In response to the White House fence jumping earlier this month, Secret Service Director Julia Pierson told Congress Tuesday that the agency has installed locks on the presidential mansion’s front doors, which will now be locked in event of a security breach.
Pierson testified before the House Oversight Committee on Tuesday about the Sept. 19 security breach by Omar Gonzalez, who while wielding a knife, jumped the White House fence, entered the front door and penetrated deep inside the compound before he was tackled by security.
After receiving the breach alert late as a result of a disabled security alert box, a Secret Service agent was reportedly trying to lock the North Portico doors manually when she was knocked over by the 42-year-old Iraq war veteran as he sprinted through.
Before being apprehended, Gonzalez barreled past a staircase leading to the president’s bedroom and ran all the way through the East Room — much farther than he should have ever been allowed to get, according to lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
While getting grilled by House members Tuesday, Pierson announced one of the first changes the agency put in place in response to the incident includes new door locks, which will trigger automatically in the event of future security emergencies.
Lawmakers were reportedly surprised such a system wasn’t already in place prior to the incident.
“How on Earth did this happen?” House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrel Issa asked. “Why was there no guard stationed at the front door of the White House, and yes, how much would it cost to lock the front door of the White House?”