WASHINGTON – The president is vulnerable on the White House grounds, according to former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino, who once guarded presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
Bongino made the stunning assessment in an interview Friday with Fox News. It followed an incident last Friday night when a man jumped the White House fence and may have roamed the property for as long as 15 minutes before he was detained and arrested by the Secret Service.
On Friday March 10, Jonathan Tran reportedly scaled a fence on the grounds to the White House. He was found in close proximity to the mansion, hiding behind a column relatively close to the president inside. Court documents indicate Tran possessed two cans of mace at the time he was taken into custody.
Bongino said that Tran was so close he “jiggled the door” to the executive mansion.
“The intruder set off multiple alarms, alarms that clearly showed someone breached the property, and he was seen by officers who didn’t think anything of it. This is a big story,” Bongino told Fox News.
“That just shows the president is not safe there – in the White House. The Secret Service does not have the assets, they don’t have personnel on the ground they need to keep him safe.”
According to Bongino, should a group of terrorists decide to storm the White House, the Secret Service would not be able to protect President Trump.
“The Secret Service cannot even keep one person off the grounds – what will they do if 40 terrorists charge the White House?” he asked. “And believe me the terrorists are already thinking about that.”
While Tran has been criminally charged for his actions, and Trump praised the Secret Service; that does not altar Bongino’s opinion. Actually, he didn’t pull any punches when stating the current Secret Service management “sucks.”
“The Secret Service is stuck in their ways and don’t want to redo and upgrade the White House security plan. President Trump won’t be safe there until they do,” Bongino said.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, also blasted the latest incident and said “this keeps happening.” Chaffetz’s panel oversees the Secret Service.
He added, “Our information is incomplete at best.”
Chaffetz sent a letter to acting Secret Service Director Bill Callahan. He said Tran “may have attempted entry into the building. If true, these allegations raise questions about whether the agency’s security protocols are adequate.”
Chaffetz suggested there may have been alarms that were ignored by the Secret Service, according to Fox News.
Chaffetz requested all video from the White House grounds. Consequently, he also wants a briefing by the end of next week. He wants to know information regarding “alarms” at the White House.
The episode recalled another in September 2014, when Omar Gonzales penetrated the White House grounds and actually made it inside. Then-Secret Service Director Julia Pierson afterward conceded “mistakes were made.” But the Secret Service was found to have publicly lied about how far Gonzales made it into the White House.
It cost Pierson her job, reported Fox.
They later found the White House alarms had been muted in the Gonzales incident.
So while Bongino has declared the president is vulnerable at the White House, and Chaffetz seeks answers, the public is unlikely to learn of any changes to be made due to security precautions. But let’s hope something is done, because a single fence hopper should not get that close to the White House, regardless of who is inside.