An intruder was able to climb a fence and enter the White House in September because of a succession of “performance, organizational, technical” and other failures by the Secret Service, says a damning Department of Homeland Security review of the incident reported by the New York Times. The review found that the Secret Service’s alarm systems and radios failed to function properly, and that many of the responding officers did not see the intruder as he climbed over the fence, delaying their response. Omar Gonzalez, the man charged, could have been stopped by a Secret Service officer who was stationed on the North Lawn with an attack dog, the review said. The officer did not realize that an intruder had made it over the fence because he was sitting in his van talking on his personal cellphone.
The officer did not have his radio earpiece in, and had left the second radio he was supposed to have in his locker. It was only after he saw another officer running toward Gonzalez that he was alerted to the security breach. At that point, the officer gave the dog the command to attack, but the dog had not had a chance to “lock onto” the intruder “and may not have seen” him at all, according to the review. Gonzalez continued into the White House. The review, which has not been made public, is part of a much broader investigation of the Secret Service being conducted by the deputy secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas. That investigation is focused on other incidents in which the White House fence was scaled and how security at the White House could be improved. Julia Pierson, the director of the Secret Service, resigned after the September incident as well as other security lapses.