White House intruder jumped three fences

BBC | Published: 09:05, Mar 18,2017

White House

A restricted area sign is seen outside of the White House in Washington November 27, 2015. — Reuters file photo

The US Secret Service has released new details of last week's White House fence-jumping incident, in which an intruder was discovered just steps from the main building.

Jonathan Tran, 26, was in the grounds for more than 16 minutes before he was detained, it said.

He now faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

In a statement, the Secret Service said it was ‘extremely disappointed and angry’ about the events of March 10.

Tran did not gain entry to the White House, where president Donald Trump was staying at the time.

However, congressman Jason Chaffetz - whose House Oversight Committee oversees the Secret Service - claimed the intruder had managed to rattle a door-handle at the South Portico entrance.

According to court documents, Tran told federal agents that he was a friend of the president and had an appointment.

He was carrying two cans of mace, a US passport, a computer and one of Trump's books, authorities said.

The president praised the Secret Service for doing a ‘fantastic job’ in apprehending the intruder.

Tran had managed to climb a 5ft (1.5m) fence near the US Treasury Department, which is next to the White House. He then scaled an 8ft vehicle gate, and a shorter fence near the east wing of the White House grounds.

CNN reports that he set off several alarms after jumping the fence, but was able to avoid other sensors.

Tran, who comes from Milpitas, California, had reportedly been spotted ‘looming around’ Washington's Pennsylvania Avenue, where the White House stands, nearly six hours before his arrest.

The Secret Service said it had taken immediate steps to avoid further security lapses, and that over 50 people had been interviewed about the incident.

The intrusion was the latest in a series of breaches at the White House in recent years.

Security has been enhanced. In 2015, sharp spikes were installed on top of the black iron fence that circles the property.

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