#AceNewsServices – WASHINGTON – September 30 – The White House on Tuesday urged the Secret Service to release “as soon as possible” information about the incident involving a fence-jumper who entered the executive mansion, as troubling details about the security breach began to leak out.
“It is my view that it is in the interest of the agency in question and all of you for the information to be accurate and released as soon as possible,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.
“There is legitimate public interest in this matter because it relates to the safety and security of the commander in chief.”
The statement suggested waning patience within the West Wing for the press operation at the Secret Service.
In a pair of reports this week, the Washington Post revealed that Omar Gonzalez, a 42-year-old Iraq war veteran with a folding knife in his pocket, was able to get farther into the White House than previously thought.
Gonzalez apparently overpowered a female agent, ran through the main foyer and past a staircase leading to the private residence, and entered the East Room — a large space regularly used for public events and speeches. He was then tackled by an off-duty agent on the security detail for the president’s daughter. The agent was leaving work when he came upon the intruder, individuals familiar with the incident told the paper.
That account differed from public statements made by the Secret Service to reporters after the incident that misstated the extent of the security breach.
Associated Press White House correspondent Josh Lederman tweeted that the agency told him that Gonzalez was apprehended “just inside the North Portico doors.” NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith also noted that the Secret Service had originally described Gonzalez as unarmed.
Earnest sidestepped questions about whether he believed the Secret Service had deliberately misled reporters, saying the contradictions likely reflected the “chaotic” aftermath of the incident.
But Earnest added that such situations were precisely why he has so far declined to confirm any specifics about the incident until the release of a final report detailing what occurred.
By Justin Sink @ The Hill