Secret Service erects second fence around WH

The Secret Service has erected a temporary barrier blocking tourists from the sidewalk outside the White House days after an Army veteran with a knife scaled the North Lawn fence and sprinted into the executive mansion before being captured.

The new fence, which is about 3 feet tall, is made of interlocking sections secured with plastic ties and situated a few feet in front of the black iron fence. 

ADVERTISEMENT
"A temporary buffer zone has been created along the sidewalk in front of the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue from West Executive Avenue to East Executive Avenue," Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said in a statement.

"This temporary closure is in effect while the Secret Service conducts a comprehensive review of the fence jumping incident which occurred on Friday September 19th."

As part of the review, the agency will examine permanently extending the perimeter outside the compound, as well as possibly requiring individuals to submit to bag checks before entering the park or streets immediately surrounding the White House.

But the prospect of such restrictions has already drawn complaints from some Washington political figures.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) on Monday requested a meeting with the Secret Service and warned against further changes that would restrict access around the “people’s house.” 

“It is important to keep Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House and the surrounding area, including Lafayette Park, Pennsylvania Avenue, 17th Street and 15th Street, as accessible to the public as possible,” Norton wrote in a letter to Secret Service Director Julia Pierson.

“These are First Amendment protected areas used by the public on a daily basis to both see the residence of the president and engage in their constitutional right to petition the government, and must be kept open for their continued daily use.”

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Monday that “providing security at the White House is complicated business.”

“The Secret Service has the challenging task of balancing the need to ensure the safety and security of the first family, while also ensuring that the White House continues to be the people’s house,” Earnest said.

“And balancing those equities is challenging work, but it’s clear that in this case a review of that work is warranted and that review will be conducted.”