US Secret Service reviewing security of White House

The US Secret Service is conducting a review of the security procedures at the White House on an urgent basis after instances of two intrusions in the past few days over which President Barack Obama has expressed concern, his spokesperson said on Monday.

PTI| Updated: Sep 22, 2014, 23:22 PM IST

Washington: The US Secret Service is conducting a review of the security procedures at the White House on an urgent basis after instances of two intrusions in the past few days over which President Barack Obama has expressed concern, his spokesperson said on Monday.

The review began on Friday night, after an intruder entered the White House, reflecting major lapse in this most secured building of the US.

Obama, who was not inside the building when the incident happened, was briefed about it Friday night and subsequently over the weekend.

"It (review) will include a variety of things, including the positioning of tactical and non-tactical assets inside and outside the fence line. It will include a review of technical or physical security enhancements that may be necessary to improve security at the White House." White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at his daily news conference.

"It will also include a question about ongoing staffing and an assessment about whether or not additional staffing is needed."

Noting that providing security at the White House is complicated business, he said that the building is one of the popular tourist destinations in Washington DC.

"Thousands of tourists on a typical day will tour the White House. That means that thousands of tourists, members of the public, will walk out that front door at the conclusion of their tour," he said.

"The White House is, of course, a place of business. It's essentially a large office building. It is where members of the White House staff and White House journalists show up every day to do their work and facilitating your entry and exist to this complex, with a minimum amount of inconvenience, while also providing security is an important priority," he said.

Right outside the front gate of the White House is Lafayette Park, which is among the more prominent First Amendment zones in the country that individuals will gather in that area to make their First Amendment views known.

"This means that the Secret Service has the challenging task of balancing the need to ensure the safety and security of the first family, while also ensuring that the White House continues to be the people's house.

"And balancing those equities is challenging work, but it's clear that in this case a review of that work is warranted and that review will be conducted," the Press Secretary said.

Earnest said the President is concerned over the incident.

"He did indicate his family lives in the White House. So, he is obviously concerned by the incident that occurred on Friday evening," he said.

"Senior Secret Service officials who are responsible for conducting this review are carrying it out with a sense of urgency. This is something that they are pursuing urgently, and I know that this is a review that it began Friday night," he added.