Julia Pierson, director of the Secret Service, was questioned by members of Congress over details of the intrusion at the White House on Sept. 19. Leadership of the Secret Service, charged with protecting the President, are now under fire over the incident.
Omar J. Gonzalez, 42, a U.S. military veteran, illegally entered the White House and was able to penetrate into the building further than what was originally reported.
Gonzalez entered the North Portico entrance to the building while holding a knife, where he overpowered a Secret Service agent. He then ran into the East Room and attempted to enter the Green Room where receptions, often over tea, are held. It was there that White House security tackled the man, ending his venture into the presidential mansion.
Pierson promised an extensive review of all security procedures in place at the agency.
The Secret Service previously reported the intruder only made a few steps inside the building before being apprehended. Some lawmakers are now questioning if the Chief Executive's security detail released by authorities purposely misled reporters about the events.
The security breach is the latest in a string of mishaps for the Secret Service. In 2009, a man and woman were able to gain access to an official state dinner. Two years later, bullets riddled the side of the building, sending projectiles into an upstairs chamber, where the daughters of President Obama often reside. During the attack, a security supervisor ordered his agents to stand down, believing the sounds were a construction vehicle backfiring.
A new report blames management of the Secret Service over their response to the incident. A total of 16 people scaled the fences at the White House in the past five years, and the Secret Service has been rocked by numerous allegations of agents drinking and consorting with prostitutes since 2012.
The North Portico entrance is usually watched by a guard who stands outside the door, but there was no one there at the time Gonzalez entered. The officer inside the door failed to lock the entrance when an alarm, known as a crash box, was triggered, in order to alert others that the fence around the White House had been breached. However, that system may have been shut off, on the request of White House staff who complained about the noise.
"If true, the fact that crash boxes were muted to avoid being 'disruptive' is not due to a lack of resources or an insufficient number of checkpoints or barriers," said Jason Chaffetz, a Republican Congressman from Utah, who has started an investigation into the incident.
An attack dog, which would normally have been released, was also held back for fear the canine would attack security personnel.