After a series of security breaches, Secret Service announced that they would be adding a second layer of steel spikes to the White House’s fence as a “temporary security enhancement.” The measure is designed to discourage future climbers from jumping over the fence whenever they want to.
The proposal was addressed to the National Capitol Planning Commission Thursday. After a brief hearing, the commission approved it without further ado. The National Park Service (NPS) and Secret service officers reported that the new measure was a temporary solution to prevent intruders from trespassing on White House’s fenced-off grounds. The two agencies also announced that the new security improvement would not have a major visual impact and would preserve the significance of the government building.
But the Secret Service has various other plans to enhance White House’s security. They said that the current concrete barriers at the car checkpoints would be replaced with sturdier ones made of steel. Also, they will install a new security booth at the entrance of the White House. The new layer of sharp metal spikes added on top of the fence will point outward and can be removed at any time since the measure is only temporary, the agency noted.
The NPS and Secret Service also disclosed that they were working with several other agencies to design more complex and permanent security measures that would prevent future security breaches from happening. The temporary solutions, however, are scheduled to begin this week and be ready by mid-summer.
The improvements to vehicle checkpoints will begin this Friday.
According to the two agencies’ public statement, the extra layer of fence spikes is designed to both “deter” and “inhibit” wanna-be climbers from jumping over the White House fence. The new spikes will start to be installed in July and will be fully functional in four week’s time.
“This temporary measure will be in place until a long-term solution is implemented,”
a Secret Service spokesperson announced.
The announcement comes nine months after a high-profile incident, when Omar Gonzalez managed to jump over the fence, run into the White House and make it to the East Room although he was carrying a knife. Secret Service managed to immobilize him and hand him over to the police. But when police officers searched his vehicle they found it loaded with ammunition and a machete.
Gonzales pleaded guilty three months ago to trespassing on the federal building’s land, unlawfully entering it, resisting arrest and disrupting Secret Service agents and White House’s staff. He currently awaits his verdict in June and risks up to 18 months behind bars.
But Gonzalez is not a singular case to infringe Washington’s security and give law enforcement agencies and the one they are supposed to protect the shivers.
In April, a retired mailman from Florida managed to land a gyro-copter on the U.S. Capitol‘s lawn. He said he wanted to deliver a message to the members of the Congress about the dangers of the current rules of campaign finance.
Moreover, during the same month, a Capitol police officer left his gun in a Senate bathroom stall and an 8-year-old visiting the building found it.
Image Source: Politico