The fence-jumper who wandered around the White House complex for 17 minutes was able to elude the Secret Service in part because the agency has taken down alarm sensors along an area of one fence that he scaled, according to two sources familiar with details of the incident.
The intruder, identified as Jonathan Tran, was able to jump over three different fences, including at least one between the Treasury Department and the east area of the White House complex shortly before midnight March 10.
Tran was able to scale that particular area of the fence without setting off alarms because they had been removed, leading to confusion among officers about his whereabouts and whether an intruder was inside the White House complex, the sources told the Examiner.
The initial fence Tran jumped did trip alarms in that area of the fence-line, but squirrels or even birds sometimes also set off the sensitive sensors, which could have lead to uncertainty about whether someone had jumped the fence or not.
Secret Service personnel removed the alarm sensors along an area of fence line when the agency raised its height in response to previous fence-jumping incidents as a way to make it harder to scale, the sources told the Examiner. Ironically, the very effort to prevent fence jumping appears to have permitted a particularly egregious intrusion.