After the White House saw several security lapses over recent months, Secret Service and National Park Service are adding 7-inch steel spikes on the fence to prevent outsiders from climbing in.
The work of adding these “pointed anti-climb feature” will begin in July, and will take about four weeks.
According to CNN, officials were checking the spikes for specifications and measurements on Thursday; until early afternoon the sidewalk along the fence was closed. The spikes will be added along the north and south sides of the grounds of the official residence of the U.S. president.
The move by Security Service came after a man was able to gain entrance into the grounds in September by climbing over the White House fence, crossing the front lawn and through the North Portico and entrance hall, going past the staircase up to the first family’s residence and finally into the East Room before being apprehended. Omar Gonzalez, it was concluded in a nine-page summary of the incident, was able to cross the fence where an ornamental spike was missing.
According to the Daily Mail, a preliminary review is being done of the design concepts to be implemented for longer-term security changes at the fence. The D.C. planning commission and the Commission of Fine Arts will shortlist a final design this summer. In a press release, Secret Service said that addition of spikes is only a temporary solution before a permanent one is designed.
Several other security lapses around the White House have been witnessed over the years.
There were two notable instances when drones were spotted on or around the White House grounds. One of these was when a man accidentally lost control of a flying device he was operating around his apartment before it crashed at the White House; and a second one where a man was arrested for intentionally flying his drone in the nearby Lafayette Park.
Two other lapses had occurred in the early phases of Obama’s presidency. Michaele and Tareq Salahi, who featured in the realty television show called “The Real Housewives of DC” gained popularity after they crashed a White House party in 2009, making their way past two Secret Service checkpoints in spite of not being on the invite list.
A second instance was in 2011 when a bullet was fired at the White House upstairs window by a man calling Obama “the anti-Christ.” The strike, which was found not until four years after, was stopped by a bulletproof glass.
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