Omar Gonzalez, the 42-year-old Iraqi War veteran infamously known as the White House fence jumper, apparently got further into the building than previously thought two weeks ago. In fact, Gonzalez was able to push past one Secret Service guard and ran throughout much of the White House main floor.
Monday afternoon, the Washington Post reported on the newly revealed details behind the accounts of three persons close to the situation. Gonzalez, who was armed with a knife, got dangerously close to the living quarters of the First Family although it was reported that they were not inside.
The Post reports:
An alarm box near the front entrance of the White House designed to alert guards to an intruder had been muted at what officers believed was a request of the usher’s office, said a Secret Service official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The officer posted inside the front door appeared to be delayed in learning that the intruder, Omar Gonzalez, was about to burst through. Officers are trained that, upon learning of an intruder on the grounds — often through the alarm boxes posted around the property — they must immediately lock the front door.
After barreling 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.
This new account contradicts earlier Secret Service statements that Gonzalez was tackled and subdued at the main entry. Officials from the agency have elected not to comment on details regarding the breach, which is still under investigation.
Earlier today on Washington’s WAMU radio station, a spokesperson from the Fraternal Order of Police stated unofficially that morale within the Secret Service ranks are low. The spokesperson suggested that many prospective officers join the Service for its high profile, later realizing the job isn’t that glamorous.
Also at root was President Barack Obama standing as the nation’s first Black president has garnered more threats against his life than previous sitting leaders.
The House of Representatives’ Oversight Committee are holding a hearing regarding the latest White House breach.
Photo: New River Valley Regional Jail