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White House intruder was carrying a knife

The Secret Service is stepping up security at the White House after the incident.

Secret Service officers walk along the lawn at the White House following the incident
Secret Service officers walk along the lawn at the White House following the incident
Image: AP/Press Association Images

A MAN WHO climbed over the White House perimeter fence and made it through the doors of the building was carrying a knife.

The Secret Service has said it is stepping up security at the White House after the incident and carrying out a review of how it happened.

Omar Gonzalez, a 42-year-old man from Texas, was physically apprehended after he got  through the White House’s doors at the North Portico after scaling a fence on Friday night.

Secret Service offices repeatedly told him to stop as he ran towards the mansion but he ignored them.

“Although the officers showed tremendous restraint and discipline in dealing with this subject, the location of  Gonzalez’s arrest is not acceptable,” the Secret Service said in a statement.

Agents found a folding knife with a 3.5-inch serrated blade in his trousers pocket.

US President Barack Obama and his family had left the White House just minutes before the incident.

During an initial appearance in court in Washington on Saturday, Gonzalez was charged with unlawful entry while in possession of a deadly or dangerous weapon. He faces up to 10 years in jail.

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After his arrest, Gonzalez told a Security Service agent that “he was concerned that the atmosphere was collapsing and needed to get the information to the President of the United States so that he could get the word out to the people,” according to an affidavit by a Secret Service agent.

The document also said that Gonzalez claimed he had served three tours of duty in Iraq.

“Every day the Secret Service is challenged to ensure security at the White House complex while still allowing public accessibility to a national historical site,” the Secret Service statement said. “The challenge of securing the White House complex from security threats is ever present”.

Additional reporting by AFP 

Read: Man jumps White House fence and makes it through the doors before being caught > 

Read: Little boy gets bored in the White House, performs amazing faceplant > 

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Christine Bohan

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