The chairman of the House Oversight subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations said that the latest White House fence jumper shows the need to “take down” anyone who tries to break into 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Dominic Adesanya, 23, of Bel Air, Md., had previously been detained outside the White House, and jumped the fence last night.
Two Secret Service dogs ran after the jumper, who kicked one pup and punched another, according to CNN.
The dogs were treated for injuries and have returned to duty. Adesanya faces charges for assaulting the dogs, unlawful entry and making threats. He was reportedly unarmed and his father told media that he’s mentally ill.
“The United States capital, it’s one of the highly targeted terrorist facilities in the world, as is the White House,” Chaffetz told Fox on a day when the Canadian parliament was attacked and the White House got its second jumper in two months.
“You have got some jumper… these attacks, they are out there. And the men and women who perform the intelligence to try to prevent them and then the men and women who actually have to respond to those with dogs and other assets, they’ve just got to smother this as quickly as possible. So it’s something that we have been deal with for a long period of time,” the congressman continued. “But when you see, you know, an honor guard killed, murdered, you have got to think this is terrorism, not just, hey, let’s down play this. You have to think, is this part of a bigger, broader terrorist effort? We are in a fight and we have to win this fight.”
Chaffetz acknowledged “we can’t give up every liberty in the name of security.”
“At the same time, when we know there is a threat, there is a clear-and-present danger to the United States of America, then you go take out that threat,” he said. “We can’t be so politically correct as to say, well, let’s not just pretend that this particular thing — let’s just smooth that over. No, you can’t be talking about workplace violence when clearly it’s terrorism. Let’s get real about it and get aggressive about it. People need to know, for instance, in the fence jumping, I spent a lot of time looking at the Secret Service, and most every one of those men and women do awesome work. Awesome work.”
“But when somebody does jump the fence, they need to know that they are going to be taken down. Those men and women who are there, they can’t hesitate. They need to know we got their back, that nobody gets to the president, nobody gets in the White House, no one gets in that Canadian parliament. If that’s the message we continue to send, then I think they will think twice about making those types of attempts.”
The jumper reportedly got 20 yards or so across the lawn before the dogs got him.
D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) said the latest incident shows that the height of design of the fence needs to be changed.
“The Secret Service has learned from the most serious breach in its history that dogs need to be on the job on the ground where the fence-jumpers want to be, not at an off-site location,” Norton said. “However, last night’s jumper scaled the fence when the president was in the residence. When will the Department of Homeland Security or the Secret Service seek a historically authentic, secure wrought-iron fence to thwart fence jumpers?”
“The potential effectiveness of such measures is clear, unlike the overreach of keeping the public farther away from the White House,” Norton added. “These two steps – updating the fence and keeping dogs close to the fence – show that what we need is common sense and attentiveness to every security detail at the perimeter.”