Public access to the sidewalk along the southern fence of the White House blocked
Wisconsin Star - Friday 21st April, 2017
White House’s south fence now blocked for public by Secret Service
The move comes weeks after a man scaled the barrier and walks around the grounds
Two Secret Service agents were fired over the matter
WASHINGTON, U.S. - Weeks after a man scaled the southern fence of the White House and roamed the grounds for a good 16 minutes before being arrested - the Secret Service has now finally acted.
The U.S. Secret Service said on Wednesday that it is planning to restrict public access to the sidewalk along the southern fence of the White House.
The Secret Service said in a statement that the changes are part of an "ongoing comprehensive review" of security measures at the White House and its surrounding grounds.
On March 10, the agency had stated that a man, identified as 26-year-old Jonathan Tuan-Anh Tran, of Milpitas, California scaled the south fence carrying mace and walked the grounds for 16 minutes before being arrested.
Weeks later, a woman jumped over a temporary barrier outside the White House fence and was subsequently arrested.
Only last week the agency confirmed that two Secret service agents were fired over the matter.
In its statement, the agency has stated that the new policy could lessen the likelihood of any future breaches.
It has, however, not attributed the changes to a particular incident.
U.S. Secret Service communications director Cathy Milhoan said in a statement, “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.”
The changes came into effect on Wednesday night and the agency said from hereon, public will be prevented from accessing the sidewalk, roadways and the grounds between the south fence line and E Street NW between West Executive Avenue and East Executive Avenue.
Milhoan added, “The Secret Service must continually evaluate security protocols and continually balance the security of our protected persons and facilities with the public's ability to access them.”
The Secret Service also pointed out that since 2015, similar limitations had already been in place between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.
It also clarified that the changes will not obstruct the public's view of the White House complex or prevent them from taking pictures of it.
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