A Secret Service-ordered mock attack two decades ago found an easy way to pierce the White House security zone: Overwhelm Secret Service officers on the compound with six to eight attackers climbing over the fence at the same time, the Washington Post reports. The vulnerability remains, despite the creation of specially trained counterassault and surveillance teams. Securing the White House grounds has been further complicated by severe staffing shortages and high turnover rates in the officer division tasked with patrolling the compound.
Yesterday, federal prosecutors alleged that a man who jumped the fence and ran into the White House on Friday was keeping 800 rounds of ammunition, two hatchets and a machete in his car, which was parked nearby. A prosecutor said that the man, Omar Jose Gonzalez, 42, had been arrested in Virginia in July while carrying a sawed-off shotgun and several other firearms, as well as a map with a line pointing toward the White House. In August, Secret Service agents saw Gonzalez near the White House, carrying a hatchet in the back waistband of his pants. The agency said a comprehensive review was underway, including Gonzalez's criminal history and contacts with agency personnel.