White House intruder was further in than reported: Secret Service whistleblower

The man who intruded the White House earlier two weeks ago made it as far as the East Room, which is often used for receptions or presidential addresses, said a secret service official.

Omar Gonzalez is believed to be the first person to have jumped the fence and made it inside the executive mansion.

Usually any intruders, which have become a common occurrence, are stopped by secret service officials on the lawn.

An alarm box near the front entrance of the White House designed to alert guards to an intruder had been muted, which officers believed was a request of the usher's office.

Since the alarm was muted, the officer posted at the front door did not learn that there was an intruder quick enough allowing him to burst through. If he had known, the officer is trained to immediately lock the front door.

Gonzales, who was carrying a knife, was only tackled by an agent at the East Room - further than what previous reports had mentioned.

On the way to the East Room is a half-flight of staircase that leads to the first family's living quarters.

Intrusion a "failure of leadership"

Secret Service officials had earlier said he was detained at the main entry.

The new information of the breach comes from anonymous Secret Service officials and whistleblowers who contacted the chairman of a House Oversight subcommittee on national security, congressman Jason Chaffetz. 

Chaffetz said he will ask Secret Service Director Julia Pierson why the alarm was muted in the first place.  He said that two people told him that the alarm box was silenced because they were unnecessarily sounding off.

"If true, the fact that crash boxes were muted to avoid being disruptive is not due to a lack of resources or an insufficient number of checkpoints or barriers," said Chaffetz.

He called the incident a "failure of leadership" by the Secret Service.

Source: Washington Post

Related report:  800 rounds of ammunition found in the car of White House intruder

                             Watch intruder running into White House grounds

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