| -0.6°C Dublin

Report shows poor level of security at White House

An intruder was able to jump the fence and enter the White House due to lapses by the US Secret Service, including an officer making a personal phone call at the wrong moment and poor communications, according to a report by the Department of Homeland Security.

The Secret Service failed to provide adequate training, deployed radio systems that didn't work properly, and inadequately staffed its uniformed division, which protects the White House grounds, according to the report.

In the September incident, Army veteran Omar Gonzalez (42) scaled the White House fence with a knife in his pocket and wasn't stopped until he was inside and near the stairs to the president's residence.


The episode set the stage for the resignation of Secret Service Director Julia Pierson, the first woman to hold that job.

Among the blunders: A uniformed officer who had an attack dog was late responding to the incident because he was on his personal mobile phone and wasn't wearing his radio earpiece, according to the report. The dog didn't have enough time to lock on to the suspect.

The report revealed that another officer assumed the White House door was locked because it was closed -- it wasn't, and there's no automatic remote locking mechanism.

At least one officer didn't understand how the radio system worked, and others didn't spot the intruder because their view was blocked by a construction project.