White House Intruder Prompts House Hearing On Secret Service

WASHINGTON -- A House committee will hold a hearing next week to examine how the U.S. Secret Service failed to prevent an armed intruder from hopping the White House gate Friday night and making it all the way into the entrance of President Barack Obama's residence.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, announced Monday the panel will meet Sept. 30 to discuss Secret Service security protocols. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson has been invited to testify.

"The recent intrusion of an individual into the White House is the latest in a string of high profile incidents for the Secret Service," Issa said in a statement. "These significant security breaches reveal our weaknesses as well as our response capabilities to our nation's enemies. I look forward to hearing from Secret Service Director Pierson, in light of scandals ranging from the Salahis to Cartagena, about what steps the agency is taking under her leadership to improve security and put an end to dangerous embarrassments."

More than 800 rounds of ammunition were found in the car of the alleged White House intruder, who has been identified as Omar Jose Gonzalez, 42, of Texas. The New York Times reported Monday that Gonzalez, who was carrying a knife when he broke into the White House, had been arrested by Virginia police in July with several weapons and a map of the White House in his possession.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said during his Monday briefing that the Secret Service has already made changes to its procedures, including beefed up foot patrols and additional surveillance around the building. The agency has begun a broader review of polices to assess how the intrusion happened.

As for Obama's reaction, Earnest said the president is "obviously" rattled that someone got past security and into his home.

"He did indicate, as you would expect, his family lives in the White House, and so he is obviously concerned by the incident," said Earnest. "At the same time, the president continues to have complete confidence in the professionals at the Secret Service to do the very challenging work" that they do.



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