A California man carrying Mace roamed for nearly 17 minutes inside the secured White House perimeter before he was taken into custody March 10 near the South Portico entrance, the Secret Service acknowledged Friday.
The man did not enter the White House, the agency said, without further explaining the delay in his capture or details about alarms, protocols or responses that may have failed, The Washington Post reports.
President Trump was in the residence at the time of the breach.
Jonathan T. Tran, 26, of Milpitas, Calif., was detected crossing a five-foot outer fence near East Executive Avenue and the Treasury Department complex at 11:21 p.m. and was arrested at 11:38 p.m., the agency said.
The incident is believed to be the first intrusion on the White House grounds since Trump took office. Last year, the Secret Service added small spikes — or “pencil points” — to the top of the six-foot fence that surrounds the White House complex. The agency also announced a plan to raise the height of the fence to 11 feet by 2018.
To approach the mansion, Tran scaled two additional barriers, according to the Secret Service account, an eight-foot vehicle gate, then a 3 ½ foot fence near the southeast corner of the East Wing.
Court documents filed at the time of his arrest omitted any reference to alarms sounding and gave only an account by the uniformed officer who saw and arrested Tran, up to 200 yards from where he had entered and after he at one point hid behind a pillar.
The agency said it has done more than 50 interviews and reviewed radio transmissions and video footage of the incident. It also said it has taken immediate but unspecified steps to mitigate lapses in security protocols as the investigation continues.
The disclosure Friday came as the Secret Service confirmed that a laptop computer holding sensitive security information was stolen from one of its agents in New York City, prompting a multiagency investigation to try to retrieve it.
The events renewed scrutiny of the presidential security agency battered and castigated after a 2014 incident in which intruder Omar Gonzalez made his way deep into the executive mansion before being tackled by an off-
duty agent in the East Room. The incident and a string of other revelations triggered a management overhaul of the agency.
On Friday, a House Oversight Committee ordered the Secret Service to preserve documents in the March 10 episode and deliver a full briefing Monday.
“I worry this is the worst one yet,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said in an interview. “The time on the White House grounds really concerns me. With the president in the White House the intruder was evidently able to hide behind a pillar and get to a door undetected. The problem has persisted for years and is totally unacceptable. It scares me.”In a letter sent to Acting U.S. Secret Service Director William J. Callahan before the Secret Service released its new timeline of events, Chaffetz, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said his panel had received potentially troubling allegations about undisclosed breakdowns.