Obama ‘obviously concerned’ with White House security breach

President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBiden on Bob Dole: 'among the greatest of the Greatest Generation' Moving beyond the era of American exceptionalism The bully who pulls the levers of Trump's mind never learns MORE is “obviously concerned” that a man carrying a knife was able to scale a fence outside the White House and make it inside the building’s front door, press secretary Josh Earnest said Monday.

The incident, which took place minutes after Obama and his family left the White House on the Marine One helicopter Friday evening, has triggered a comprehensive review by the Secret Service on White House security. 


“He did indicate, as you would expect, his family lives in the White House. And so, he is obviously concerned by the incident that occurred on Friday evening,” Earnest said.

He added that the Secret Service already beefed up foot patrols and surveillance around the executive mansion. The front door of the White House will also be locked when not in use, the spokesman said.

While there is no concrete timetable for the overall review, senior Secret Service officials are examining procedures with “urgency,” Earnest said. 

That examination will include the positioning of tactical and nontactical assets inside and outside the White House fence, a review of physical security enhancements that might be necessary, and questions about ongoing staffing. 

The review will also look at policy and procedures related to the assessment of threats and will also include a review of previous interactions with Omar Gonzalez, the 42-year-old veteran who was arrested and charged with unlawfully entering a restricted building or grounds while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon.

“At the same time, the president continues to have complete confidence in the professionals at the Secret Service to do the very challenging work that I described earlier,” Earnest said. 

“And the president is also confident that this review that is under way is one that will be conducted with the highest amount of professionalism, and he's confident that the reforms that are determined to be necessary will be implemented in the proper way.”

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Monday he plans to discuss the review upon its conclusion with senior White House officials and Secret Service Director Julia Pierson, and members of Congress.

“In the meantime, I encourage all of us to not rush to judgment about the event and not second-guess the judgment of security officers who had only seconds to act, until all the facts are in,” Johnson said in a statement. “It is important to remember that the U.S. Secret Service remains one of the best, if not the best, protection services in the world.”

The White House declined to weigh in on one proposal reportedly under consideration — expanding the perimeter around the White House to keep tourists off the sidewalk just outside the fence.

But Earnest stressed that the Secret Service was tasked with “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.”

“Providing security at the White House is complicated business,” Earnest said. “The White House is, as many people know, one of the more popular tourist destinations in our nation's capital. … It is where members of the White House staff and White House journalists show up every day to do their work, and facilitating your entry and exit to this complex, with a minimum amount of inconvenience, while also providing security is an important priority.”