The U.S. Secret Service is coming under intense scrutiny after a man who hopped the White House fence made it all the way through the front door before being apprehended.
President Barack Obama and his daughters had just departed the White House on Friday evening when an intruder scaled the north fence, darted across the lawn and into the presidential residence, where agents nabbed him. The security breach triggered a rare evacuation of much of the White House, with Secret Service officers drawing their guns as they rushed staffers and journalists out a side door.
For the Secret Service, the incident was a devastating episode that prompted fresh questions about the storied agency and its ability to protect the president. The Republican Party’s Jason Chaffetz, who chairs the House of Representatives’ subpanel on national security oversight, called it “totally unacceptable” but said the incident was just one of a string of security failings on the Secret Service’s watch.
“Unfortunately, they are failing to do their job,” Chaffetz said. “These are good men and women, but the Secret Service leadership has a lot of questions to answer.”