A man was arrested late Friday night after having made it extremely close to the southern entrance to the White House.
Identified as 26-year-old Jonathan Tuan Tran of Milpitas, Calif, he was wearing a backpack when he was stopped by secret service agents after he jumped the fence and approached the South Portico which serves as the entrance to the White House from the South Lawn.
Secret Service agents determined that neither Tran nor his backpack held any dangerous items although he was in possession of at least two cans of pepper spray.
The arresting officer said that Tran told him, “I am a friend of the president. I have an appointment.”
The White House security level was raised to “Orange” for a short time after the intrusion but has since been returned to its previous status.
The President was in the White House at the time of the intrusion and told Reuters that the intruder was “a troubled person” but that secret service “did a fantastic job” in handling the situation.
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Government sources say that Mr. Tran has no criminal record nor does he have any history of trouble with the secret service.
Tran is being held without bond, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for now has declined further comment. Tran’s next court appearance is Monday.
While the backpack contained nothing dangerous, the ability of someone to approach so close to the residence portion of the White House with a pack points to a gap in the security plan.
Last night’s incident counts as the 15th intrusion on White House grounds since 2009.