Secret Service limits sidewalk access south of White House
- Author: Santos West Apr 21, 2017,
Apr 21, 2017, 3:02
Currently, the sidewalk is closed from 11 p.m. until 6 a.m. "Restricting public access to the fence line will not only serve to lessen the possibility of individuals illegally accessing the White House grounds but will also create a clear visual break to enable Secret Service officers to identify and respond to potential hazards including individuals attempting to scale the fence".
President Donald Trump was at the White House at the time. More highly symbolic First Amendment space is gone.
The changes were put into effect late Wednesday and follow the arrest last month of a California man who climbed over a fence in that area of the White House and was able to roam the grounds for about 17 minutes while carrying Mace before officers discovered him.
Secret Service Communications Director Cathy Milhoan told local radio station WTOP that the closure was not in response to any specific threat.
A uniformed Secret Service agent walks in front of a patrol vehicle September 24, 2014, as tourists view the White House from a second security fence.
The Secret Service is enlarging the protective bulwark around the White House complex Wednesday by closing access to the entire fence-line along the mansion's south lawn in the wake of persistent concerns about intrusions.
Weeks after the March 10 incident, a woman jumped over a temporary barrier outside the White House fence. The changes will not obstruct the public's view of the White House complex or prevent them from taking pictures of it, the agency said.
One-hundred people have tried to breach the White House grounds in the past three years, Secret Service officials told USA Today. It's still unclear how he was able to get so close to the White House after jumping the fence and why he was wandering the grounds.
A new taller, more secure fence is scheduled to be installed along the south lawn next year.
Just over a week later, another man jumped the protective bicycle rack barrier at the northern side of the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue.