In the middle of Tuesday's White House briefing, Secret Service officers abruptly interrupted the proceedings and evacuated the briefing room.
Later it was discovered that it was a bomb threat, called into the Metropolitan Police Department, who alerted the Secret Service. With the White House in sight, the press corps, including this reporter, waited next door at the Old Executive Office Building, until we were allowed back in about a half-hour later. But when the journalists returned to the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room, they found that the TV cameras for CNN, ABC, and others had all been covered or turned toward the ground.
The press corps' indignation was made clear instantly with a question from ABC's Jonathan Karl. "Josh, before the alarm, who covered up the cameras in this room?" Karl asked, unnerved. "Somebody cut off our ability to see what was going on in this room by turning the cameras down. Who did that and why?"
Press Secretary Josh Earnest didn't have much of an answer, only saying that he'd been evacuated from the briefing room alongside the rest of us. During Wednesday's briefing, when Karl followed up, Earnest punted to the Secret Service.
Though Mike Roche, a former Secret Service agent, was never assigned to the White House, he said he could surmise that officials obstructed the cameras "to not disclose bomb-detection techniques—i.e., dogs or electronic sniffers and jammers. ... They would not want their methods disclosed to a potential national audience."