Downpour of bad news sank Secret Service director
At first word, it was bad enough: A White House fence-jumper managed to make it all the way to the front doors of the White House.
From there, the story just kept getting worse.
Bit by bit, details trickled out about the extent of the intrusion and about other security violations involving the Secret Service that hadn’t been previously reported.
How the story evolved:
Friday, Sept. 19: The Secret Service says an unarmed man jumped the fence on the North Lawn of the White House just before 7 p.m. and made it to the North Portico doors before being nabbed.
Saturday, Sept. 20: Officials allege the accused fence-jumper, Omar Gonzalez, had a knife.
Monday, Sept. 22: A prosecutor says investigators found more than 800 rounds of ammunition, a machete and two hatchets in Gonzalez’s car.
Sunday, Sept. 28: The Washington Post reports that in an earlier incident, it took the Secret Service four days in November 2011 to realize that a man had fired a high-powered rifle and struck the White House.
Monday, Sept. 29: Word surfaces that the fence-jumper made it farther inside the White House than the Secret Service had acknowledged, barreling past a guard in the front foyer, running through the East Room and approaching the Green Room before being apprehended.
Tuesday, Sept. 30: Secret Service Director Julia Pierson, in her first testimony on the breach, tells Congress that such an intrusion won’t happen again but faces blistering criticism from dissatisfied lawmakers. In her testimony, she reveals that two of her uniformed officers recognized Gonzalez just before he jumped the fence from an earlier troubling encounter with him, but they never approached him that day or reported his presence to superiors. Hours after the hearing, reports surface that three days before the fence-jumping, an armed man rode in an elevator with President Barack Obama and his security detail during a trip to Atlanta.
Wednesday, Oct. 1: Pressure to replace Pierson mounts, with members of Congress from both parties calling for her resignation. At midafternoon, the Homeland Security Department announces Pierson’s resignation. The White House says it was never told about the breach on the elevator until minutes before it was reported Tuesday. In the end, Obama “concluded new leadership of that agency was required,” said spokesman Josh Earnest.