Fence-jumper Got Far Deeper into the White House than Claimed

 

Remember that guy who jumped the White House fence the Friday before last? And the Secret Service only stopped him after he made it to the front door? Yeah, it was much worse than reported.

The man who jumped the White House fence this month and sprinted through the front door made it much farther into the building than previously known, overpowering one Secret Service officer and running through much of the main floor, according to three people familiar with the incident…

After barrelling past the guard immediately inside the door, Gonzalez, who was carrying a knife, dashed past the stairway leading a half-flight up to the first family’s living quarters. He then ran into the 80-foot-long East Room, an ornate space often used for receptions or presidential addresses.

Gonzalez was tackled by a counter-assault agent at the far southern end of the East Room. The intruder reached the doorway to the Green Room, a parlor overlooking the South Lawn with artwork and antique furniture, according to three people familiar with the incident.

I assume we’ll later learn that, before being tackled, Gonzalez completed a New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle, set his Fantasy Football lineups for the week, and bested the White House sous chef in a rousing game of Yahtzee.

In the detailed Washington Post story, the security breach was a failure at every level. Plainclothes officers outside the fence never noticed a guy scaling the imposing barrier. An officer at a North Lawn guard booth wasn’t fast enough to catch Gonzalez. An attack dog was present but, for some reason, never released.

Most shockingly, an alarm box used to warn of intruders had been muted. Sources claim that the White House usher staff had complained the alarms were too noisy. With no alarm sounded, the front door guard had no idea Gonzalez was on his way, allowing him to run right by her.

The fact that a lone, mentally disturbed individual could penetrate so deeply into the President’s home should rattle all Americans. If Omar Gonzales can carry a knife all the way to the Green Room, what could a group of sane, organized, highly trained fighters accomplish?

The White House’s best protection has been the illusion of invulnerability: The idea that if someone jumps that fence, they’ll be dead before their body touches the ground. Now that this psychological deterrent is lost, I wonder who else will test the security. How far will the next intruder get?

There are 31 comments.

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  1. Spin Member
    Spin
    @Spin

    I’m not entirely sure what we are guarding anyway.  I mean, if someone breaks in and makes off with the President….well lets just say worse things could happen.

    • #1
  2. JimGoneWild Coolidge
    JimGoneWild
    @JimGoneWild

    Isn’t this why we have a Vice President?

    • #2
  3. iWc Coolidge
    iWc
    @iWe

    The President was not there, so presumably security was looser. Why go to the same lengths to protect the building?

    • #3
  4. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    So, is the White House calling it “workplace violence”?

    • #4
  5. Last Outpost on the Right Member
    Last Outpost on the Right
    @LastOutpostontheRight

    I remember Hilary Clinton being described as an “especially good liar.” I don’t remember who said it, or even if that’s a exact quote. So don’t go all Neil deGrasse Tyson on me.

    But anyway, this administration lies even when they don’t have to. Isn’t that a sign of mental illness?

    • #5
  6. user_10225 Member
    user_10225
    @JohnDavey

    To be honest, I’d prefer that the White House and the Secret Service didn’t broadcast how poorly they performed in this instance. Just like I’d prefer that the Administration not tell us every detail of a successful Special Ops mission, to promote the admin, or to spill the details on a failed mission (rescue ops against ISIS) to prove that the President could SAVE US ALL! if the Spec Ops team could just get on the ball.

    Blame or fame, they seem to share way to much info. I’d prefer that bad actors who have an idea about assaulting the White House continue to believe that it would be an impossible task.

    But now that it is public, let’s hope that the Secret Service can do a better job of protecting its charges.

    • #6
  7. Albert Arthur Podcaster
    Albert Arthur
    @AlbertArthur

    iWc:The President was not there, so presumably security was looser. Why go to the same lengths to protect the building?

    Because the White House is a symbol.

    • #7
  8. Totus Porcus Member
    Totus Porcus
    @TotusPorcus

    You write that the jumper ran past the female guard at the front door.  I’ve read she was overpowered.  While Salon would like to pretend that “it doesn’t matter” that the guard was female, I’m getting tired of having to pretend for PC purposes that it wouldn’t have been better to have a 6’2″ former Marine at that post.  This is a major foul-up.  Imagine if the guy had been wearing a suicide vest.

    The next jumper will get shot.

    • #8
  9. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Last Outpost on the Right:I remember Hilary Clinton being described as an “especially good liar.” I don’t remember who said it, or even if that’s a exact quote. So don’t go all Neil deGrasse Tyson on me.

    But anyway, this administration lies even when they don’t have to. Isn’t that a sign of mental illness?

    I believe it was the lawyer Hillary worked for in the Watergate investigations. As I recall, he dismissed her for her unscrupulousness. But, yeah, probably the next president of these United States. Why not?

    • #9
  10. user_75648 Thatcher
    user_75648
    @JohnHendrix

    Last Outpost on the Right:I remember Hilary Clinton being described as an “especially good liar.” I don’t remember who said it, or even if that’s a exact quote. So don’t go all Neil deGrasse Tyson on me.

    But anyway, this administration lies even when they don’t have to. Isn’t that a sign of mental illness?

    You’re thinking of former Senator Bob Kerrey’s assessment of  President Bill Clinton’s veracity.  And since you correctly disclaimed certainty you shouldn’t be subject to a Neil Tyson-worthy pile-on by the fact checkers.

    • #10
  11. Nick Stuart Member
    Nick Stuart
    @NickStuart

    About a year ago an evidently disoriented woman with a small child in her car was shot and killed by [Capitol Police? Secret Service?] nowhere near the White House. Seems like security’s essentially random.

    • #11
  12. user_75648 Thatcher
    user_75648
    @JohnHendrix

    Western Chauvinist:

    Last Outpost on the Right:I remember Hilary Clinton being described as an “especially good liar.” I don’t remember who said it, or even if that’s a exact quote. So don’t go all Neil deGrasse Tyson on me.

    But anyway, this administration lies even when they don’t have to. Isn’t that a sign of mental illness?

    I believe it was the lawyer Hillary worked for in the Watergate investigations. As I recall, he dismissed her for her unscrupulousness. But, yeah, probably the next president of these United States. Why not?

    Hillarly was canned for worse than mere unscrupulousness.  She was fired for unethical behavior and being a liar:

    Jerry Zeifman, a lifelong Democrat, supervised the work of 27-year-old Hillary Rodham on the committee. Hillary got a job working on the investigation at the behest of her former law professor, Burke Marshall, who was also Sen. Ted Kennedy’s chief counsel in the Chappaquiddick affair. When the investigation was over, Zeifman fired Hillary from the committee staff and refused to give her a letter of recommendation – one of only three people who earned that dubious distinction in Zeifman’s 17-year career.

    Why?

    “Because she was a liar,” Zeifman said in an interview last week. “She was an unethical, dishonest lawyer. She conspired to violate the Constitution, the rules of the House, the rules of the committee and the rules of confidentiality.”

    But at least Zeifman didn’t call Hillary “an unusually good liar”.

    • #12
  13. user_9474 Member
    user_9474
    @

    An earlier post mentioned that the Secret Service guard at the door, the one who was overpowered, was female. That was a fact interestingly not mentioned in the NYT account of the fiasco. This home invasion is another rather spectacular instance of commonsense being, well, overpowered by feminist theory. Obama is no doubt as detached as a father as he is about everything else, including his job, but I bet Michelle insists she and her girls are guarded in the future by guards that are ectomorphs some madman can’t blow right past regardless of the advances led by Bella Abzug and the later generations of theorists who tell us sexual differences are merely social constructs that . . . you know the rest of the bilge.

    • #13
  14. HeartofAmerica Member
    HeartofAmerica
    @HeartofAmerica

    I find it all very, very troubling and expect that agent(s) should be either fired or reassigned. No one, no matter who is serving as president, should be subject to such lapses in judgement or security as this incident has revealed. It shouldn’t matter that the first family was not in the residence at the time. A breach occurred and such things should not happen.

    • #14
  15. user_199279 Coolidge
    user_199279
    @ChrisCampion

    Totus Porcus:You write that the jumper ran past the female guard at the front door. I’ve read she was overpowered. While Salon would like to pretend that “it doesn’t matter” that the guard was female, I’m getting tired of having to pretend for PC purposes that it wouldn’t have been better to have a 6’2″ former Marine at that post. This is a major foul-up. Imagine if the guy had been wearing a suicide vest.

    The next jumper will get shot.

    Yep.  I think that’s it.  There was nothing stopping anyone from detonating a chest full of explosives within the White House.  Next time, the person gets shot.  Period.

    • #15
  16. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    Spin:I’m not entirely sure what we are guarding anyway. I mean, if someone breaks in and makes off with the President….well lets just say worse things could happen.

    You bad. :)

    • #16
  17. AUMom Member
    AUMom
    @AUMom

    Spin:I’m not entirely sure what we are guarding anyway. I mean, if someone breaks in and makes off with the President….well lets just say worse things could happen.

    Yeah, Biden.

    • #17
  18. user_44643 Member
    user_44643
    @MikeLaRoche

    Clearly the answer is to tear down the fence and have an open White House.

    • #18
  19. Totus Porcus Member
    Totus Porcus
    @TotusPorcus

    Mike LaRoche:Clearly the answer is to tear down the fence and have an open White House.

    This is a good point.  He was merely an undocumented visitor.

    • #19
  20. Albert Arthur Podcaster
    Albert Arthur
    @AlbertArthur

    Nick Stuart:About a year ago an evidently disoriented woman with a small child in her car was shot and killed by [Capitol Police? Secret Service?] nowhere near the White House. Seems like security’s essentially random.

    Why would you say “nowhere near the White House” when the article to which you link clearly states:

    the woman originally tried to run down a Secret Service agent near the White House. The Secret Service later confirmed the officer was struck by the woman’s car.

    OK, she was shot near the capitol, not near the White House, but what are you saying, that if someone leaves the vicinity of the White House after trying to kill a Secret Service agent then it’s all ok?

    It turns out, she was mentally ill. And the guy who jumped the fence is mentally ill, too. I wish she hadn’t been killed, and I’m glad he was not killed. But the Secret Service needs to do a better job protecting the White House.

    • #20
  21. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    WASHINGTON (AP) Concerned by the recent security breach at the White House, press secretary Josh Earnest announced that the job of protecting the president will be transferred to the Department of Homeland Security. Starting Monday the First Family will be guarded by an elite squad of the TSA.

    Not only did Omar Gonzalez make it all the way into the East Room, it was revealed that he was carrying over 4.5 ounces of deodorant, an extra large tube of toothpaste and was in clear violation of the “3-3-1” rule.

    TSA Administrator John Pistole (whose name is currently under investigation by ATF) admitted that his agency can’t keep the president any safer but argued that they could put on a better piece of Security Theater than the Treasury Department. “One, the Secret Service isn’t even a secret. Everybody knows they’re there. Two, we’ll get to grope a higher class of individual with this gig!”

    Furthermore, after “latte-gate,” the ceremonial guard of US Marines will be replaced with a Troop of Lesbian Girl Scouts sponsored by the Chappaqua, NY chapter of the National Organization of Women.

    • #21
  22. Albert Arthur Podcaster
    Albert Arthur
    @AlbertArthur

    Albert Arthur:

    Nick Stuart:About a year ago an evidently disoriented woman with a small child in her car was shot and killed by [Capitol Police? Secret Service?] nowhere near the White House. Seems like security’s essentially random.

    Why would you say “nowhere near the White House” when the article to which you link clearly states:

    the woman originally tried to run down a Secret Service agent near the White House. The Secret Service later confirmed the officer was struck by the woman’s car.

    OK, she was shot near the capitol, not near the White House, but what are you saying, that if someone leaves the vicinity of the White House after trying to kill a Secret Service agent then it’s all ok?

    It turns out, she was mentally ill. And the guy who jumped the fence is mentally ill, too. I wish she hadn’t been killed, and I’m glad he was not killed. But the Secret Service needs to do a better job protecting the White House.

    And the president, obviously.

    • #22
  23. user_1938 Member
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    I am surprised as well that the man was only tackled, rather than shot, after having penetrated so deeply into the White House. The further in he got, the fewer assumptions should be allowed. Could they be certain that he didn’t have a bomb?

    I wonder how both their rules of engagement and recruiting priorities have changed in recent years. Has the Secret Service escaped the norm of Affirmative Action, which prefers identity to ability?

    • #23
  24. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    JimGoneWild:Isn’t this why we have a Vice President?

    I suspect the current VP is the reason this guy got as far as he did.  When reports of a “crazy guy” running around in the White House got broadcast the Secret Service agents on duty at first assumed it was just the Vice President going full Joe Biden.

    Seawriter

    • #24
  25. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    It’s time to say what we’ve all been thinking but have not had the courage to say.

    Blame for this falls squarely at the paws of Bo and Sunny. They are the least effective presidential guard dogs since Liberty. Barney and Miss Beazley would have taken out Gonzalez’s ankles; Buddy would have sodomized him; Millie and Ranger would have gone on point for a Secret Service sniper to have taken him out; Lucky would have wrestled him to the ground and drowned him in drool; and the killer rabbit wouldn’t have left a trace of him.

    • #25
  26. user_494971 Contributor
    user_494971
    @HankRhody

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: How far will the next intruder get?

    Personally I mourn the days when there was no secret service. When all and sundry could just go up and meet their president. I’m a democrat in the small d sense that I believe that all men truly are created equal, and I dislike the trappings of royalty that D.C. abrogates to itself. Even in cases like this where it might be necessary.

    …And yes, I remember that Jackson was nearly assassinated by a lunatic under these circumstances. For those of you who don’t remember the story, the would-be assassin’s pistols misfired, possibly because the bullets were afraid of Jackson. Jackson, then 71, beat the man severely with his hickory cane.

    • #26
  27. Fricosis Guy Listener
    Fricosis Guy
    @FricosisGuy

    ctlaw: Buddy would have sodomized him

    Then would’ve been run over by a car while smoking a cigarette.

    http://nypost.com/2002/01/04/a-doggone-shame-hs-kid-sick-about-running-over-clintons-dog-buddy/

    • #27
  28. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Hank Rhody: Personally I mourn the days when there was no secret service. When all and sundry could just go up and meet their president.

    Or even demonstrate a new rifle to the President, like Christopher Spencer did with President Lincoln.

    Spencer could not sell his repeating rifle to the War Department, so he wandered over to the White House with one to show it to the President.  Lincoln and Spencer had a shooting match with the rifle on the back lawn.  Lincoln then ordered the rifle be purchased.

    Imagine what the Secret Service’s reaction to that would be today.

    Seawriter

    • #28
  29. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    So if the “Warning: Property is protected by Government Employees” sign didn’t work, maybe they should get some “Beware of Dog” signs.

    • #29
  30. Roberto Member
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    EJHill:WASHINGTON (AP) Concerned by the recent security breach at the White House, press secretary Josh Earnest announced that the job of protecting the president will be transferred to the Department of Homeland Security. Starting Monday the First Family will be guarded by an elite squad of the TSA.

    Interestingly enough I came across an odd report that the current problems with the Secret Service stem directly from when they transferred from being under the Department of  the Treasury over to DHS in 2003. Supposedly this ended up heavily politicizing the Service and standards ended up being lowered.

    • #30

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