President Trump praised the Secret Service and thanked them for apprehending a 26-year-old unidentified California man who scaled the White House fence late last night.
“Secret Service did a fantastic job last night,” the president told reporters at Trump National Golf Club in Potomac Falls, Virginia. “I appreciate it.”
The individual climbed the fence at 11:38 p.m. on Friday and was taken into custody by uniformed officers without incident, the Secret Service said in a statement on Saturday. The person was carrying a backpack that was not found to contain hazardous materials. Trump was at the White House at the time.
The Secret Service didn’t identify the person who was arrested in the statement, although an official with the agency said the individual didn’t have a criminal record and wasn’t on the radar of the protective service. A search of the north and south grounds of the presidential residence following the arrest didn’t find anything of additional concern, according to the statement.CNN identified the fence-jumper as a 26-year-old male holding a California driver’s license.
A White House official said the president was made aware of the situation last night and appreciated the Secret Service’s efforts.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly — who joined Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Saturday at what Trump described as a “mini Cabinet meeting” at his Virginia club — was also briefed on the incident, the Secret Service said.
The Secret Service’s director, Joseph Clancy, retired from the agency on March 4, with William Callahan now leading it in an acting capacity. Clancy was appointed to the post following a 2014 incident in which an intruder was able to scale the fence of the White House and run inside the presidential mansion before being apprehended, as well as revelations that a private security guard with a gun and criminal history had been allowed to board an elevator with President Barack Obama during a visit to Atlanta.
Breitbart interviewed a former Secret Service agent, Dan Bongino, who said that President Trump is not safe in the White House:
“This is inexcusable,” Bongino said of the latest incident. “How many of these are we, as the citizenry, going to tolerate, whether under Barack Obama or now President Trump, before there is enough citizen outrage that the Secret Service actually does something?”
Bongino is the author of the bestselling 2013 book Life Inside the Bubble: Why a Top-Ranked Secret Service Agent Walked Away from It All. He also previously ran as a Republican for Congress and the Senate.
He was speaking in an interview set to air Sunday on this reporter’s talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio,” broadcast on New York’s AM 970 The Answer and NewsTalk 990 AM in Philadelphia.
“The secret service is not ready right now to defend the White House,” he charged. “They’re not. I know that may make people uncomfortable. And frankly, Aaron, I am really getting tired of some of the talking heads on cable news who have never done one minute in the shoes a secret service agent.”
“They have no idea what the security plan of the White House actually looks like on the ground. They’re all sitting here brushing it under the rug, going, ‘Oh no.’ ‘They were prepared.’ ‘This was a manageable incident.’ ‘This was how it was supposed to work.’ You really believe this is how it was supposed to work?”
Regarding Friday night’s breach, Bongino warned, “Do you think that what happened today is not being beamed into every terrorists’ head, going, ‘Look at this fellows.’ I am sounding the alarm hoping and praying with fingers crossed that somebody wakes up and finally does what needs to be done.”
Bongino makes a good point. What if that backpack had been full of high explosives? At the very least, considerable damage could have been done to the White House if he had gotten close enough.
The Secret Service has the toughest job in the world, but when one of their own breaks ranks to sound the alarm, somebody better be listening. Given the white-hot hate rhetoric directed against Trump as well as the suggestions by several celebrities that someone should take President Trump out, we are going to have a national tragedy unless there are changes made to the president’s security.