Last week, Omar Gonzalez was charged with unlawfully entering a restricted area while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon. Secret Service officials originally reported that Gonzalez was quickly detained at the main entrance after scaling a wall at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. However, The Washington Post broke the latest details on Monday that Gonzalez actually made it much deeper into the building.
Upon clearing a fence outside the White House, the accused overpowered a Secret Service officer at the front door and barreled along through the 80-foot-long East Room, reaching the door of the Green Room where he was eventually detained, knife in hand.
According to a Secret Service official speaking under the condition anonymity, an alarm box near the front entrance of the White House designed to alert guards of intrusions had been muted. Representative Jason Chaffetz, chairman of a Homeland Security subcommittee, said he was told the alarm was silenced because the White House usher staff found them to be “noisy” and they frequently malfunctioned.
A U.S. official has confirmed these alarming details to several news outlets since Monday. The first family was not home at the time, but the Secret Service – and its Director Julia Pierson – will undoubtedly face tough scrutiny over the incident.