Julia Pierson, director of the US Secret Service, has accepted in front of a committee that last month’s breach of security at the White House was “unacceptable” and “will never happen again”.
The incident, which took place on September 19 last, involved a knife-wielding man, Omar Gonzales, 42, scaling an outer fence, running across the lawn, entering the main building, and climbing up the stairs to the first floor of the White House before being stopped by Secret Service agents. The Obama family had just departed the premises only minutes earlier.
This report starkly contrasts earlier disclosures of information that the suspect had been tackled outside the building.
Pierson faced a grilling at Capitol Hill, and was asked why agents had not used more force to stop the man, including shooting him. Pierson replied that all the decisions taken by individual agents on the day are being reviewed.