List of White House security breaches

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Extensive security measures are used to protect the White House as the official residence (Executive Residence), office space (West Wing) of the President of the United States, and grounds. Security is primarily provided by the United States Secret Service. Since the September 11 attacks, the restricted airspace above the White House has been expanded and better enforced. Despite security measures such as a fence, however, there have been some people who have managed to gain access to the White House without permission.

Fence[edit]

Currently, a fence surrounds the White House, but it did not always exist. Though at various points since the time of Thomas Jefferson, various fences and gates were added to shape or constrain public access, greater public access to the White House grounds than was common in comparable European institutions was possible (with some restrictions) up until World War II. After World War II, public access to the White House grounds has been increasingly restricted.[1] During the mid-1990s, the fence was expanded by one block to move traffic farther from the White House to prevent damage from any car bomb.[2]

Breaches[edit]

Into the White House[edit]

Onto the grounds[edit]

  • February 17, 1974 – Robert K. Preston, hovered a stolen helicopter above the grounds and was forced to land. It is unknown if he planned to enter the residence.[9]
  • July 27, 1976 – Chester Plummer, scaled the White House fence, armed with a piece of pipe.[10] While advancing towards the White House, he was ordered to stop by a Secret Service officer. After ignoring the order,[11] he was shot by a rookie officer,[12] and died later in the hospital from his wounds and was the first known shooting victim on White House grounds.[13]
  • October 4, 1978 – Anthony Henry, dressed in a white karate outfit made his way onto the white house lawn armed with knives and was arrested after being clubbed and gang tackled by police.[14]
  • August 21, 1986 – Rosita Bourbon, scaled the northeast fence of the White House with a makeshift ladder and was arrested shortly afterwards.[15][16]
  • November 21, 1987 – Mike Davis, an unarmed man scaled a White House fence and made it to near the foot of a stairway that leads to the West Wing where President Reagan's office was before being arrested.[17]
  • September 12, 1994 – Frank Eugene Corder, crashed a stolen Cessna 150 onto the South Lawn of the White House, apparently trying to hit the building. He was the only person killed in the incident.[18]
  • May 24, 1995 – Leland William Modjeski, was shot on the White House grounds after scaling the fence. Authorities doubted however that he intended to harm the president and he appeared to have psychiatric problems.[19]
  • October 4, 2005 – Shawn A. Cox, after scaling the fence was immediately captured by secret service officers.[20]
  • February - April 2006 – Brian Lee Patterson, jumped the White House fence (including this incident) a total of four times.[21][22]
  • October 13, 2006 – Alexis Janicki, climbed over the fence while in possession of a bag of marijuana.[23]
  • March 16, 2007 – Catalino Lucas Diaz, scaled the fence with a package and threatened officers that he had a bomb. Catalino was arrested after determining that he had no dangerous weapon.[24][25]
  • June 9, 2009 – Pamela Morgan, jumped the fence onto the northeast corner of the grounds while carrying a backpack. Morgan was arrested immediately and her backpack later searched and found to contain nothing dangerous.[26]
  • March 30, 2014 – Unidentified male, caught and arrested after climbing over the fence.[27]
  • August 7, 2014 – An unknown toddler squeezed though the fence, and was returned to his parents.[28]
  • September 11, 2014 – A man wearing a Pikachu hat scaled the fence and entered the North Lawn where he was arrested.[29]
  • October 22, 2014 – Dominic Adesanya, jumped the fence onto the north lawn and was quickly taken down by two security dogs while punching and kicking them before being arrested by the Secret Service. He was later ordered by a judge to a mental health facility.[30][31]
  • April 15, 2015 – Doug Hughes, A former mail carrier from Florida, piloted and landed a gyrocopter onto the White House front lawn where he was immediately arrested by Capitol Police. He was carrying letters for every member of Congress urging them to reform campaign finance laws. Hughes, whose grown son had recently committed suicide, intended to make a point about the corruption of money in politics.[32][33]

Non-tresspassing incidents[edit]

  • February 1974 – Samuel Byck, planned to hijack a plane and fly it into the White House in an assassination attempt. He was wounded by two rounds that penetrated the aircraft door's window, he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head before police could enter the aircraft.[34]
  • December 25, 1974 – Marshall H. Fields, crashed a Chevrolet Impala into the Northwest Gate of the White House complex surrendered after negotiations without making into the front door.[citation needed]
  • November 26, 1975 into 1976 – Gerald B. Gainous climbed the White House fence four times over a period of a year during the Ford administration.[35]
  • December 1, 1976 – Steven B. Williams, tried unsuccessfully to crash his truck through the now reinforced steel gates (strengthened after the Marshall Fields incident) and was arrested.[36]
  • March 3, 1984 – David Mahonski, after previously warned to stay away from the White House for making threats against the president he was noticed in front of the south grounds of the White House by security agents who then approached him. He pulled a sawed-off shotgun from beneath his coat, and one of the agents shot him in the arm with a revolver. He was subsequently arrested.[citation needed]
  • March 15, 1985 – Chester Ramsey, was caught and arrested by Secret Service agents while trying to climb over the fence.[37]
  • October 29, 1994 – Francisco Martin Duran, took a semi-automatic rifle and fired 29 rounds at the White House before being tackled to the ground and arrested.[38]
  • February 8, 2001 – Robert W. Pickett, fired shots outside the White House fence and was then shot in the knee and arrested by Secret Service agents.[39]
  • November 11, 2011 – Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez was taken into custody in Indiana, Pennsylvania (near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) in connection with bullets fired near the White House- at least two of which impacted- on Constitution Avenue, NW (near The Ellipse and the closed Washington Monument), at least one of which was stopped by bullet-proof glass, the other having hit the exterior; it is unknown whether the White House was a target or was even involved- the President and First Lady were in Hawaii for the APEC Summit meeting at the time. A suspect was seen fleeing into Virginia from the 23rd Street, NW, entrance to the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge from an abandoned car left near there.[40]
  • June 9, 2013 – Joseph Clifford Reel, crashed a driverless jeep down Pennsylvania Avenue causing it to crash into the gate as a diversion so he could spray paint the side of the White House. Joseph was eventually arrested in the north courtyard and sentenced to 3 years in prison.[41]
  • March 2, 2015 – An unidentified man dressed in a construction suit tried to enter the White House grounds through the gate at Pennsylvania Avenue near East Executive Avenue in the early morning. He was stopped by Uniformed Division officers and taken into custody.[42]

Site layout and floor plans[edit]

Layout of buildings and grounds
Ground floor
State floor
Second floor (residence)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Public Report of the White House Security Review, chapter 4, "The Evolution of Presidential Security" (1995).
  2. ^ "White House Secure". Sun Sentinel. May 25, 1995. Retrieved November 29, 2009. The radar on the White House roof has been upgraded to protect against kamikaze planes, Pennsylvania Avenue has been blocked to foil car bombers – and still a gunman can clamber over the wrought-iron fence and sprint to within 50 feet of the president's windows. The response from the men and women who guard the White House: Unless you want to turn the president's house into a walled-off fortress, there just isn't much you can do about "jumpers" – except try to stop them on the lawn. 
  3. ^ "Intruder in White House Is Arrested After Forcing His Way in to See Taft". The New York Times. April 13, 1912. Retrieved February 5, 2009. 
  4. ^ Clarity, James F., and Warren Weaver Jr. "Briefing: Disavowal of Intruder." The New York Times January 31, 1985.
  5. ^ "Feds: Couple crashed Obama's state dinner". CNN. November 26, 2009. Retrieved November 26, 2009. 
  6. ^ Cristina Corbin (November 26, 2009). "Who Are the White House Party Crashers?". Fox News Channel. 
  7. ^ Shear, Michael D.; Steve Kenny (September 20, 2014). "Breach Prompts Review of White House Security". The New York Times. Retrieved January 30, 2015. 
  8. ^ Leonnig, Carol D. (September 29, 2014). "White House fence-jumper made it far deeper into building than previously known". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 29, 2014. 
  9. ^ "White House Security Review - Public Report". fas.org. 
  10. ^ U.S. News & World Report. U.S. News Publishing Corporation. 1976. 
  11. ^ Philip H. Melanson (2005). The Secret Service: The Hidden History of an Enigmatic Agency. Basic Books. pp. 139–. ISBN 978-0-7867-1617-3. 
  12. ^ Dead Intruder Had History of Rash Behavior, The Miami News, July 27, 1976, p. 3A,
  13. ^ Perlstein, Rick, Culture of Fear: Miriam Carey’s Tragedy, and Our Own, The Nation, October 4, 2013. Retrieved October 6, 2013
  14. ^ "Man with knife holds police at bay on white house lawn". Herald tribune. October 4, 1978. Retrieved January 20, 2015. 
  15. ^ "An Arrest at White House". The New York Times. August 22, 1986. Retrieved January 20, 2015. 
  16. ^ "White House Intruder Arrested". Los Angeles Times. August 21, 1986. Retrieved January 20, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Officers Arrest a Man Outside White House". The New York Times. November 22, 1987. Retrieved February 5, 2009. 
  18. ^ Pear, Robert (September 13, 1994). "CRASH AT THE WHITE HOUSE: THE PILOT; Friends Depict Loner With Unraveling Life". The New York Times. 
  19. ^ "Officials Doubt Intruder Meant President Harm". Officials Doubt Intruder Meant President Harm. May 25, 1995. Retrieved January 20, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Trespasser Scales White House Fence". The New York Times. Associated Press. December 5, 2005. Retrieved December 1, 2009. 
  21. ^ "Intruder arrested on White House grounds". CNN. April 10, 2006. Retrieved January 20, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Man Apprehended on White House Grounds". NBC News. April 9, 2006. Retrieved January 20, 2015. 
  23. ^ Williams, Clarence; Weil, Martin (October 15, 2006). "Man Arrested at White House". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 1, 2009. 
  24. ^ "66-year-old man leaps White House fence". USA Today. March 16, 2007. Retrieved February 1, 2009. 
  25. ^ "66-Year-Old Man Leaps White House Fence". The Associated Press via The Washington Post. March 16, 2007. Retrieved January 20, 2015. 
  26. ^ "Fence-jumper immediately apprehended at White House". The Washington Times. June 9, 2009. Retrieved January 20, 2015. 
  27. ^ "Official: Man scaled White House fence, arrested". USA Today. March 30, 2014. Retrieved December 14, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Toddler caught sneaking through White House fence". Daily News. New York. Retrieved October 1, 2014. 
  29. ^ "'Pokémon' fan jumps White House fence with Pikachu hat and doll". Daily News. New York. Retrieved October 1, 2014. 
  30. ^ "Accused White House Fence-Jumper Dominic Adesanya Shouts in Court". NBC News. October 27, 2014. Retrieved January 20, 2015. 
  31. ^ "White House jumper Dominic Adesanya ordered by judge to mental health facility". The Washington Post. October 27, 2014. Retrieved January 20, 2015. 
  32. ^ Jaffe, Alexandra (April 15, 2015). "Man taken into custody after landing single-person aircraft on Capitol grounds". CNN. Retrieved August 28, 2015. 
  33. ^ Montgomery, Ben (April 15, 2015). "FAA investigating Florida mailman's landing of gyrocopter on U.S. Capitol lawn". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved August 28, 2015. 
  34. ^ Hunter, Al (April 10, 2014). "The Plots to Kill Richard Nixon from the Sky, Part 2". The Weekly View. Retrieved May 4, 2015. 
  35. ^ Reading Eagle, August 16, 1976, page 6 retrieved 2011-08-07
  36. ^ "5 White House 'Attacks' That Didn't End in the Suspects Getting Killed". The Huffington Post. October 4, 2013. Retrieved January 20, 2015. 
  37. ^ "White House Intruder Thwarted". Los Angeles Times. March 15, 1985. Retrieved January 20, 2015. 
  38. ^ Schmitt, Eric (October 30, 1994). "Gunman Shoots at White House From Sidewalk". The New York Times. Retrieved February 5, 2009. 
  39. ^ Sanger, David (February 8, 2001). "Officer Shoots Armed Man Near White House Fence". The New York Times. Retrieved February 5, 2009. 
  40. ^ Grass, Michael (November 16, 2011). "Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez Arrested: Alleged White House Shooter In Custody In Pennsylvania". The Huffington Post. 
  41. ^ Hermann, Peter (January 10, 2014). "Ohio man sentenced to 3 years in prison for launching driverless Jeep at White House". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 10, 2014. 
  42. ^ "White House intruder arrested". CBS 19. March 2, 2015. Retrieved March 2, 2015. 

Further reading[edit]