Omar Gonzalez isn’t the first White House intruder, but he is the most armed. Authorities say about 800 rounds of ammunition was found in his car. Fortunately, the Obamas were not at home.
Less than 24 hours later, another man, Kevin Carr, was arrested for driving through a White House gate and refusing to leave.
Aren’t Secret Service Agents supposed to guard the White House and particularly, the Obamas with their lives? How, then, was Gonzalez able to scale the fence, run across the lawn and head toward the presidential residence, all the while carrying a knife? It is as embarrassing as it is disturbing.
To their credit, agents ordered the man to stop. But he should not have been allowed to get that close. The incident, which occurred Sept. 19, has put the Secret Service under scrutiny. What went wrong, and what is being done to make sure potentially violent criminals stay far away from the First Family?
Officials initially said the fact that Gonzalez appeared to be unarmed may have been a factor in why agents at the scene didn't shoot him on the spot or sic their dogs on him.
"Unfortunately, they are failing to do their job," said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah. "These are good men and women, but the Secret Service leadership has a lot of questions to answer."
Last year, a woman rammed her car into a security checkpoint. A man was arrested for following the president’s motorcade through the gates. In August, a toddler managed to slip through the slats of the iron gates surrounding the perimeter. Agents joked they would wait until the child learned to talk before questioning him.
So far, Director Julia Pierson has increased surveillance and the number of patrol officers and is investigating the incident.