America woke up on March 11 to the news that Secret Service agents had apprehended an intruder near the South Entrance — the residential area — of the White House.
The intruder was carrying a backpack, and managed to scale the fence and make it almost to the door before he was spotted and captured.
President Donald Trump was inside the White House when the male suspect climbed over the fence on the complex’s South Grounds at 11:38 p.m. on Friday, and uniformed officers arrested him, the Secret Service said in a statement.
The suspect, identified in court documents as California resident Jonathan Tran, 26, is scheduled to appear in federal court on Monday after a judge on Saturday ordered him held without bond, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia said.
Tran told agents he was a friend of the president and had an appointment with him, according to the documents. He was carrying two cans of mace as well as a U.S. passport, a computer and one of the president’s books, authorities said.
The President, while at lunch with several Cabinet members, offered a brief statement to the press: “Secret Service did a fantastic job, a fantastic job, it was a troubled person.”
But former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino wasn’t so sure. He analyzed the situation for Fox News on March 11:
In addition, Bongino spoke to Aaron Klein of Breitbart News about his concerns:
“If one guy with a backpack and Omar Gonzales with a bad knee could get near the residence of the White House, can you tell me with a straight face that a forty-man tactical assault team with heavy weapons wouldn’t take that place down?”
(Omar Gonzales was the man who was able to get inside the White House in 2014.)
“The Secret Service is not ready right now to defend the White House. They’re not. I know that may make people uncomfortable. And frankly, I am really getting tired of some of the talking heads on cable news who have never done one minute in the shoes a Secret Service agent.
They have no idea what the security plan of the White House actually looks like on the ground. They’re all sitting here brushing it under the rug, going, ‘Oh no.’ ‘They were prepared.’ ‘This was a manageable incident.’ ‘This was how it was supposed to work.’ You really believe this is how it was supposed to work?”
Bongino acknowledged that his comments sounded scary, but said that he felt compelled to sound the alarm — mainly because he said terrorists would be watching and taking notice of any perceived weaknesses.
However, it wasn’t all gloom and doom. The former Secret Service agent and instructor also proposed a solution: “Fix the fence. Reinforce the manpower on the north and the south grounds. Add special weapons teams. Get the best technology in there right now. Get them in there yesterday.”