WASHINGTON ― A California man accused of breaching the White House complex last week remained on the premises for 15 minutes before Secret Service agents could corral him, agency sources told CNN Friday.
Jonathan Tran, 26, faces criminal charges for allegedly scaling a perimeter fence outside the Treasury Building adjacent to the White House around midnight last Friday. Tran then made his way toward the mansion, setting off a number of alarms, according to CNN. He avoided apprehension on multiple occasions, in one instance by hiding behind a pillar of an East Wing portico.
Tran was finally arrested just outside a main door to the president’s residence. He was wearing a backpack and carrying two cans of Mace. Tran reportedly told officers he was a “friend of the president” and claimed to have had “an appointment” with President Donald Trump, who was at the White House at the time. Tran faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
The Secret Service response to the intrusion was “lacking,” and exposed “vulnerabilities in the system,” sources told CNN. The agency is reportedly conducting a formal “mission assurance review” to determine what went wrong.
White House fence jumpers have successfully bypassed Secret Service security numerous times in the past, leading to embarrassments and scrutiny. A series of incidents, including one in 2014 in which an intruder made it inside the White House while armed with a knife, led the Secret Service to add spikes to the barrier around the grounds. Plans are now underway to make the fence higher and sturdier.
The Secret Service also is under fire after reports that a laptop and other “sensitive” documents were stolen from an agent’s parked vehicle Thursday morning in Brooklyn, New York. The computer reportedly contained information about the Hillary Clinton campaign email investigation, as well as security information regarding Trump Tower in New York.