March 18 (UPI) — A California man accused of breaching the White House grounds scaled three fences and roamed the property for nearly 17 minutes undetected, the Secret Service said Friday
The Secret Service said a man scaled a 5-foot outer perimeter fence near the Treasury complex, near East Executive Avenue, at 11:21 p.m. on March 10. He walked within the secure perimeter to then scale an 8-foot vehicle gate and finally climb over a 3 1/2-foot fence near the southeast corner of the White House’s East Wing. Jonathan T. Tran, 26, of Milpitas, Calif., was taken into custody at 11:38 p.m. Officials said Tran was carrying a backpack containing two cans of Mace, a laptop computer, a passport, a book written by President Donald Trump and letter to Trump with alleged information on Russian hackers.
House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz told CNN on Friday the intruder even rattled a door handle at the South Portico entrance to the White House. The House Oversight Committee ordered the Secret Service to deliver a full briefing in the coming days.
“That’s why we spend billions of dollars on personnel and dogs and technologies and fences and undercover people and video surveillance,” the Utah Republican said. “And yet the person is able to get up close to the White House and spend 17 minutes before he’s apprehended. That’s unbelievable.”
The Secret Service said investigators have conducted some 50 interviews and reviewed video footage and radio transmissions to determine how the incident unfolded.
“The Secret Service can confirm that at no time did the individual gain entry into the White House,” officials said.
On Tuesday, a judge ordered Tran to stay near his California home when not traveling to Washington for court appearances. He was ordered to undergo a mental-health evaluation and wear a tracking device.