned an usher and ordered him to "take this crank out of here." Only then, according to head usher Ike Hoover's later memoir, was the unauthorized visitor searched and "a gun of large caliber (found) tucked away in his rear pocket."
Unlike Gonzalez in the latest incident, that intruder did not need to scale a fence or race across the lawn to gain entry. According to Hoover, the man simply took a taxi to the front door of the White House. "Out stepped a man in full evening dress, cloak and high hat. He approached the police officer standing at the front door and said he had an appointment with the president." He was invited in, his hat and coat were taken and he was given a seat in the Red Room while the president was summoned. Roosevelt was reported to be uncertain if he had made an appointment but came downstairs to talk with the visitor.