White House

10 things you need to know today: October 2, 2014

Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigned Wednesday. 

Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigned Wednesday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The Week

The Secret Service’s director resigns, health officials say a hospital at first sent Ebola patient home, and more

1. The leader of the Secret Service steps down after security breaches
Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigned on Wednesday under intense pressure over several lapses of security at the White House. Pierson quit less than a day after lawmakers from both parties questioned her over how an Iraq war veteran carrying a knife had managed to get past security and enter the first floor of the White House. Lawmakers from both parties said the security breach left them with deep concerns over the safety of President Obama and others under Secret Service protection. [The New York Times]

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2. Hospital at first sent Ebola patient home
Doctors sent the first U.S. Ebola patient — identified as Thomas Eric Duncan, 40 — home the first time he showed up in the emergency room last week, health officials said Wednesday. Some doctors were not informed that he had been to Liberia, and his symptoms were not deemed severe enough for admission. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said the hospital “dropped the ball.” Up to 18 people were exposed to the patient, who vomited outside his home before returning to the hospital two days later. [CNN, Reuters]

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3. Man convicted for murder for killing Florida teen over loud music
A Florida jury on Wednesday convicted Michael Dunn, 47, of first-degree murder for fatally shooting Jordan Davis, 17, in an argument over loud music. Another jury had convicted Dunn of three counts of second-degree attempted murder for firing his pistol at Davis and three other teenagers in the parking lot of a Jacksonville gas station. The first jury had deadlocked on the murder charge. In the retrial, Dunn said he fired because he saw a “very angry-looking young man” and feared for his life. [USA Today]

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4. Beijing warns of “chaos” if Hong Kong protests continue
Hong Kong’s police chief warned pro-democracy protesters on Thursday not to follow through on a threat to occupy government buildings if the financial center’s chief executive, Leung Chun-ying, does not step down by the end of the day. Thousands of demonstrators have been blocking streets around city government headquarters since last week demanding free elections to choose their next leader. Beijing warned of “chaos” if the protests continue, and backed Leung, signaling its unwillingness to back down. [Fox News]

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5. Canadian firm wins auction for Atlantic City’s bankrupt Revel casino
Canadian asset-management firm Brookfield U.S. Holdings on Wednesday won a bankruptcy court auction to buy the massive Revel casino hotel in Atlantic City for $110 million. The Revel cost $2.4 billion to build, and was open just two years before shutting down a month ago in a wave of casino bankruptcies in the seaside city. Brookfield, which already owns casinos in Las Vegas and the Bahamas, plans to reopen it. The sale still has to be approved in a hearing on Oct. 7. [The Associated Press]

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6. Oregon man sentenced for Christmas bombing plot
A Somali-American man was sentenced Wednesday to 30 years in prison for plotting to bomb an Oregon Christmas-tree lighting ceremony in 2010. Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 23, had been given a phony bomb by undercover FBI agents posing as al Qaeda recruiters, and he was arrested after pressing a keypad button on a cellphone that he thought would detonate a truck bomb at the Portland event. Mohamud, a naturalized U.S. citizen, has apologized, saying what he did was “terrible.” His lawyers plan to appeal. [Voice of America]

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7. Turkey considers joining the fight against ISIS
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria insurgents continued advancing toward a Kurdish town on Syria’s border with Turkey despite coalition airstrikes. Fear of a massacre drove thousands more refugees into Turkey. The country’s parliament is expected to begin debating on Thursday whether to join the international fight against the Islamist group, also known as ISIS, by approving military incursions over the border, and letting coalition forces operate from Turkey. [Reuters]

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8. Court forces North Carolina to ease voting restrictions
A federal appeals court on Wednesday ordered North Carolina to restore same-day voter registrationand count provisional ballots cast outside voters’ home precincts. Civil rights groups had said the state’s Republican-controlled legislature’s decision to scrap the two provisions would have disproportionately harmed minority voters. Election officials said the state would appeal the ruling because the state had already sent out four million voting guides, and changing the rules now would confuse voters. [The New York Times]

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9. Mexico arrests leading drug kingpin
The government of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto scored a major drug-war victory on Wednesday with the arrest of Hector Beltran Leyva, one of the country’s most high-profile drug bosses. The arrest was expected to be a devastating blow to the Beltran Leyva gang, which had feuded with the powerful kingpin Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman, a former ally. Few details were available on Beltran Leyva’s capture. Authorities are conducting tests to confirm his identity. [The Christian Science Monitor]

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10. Walruses come ashore as Arctic sea ice melts
Thirty-five thousand walruses have come ashore in Alaska because the Arctic summer sea ice they normally rest on has been melting due to warming global temperatures, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Similar sightings were reported in 2007, 2009, and 2011. “It’s another remarkable sign of the dramatic environmental conditions changing as the result of sea ice loss,” said Margaret Williams of the World Wildlife Fund. [The Associated Press]

10 things you need to know today: October 1, 2014

Dallas' Dr. Edward Goodman takes questions from reporters.

Dallas’ Dr. Edward Goodman takes questions from reporters. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

The Week

The first Ebola patient is diagnosed in the U.S., Congress grills the Secret Service over security breaches, and more

1. First Ebola case is diagnosed in the U.S.
A man who arrived in Dallas on a flight from Liberia has become the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday. The patient did not show symptoms until several days after he landed on Sept. 20. He is now being treated at a Dallas hospital. A CDC team is tracking down people who came into contact with the man, who has not been publicly identified, to make sure no others were infected. [The New York Times]

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2. Secret Service chief vows White House breach “will never happen again”
The director of the Secret Service, Julia Pierson, promised a full review of White House security measures in response to a breach that let an armed intruder hop a fence and run into the first floor of the presidential residence last week. It was the sixth breach of the grounds this year. “It will never happen again,” Pierson told a House subcommittee on security. A whistleblower also informed the panel of an incident in which an armed contractor with a criminal record was allowed on an elevator with President Obama, violating Secret Service protocols. [The Washington Post]

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3. Iraq retakes border post from ISIS
Iraqi Kurdish forces took control of a post on the Syrian border from Islamic State of Iraq and Syria fighters on Tuesday. The Kurdish Peshmerga fighters also won the support of a major Sunni Muslim tribe in the area, marking one of the most significant victories yet for Kurds over the Sunni extremists of ISIS. The loss of the strategic border crossing was expected to create problems for ISIS on both sides of the border. [Reuters]

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4. Hong Kong protesters block streets on China’s National Day
Thousands of pro-democracy protesters returned to the streets in Hong Kong on Wednesday, the National Day holiday marking the anniversary of China’s Communist Party founding in 1949. Organizers were aiming to bring out the largest crowds yet as a symbolic show of force in defiance of a government crackdown. Riot police have tried to disperse crowds with tear gas but the demonstrators vow not to back down until they win assurances of free elections to pick Hong Kong’s next leader. [BBC News]

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5. Judge rules against the White House on some ObamaCare subsidies
A federal judge in Oklahoma ruled on Tuesday that people who bought health insurance policies through the federally run exchange are not eligible for ObamaCare subsidies, due to how President Obama’s signature health-care reform law is worded. The language suggests that only those enrolling through state-run exchanges should get the subsidies, Judge Ronald A. White said. Other courts have split on the issue. If the ruling stands, subsidies would be invalidated in 36 states. [Politico]

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6. Microsoft introduces Windows 10
Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled the latest version of its industry-dominating computer operating system. The software giant jumped from the old Windows 8 and is naming the new version Windows 10 — skipping Windows 9. “When you see the product in its fullness, I think you will agree with us that it is a more appropriate name,” said Microsoft executive Terry Myerson. The new operating system retains some of Windows 8’s tablet-style changes, such as live tiles, but also brings back some familiar features from the more widely adopted Windows 7. [USA Today]

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7. Thailand responds to backpackers’ murders with wristbands for tourists
Thailand’s tourism minister, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, said Tuesday that he was backing a proposal to make tourists wear wristbands in an attempt to improve security following the murders of two British backpackers two weeks ago. The travelers — Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24 — were killed after leaving a bar on the resort island of Koh Tao. The wristbands will have a serial number matching the wearer’s I.D. and hotel data. Electronic tracking devices are also being considered. [Bagkok Post]

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8. Taliban suicide bombers kill seven in Afghan army
Taliban suicide bombers struck two buses carrying Afghan soldiers early Wednesday in separate strikes, killing seven and wounding 21. The attacks in Kabul came a day after Afghanistan’s new government signed a security agreement with the U.S. that will allow 10,000 American soldiers to stay behind to train and support Afghan forces after international forces withdraw at the end of the year. The Taliban immediately claimed responsibility for the blasts. [Reuters]

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9. EBay, reversing course, says it will spin off PayPal
EBay announced Tuesday that it was spinning off PayPal as a separate company next year. The move was seen as a response to rising competition from Apple Pay and other new services offering to let consumers pay for everyday purchases with their smartphones. Activist investor Carl Icahn had been pushing eBay to reverse its insistence on keeping the companies mingled, arguing that PayPal would be freer to innovate on its own. EBay’s stock jumped by 7.5 percent after the announcement. [The Wall Street Journal, Slate]

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10. 18-time gold medalist Michael Phelps faces DUI charge
Olympic swimming legend Michael Phelps, 29, was arrested for driving under the influence early Tuesday in Baltimore. Police said Phelps was driving 84 mph in a 45 mph zone. The bust was the 18-time gold medal winner’s second for DUI — he pled guilty to his first charge in 2004. In 2009 he lost a major sponsor — USA Swimming — and a cereal endorsement deal after being photographed appearing to smoke a marijuana pipe. His latest troubles come as he attempts a comeback to qualify for the 2016 Olympics. [The Christian Science Monitor]

White House intruder was tackled by off-duty Secret Service agent

Omar Gonzalez breached White House security Sept. 19. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The Washington Post

The man who jumped over the White House fence and sprinted through the main floor of the mansion could have gotten even farther had it not been for an off-duty Secret Service agent who was coincidentally in the house and leaving for the night.

The agent who finally tackled Omar Gonzalez had been serving on the security detail for President Obama’s daughters and had just seen the family depart via helicopter minutes earlier. He happened to be walking through the house when chaos broke out and the intruder dashed through the main foyer, according to two people familiar with the incident.

Gonzalez, 42, was the first person in modern memory to jump over the White House fence and get into the mansion, largely the result of a failure of numerous layers of Secret Service security on the northern fence line.

Though the Secret Service initially said that Gonzalez was quickly detained inside the front door, The Washington Post reported Monday that the man actually made it well into the house before he was tackled on the far southern side of the 80-foot-long East Room. Once he burst inside the unlocked front door, Gonzalez, a former Army veteran, overpowered one Secret Service officer and, on his journey, sprinted past a stairway that leads up half a flight to the first family’s living quarters.

The additional information about the incident came as Secret Service Director Julia Pierson was being grilled on Capitol Hill about the Gonzalez incident and other security lapses revealed in Washington Post stories in recent days. The Post on Sunday detailed the agency’s fumbling response to a November 2011 shooting, in which a man fired a semiautomatic rifle into the White House residence while Sasha Obama was home, but the Secret Service discounted the gunshots on Constitution Avenue as a shoot-out between rival gangsters.

The Obamas must feel and be safe at the White House

President Obama expresses support for Secret Service after bill signing in the Oval Office. (Shawn Thew/EPA)

President Obama expresses support for the Secret Service on Monday after signing the America’s Promise Summit Declaration. (Shawn Thew/EPA)

This piece by Jonathan Capehart is long over due…

The Washington Post

I was half-joking when I wrote yesterday that the White House statement after Omar Gonzalez’s alleged fence-jumping read like a hostage note. “The president has full confidence in the Secret Service,” it read, “and is grateful to the men and women who day in and day out protect himself, his family and the White House.” But I’m beginning to wonder if there isn’t some truth to that after seeing President Obama’s response to a question after an Oval Office bill signing yesterday. Take a look. It’s a short clip, but fast forward to 0:53.

Here is the link

Continuing:

“The Secret Service does a great job,” the president said with a delivery that struck me as perfunctory. “I’m grateful for all the sacrifices they make on my behalf and on my family’s behalf.” That second sentence struck me as uncomfortably nonchalant, considering the massive security breach of his home.

Think about it, folks. How would you react if you learned that an intruder scaled a fence and walked through your front door before being stopped? I don’t know about you, but I would be freaked! out! Now, imagine how the president and the first lady in particular must feel. The home of the leader of the free world is supposed to be one of the most secure places on the planet. A man’s mad dash across the North Lawn burst that illusion. And I’m having a hard time believing that cool, calm and collected Obama isn’t raising hell behind closed doors.

Federal prosecutors revealed in court yesterday afternoon that Gonzalez, who served in the Army Special Forces as a sniper, had 800 rounds of ammunition, two hatchets and a machete in his car parked near the White House. And he has had two recent run-ins with the law. Gonzalez led Virginia State Police on a 20-mile chase on July 19. According to The Post, after his arrest, “police found two sniper rifles, an assault rifle, a bolt-action rifle, one sawed-off and one intact shot gun, five handguns, more than seven loaded magazines of ammunition.” They also found a map of the Washington area that had a line drawn to the White House.

On Aug. 25, Gonzalez was questioned by Secret Service agents when he was spotted at the south fence of the executive mansion with a hatchet in the back waistband of his pants. When they searched his vehicle, in which his family says he’s been living in for a while, they found two dogs and camping gear. Gonzalez was released. According to The Post, “The Secret Service learned of the circumstances surrounding Gonzalez’s July 19 arrest in [Virginia] shortly after stopping him last month, according to a person familiar with the facts of the case, but it is unclear exactly when or how it factored into its decision to release him or take any further actions.”

Given all this, no wonder the federal prosecutor told the court that Gonzalez’s “preoccupation with the White House and accumulation of a large amount of ammunition in apparently a short period of time represented a danger to the president.” This comes nearly three years after Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, who believed Obama was “the anti-Christ,” fired at least eight bullets from a semi-automatic rifle at the White House from his car on Constitution Avenue. One of the bullets hit a window frame on the Truman balcony, which is used by presidents and their families.

There are threats against the president all the time. Yet what makes these actions so frightening is that they strike at the safety and security a family should feel in their home. Obama’s life and those of his family are in the hands of the Secret Service. He has no choice but to express public support for the agents. But no president should look or sound like a hostage in his own home.

We as citizens have an obligation to demand more of the Secret Service and for them. There are reports that the agency is understaffed. If the service is stretched thin because of budget cuts, then Congress must ensure that it gets the resources it needs to competently protect the leader of the free world and his residence.

800 Rounds in White House Intruder’s Car

The Daily Beast

According to federal prosecutors, the man who jumped the White House fence on Saturday had more than 800 rounds of ammunition in his car. Omar Gonzalez, 42, had also been arrested in July with a sniper rifle and a map that had the White House marked. Even more shocking, he was stopped, but not arrested, back in August while walking past the White House with a hatchet. Relatives told the AP that Gonzalez suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and needs treatment. His sister said he is a kind, gentle man scarred by war. Gonzalez enlisted in the Army in 1997, served until 2003, and then re-enlisted in 2005 and retired in 2012, having served in Iraq from October 2006 to January 2008, the Army said.

Read it at AP

10 things you need to know today: September 22, 2014

Yes, NASA does artistic renderings of space exploration. 

Yes, NASA does artistic renderings of space exploration. (AP Photo/NASA)

The Week

The MAVEN spacecraft reaches Mars, Syrian Kurds slow ISIS advance, and more

1. MAVEN spacecraft reaches Mars orbit
NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft entered Mars’ orbit on Sunday night after a 10-month, 442-million-mile trip. Maven — or the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution craft — will explore the planet’s upper atmosphere to help scientists understand more about the history of its climate. Mars is now a cold, dry environment where liquid water can’t exist, but it has surfaces that once had water flowing over them. MAVEN is expected to help unravel the mystery of why the once warmer planet dried up. [CNN]

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2. Kurds halt ISIS advance in Syria
The number of Syrian Kurds fleeing into neighboring Turkey to escape an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) offensive might have risen above 100,000, the United Nations said Sunday. Sixty-six thousand had crossed into the country in the first 24 hours after Turkey opened the border gate on Friday. Syrian Kurdish fighters, aided by young Kurds from Turkey, said Monday that they had kept the Islamist extremists from advancing on the city of Kobani, which ISIS also tried to take in July. [Reuters]

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3. British hostage’s wife makes appeal to ISIS for his release
The wife of British ISIS hostage Alan Henning has issued a plea for his release, calling her husband a “peaceful, selfless man.” Henning’s wife, Barbara, reportedly sent messages to the extremist group, but she has received no response. Henning, she said, left his family and his job as a taxi driver to travel to Syria “with his Muslim colleagues and friends to help those most in need.” Henning was shown in a video last week after the beheading of fellow Briton David Haines. [Irish Examiner]

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4. Volunteers help look for missing Virginia student
An estimated 1,000 volunteers fanned out across Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday and Sunday to search for missing University of Virginia sophomore Hannah Graham. “I have two daughters of my own and I would hope that if one of them was missing, everyone would come out,” volunteer Marci Stewart said. A man reportedly seen with Graham in a bar on Sept. 13, the night she disappeared, showed up at a police station requesting a lawyer, then got in a car and sped away. Police issued arrest warrants on reckless driving charges. [USA Today, The Associated Press]

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5. Climate march organizers estimate crowd at 311,000
Organizers of the People’s Climate March held in New York City on Sunday are calling the event thebiggest demonstration ever in favor of action against climate change. Thirty-five crowd spotters collected data that was then analyzed by a Carnegie Mellon University mathematician, who estimated the crowd at 311,000. Marchers carried signs with messages such as, “There is No Planet B.” Leading environmentalists, including former Vice President Al Gore, attended, as did United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who will preside over a U.N. climate summit this week. [MSNBC, The New York Times]

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6. Rockefeller heirs’ philanthropy ditches oil investments
The heirs to John D. Rockefeller’s massive oil fortune plan to announce Monday that their $860-million philanthropic organization, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, is joining a movement to divest from fossil fuel companies. The news is being called a watershed moment signaling that the divestment movement has gone mainstream. Over the past several years, 180 institutions, from philanthropies to pension funds, have signed on, as have hundreds of wealthy individual investors. [The New York Times]

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7. Rifle allegedly carried by Pennsylvania police-shooting suspect found
Investigators have recovered one of the weapons believed to have been used by a sniper who killed one Pennsylvania state trooper and wounded another on Sept. 12, authorities said Sunday. Trackers found the AK-47 assault rifle and some ammunition abandoned in the woods. It wasn’t immediately clear if the weapon was the one used in the ambush. An assault rifle and .308 rifle with a scope were missing from the family home of the suspect, survivalist Eric Frein, police said. [The Associated Press]

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8. Secret Service considers new security measures after White House incident
The Secret Service reportedly is considering several new measures to increase security at the White House following a scare on Friday in which a man got through the front door carrying a folding knife. The possible steps include keeping tourists off of sidewalks along the White House gate, and screening visitors a block away from the entrance gate. Relatives say the man who jumped the fence, identified as Iraq war veteran Omar Gonzalez, has post-traumatic stress and meant no harm. [The Washington Post]

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9. Government and rebels agree to a ceasefire in Yemen
Yemen’s transitional government signed a peace agreement with Shiite rebels on Sunday in a bid to end sectarian violence that led to the prime minister’s resignation. The fighting between Shiite Muslim rebels, called Houthis, and Sunni militias supporting the government killed 140 people. The accord calls for an immediate ceasefire and the establishment of a technocratic government within weeks, following consultations with all sides, United Nations envoy Jamal Benomar said. [Los Angeles Time]

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10. Alibaba sells additional shares pushing its IPO haul to $25 billion
The underwriters of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s initial public offering of stock have issued 48 million more shares, bringing the total raised by the IPO to a record $25 billion — beating Agriculture Bank of China’s $22 billion and Visa’s $19.7 billion. Alibaba’s stock price soared by 38 percent on Friday, its first day trading on the New York Stock Exchange. That gave Alibaba a market value of $231 billion, larger than the combined value of Amazon and eBay. [Reuters]

 

Secret Service Boosting White House Security After Embarrassing Breach

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AP Photo / Susan Walsh

TPM News

Word that a fence-jumper managed to get inside the White House drew reactions of alarm and disbelief about how one of the most heavily secured buildings in the world had been compromised. With questions mounting, President Barack Obama sought to allay concerns about whether the Secret Service is still up to the task of protecting him and his family.

“The president has full confidence in the Secret Service and is grateful to the men and women who day in and day out protect himself, his family and the White House,” White House spokesman Frank Benenati said late Saturday. He said the White House expected Pierson’s review to be conducted “with the same professionalism and commitment to duty that we and the American people expect from the U.S. Secret Service.”

Obama and his daughters had just left the White House by helicopter on Friday evening when the Secret Service says 42-year-old Omar J. Gonzalez hopped over the fence. He ran toward the presidential residence unimpeded, ignoring orders from officers to stop, until being tackled just inside the doors of the North Portico — the grand, columned entrance overlooking Pennsylvania Ave.

“Every day the Secret Service is challenged to ensure security at the White House complex while still allowing public accessibility to a national historical site,” the agency said in a statement Saturday. “Although last night the officers showed tremendous restraint and discipline in dealing with this subject, the location of Gonzalez’s arrest is not acceptable.”

Officials initially said the fact that Gonzalez appeared to be unarmed may have been a factor in why agents at the scene didn’t shoot Gonzalez or sic their dogs on him before he made it inside. But a criminal complaint issued late Friday revealed Gonzalez had a small folding knife with a 3 ½-inch serrated blade with him at the time of his arrest.

The Secret Service said its Office of Professional Responsibility was carrying out the review, which began with interviews and a physical site assessment and will include a review of all of security and operational policies.

But those assurances were unlikely to satisfy the concerns of those who said the stunning breach marked just the latest in a string of mishaps on the Secret Service’s watch.

“Unfortunately, they are failing to do their job,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah. “These are good men and women, but the Secret Service leadership has a lot of questions to answer.”

According to a criminal complaint, Gonzalez told Secret Service agents after the arrest that he was “concerned that the atmosphere was collapsing” and needed to contact the president “so he could get word out to the people.”

The breach triggered a rare evacuation of much of the White House. Secret Service agents drew their weapons as they hurried White House staffers and journalists out of the West Wing through a side door.

Gonzalez, of Copperas Cove, Texas, was transported to a nearby hospital after his arrest for evaluation. He was expected to appear in federal court Monday to face charges of unlawfully entering a restricted building or grounds while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon.

Less than 24 hours after Gonzalez’s arrest, a second man was apprehended after he drove up to a White House gate and refused to leave, Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said, prompting bomb technicians in full gear to search the vehicle as agents briefly shut down nearby streets.

There were no indications the two events were connected. Yet the pair of incidents in short succession only intensified the scrutiny of the Secret Service, which is still struggling to rehabilitate its image following a series of allegations of misconduct by agents in recent years, including agents on Obama’s detail.

Once open to vehicles, the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House was confined to pedestrians after the 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City, but officials have been reluctant to restrict access to the area further.

Fence Jumper Entered White House

CNN News: 9/19/2014 As it unfolded…

 

The Huffington Post

A man who jumped the White House fence on Friday evening prompting an evacuation was able to enter the North Portico doors of the White House, the Secret Service said.

He was apprehended just inside the doorways, and has been identified by the U.S. Secret Service as Omar J. Gonzalez. A law enforcement official said that the man’s breach of the premises was unacceptable and that the incident was under investigation, according to NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker.

ABC posted video of the intruder on the White House lawn.

More from the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON (AP) — WASHINGTON (AP) — A man jumped over the fence of the White House on Friday and made it into the presidential residence before officers managed to apprehend him, the U.S. Secret Service said. President Barack Obama and his family were not at home at the time.

Omar J. Gonzalez, 42, of Copperas Cove, Texas, was taken into custody just inside the North Portico doors, Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said. He was placed under arrest and was transported to a Washington hospital after complaining of chest pain.

Donovan said the suspect appeared to be unarmed to officers who spotted him jumping the fence, and a search of the suspect turned up no weapons.

The incident prompted a rare evacuation of much of the campus. White House staffers and Associated Press journalists inside the West Wing were evacuated by Secret Service officers, some with their weapons drawn.

Stupid Right Wing Tweets: Chuck Woolery Edition

Stupid Right Wing Tweets: Chuck Woolery Edition

Well, what do you know… another far right “Christian” calling Obama a “Muslim”…

Crooks & Liars

Game show hack Chuck Woolery thinks ‘we have a Muslim problem in the White House.’

What is it with game show hosts? They’re all hucksters and idiots. Pat Sajak is a screaming teabagger and so is Chuck Woolery. But his latest series of tweets may be the stupidest right wing tweets of all.

Via LGF:

Yeah, reluctant my ass. You and your Breitbot pals love this stuff. By any chance are you pals with Breitbart’s father-in-law, Orson Bean?

Zzzzzzzt! You LOSE, Mr. Woolery. You have absolutely no education with which to make such a guess. Next contestant, please.

Now wait a minute. If they’re in the White House, why are you worrying about them coming to a town near you?

There’s a reason the president said ISIS isn’t Muslim. It’s not enough to claim one is Muslim without actually practicing the tenets of the religion. Sort of the same thing as the faux Christians who pretend they’re Christians while judging everyone around them and sticking their middle fingers in the faces of the poor.

As for the President being Muslim, so what if he is? There’s nothing shameful about anyone practicing their chosen religion in a principled way. It happens that he’s not. He can’t have a Reverend Wright problem and be a secret Muslim. It doesn’t work like that, not even in game show land.

I know many Muslims and none of them cause fear in me. The ones who make me afraid are the fundamental “Christians” who think it’s their God-given right to be the American Taliban, telling women what they can and cannot do while oppressing poor people.

Put Chuck in the same category as the rest of the rich Hollywood wingnuts who choose to live in Fantasyland instead of reality.

10 things you need to know today: September 15, 2014

Just another backyard barbeque in Iowa.

Just another backyard barbeque in Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

The Week

Arab states offer to launch airstrikes against ISIS, Hillary Clinton triggers more 2016 talk, and more

1. Arab nations offer to hit ISIS with airstrikes
Several Arab governments have committed to carrying out airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Obama administration officials said Sunday. The offers came during Secretary of State John Kerry’s week-long trip to the Middle East to drum up support for the expanded fight against the Sunni extremist group. British Prime Minister David Cameron, calling ISIS militants “monsters” for beheading a British aid worker, pledged to support the U.S. effort against ISIS. [The New York Times]

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2. Hillary Clinton’s Iowa trip jumpstarts campaign talk
Hillary Clinton returned to Iowa — a crucial early primary-season prize — on Sunday, renewing speculation about the possibility that she plans to make a second run for president. The former secretary of State’s husband, former president Bill Clinton, joined her at an annual steak fry fundraiser held by Sen. Tom Harkin, the state’s powerful Democratic senator, who is retiring after four decades in Congress. “I’m back!” Hillary told supporters. “It’s true. I am thinking about it.” [The Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times]

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3. White House says it didn’t threaten to prosecute slain journalists’ families
The White House on Sunday denied threatening to prosecute the families of two murdered journalists if they paid ransom to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria to win their freedom. U.S. law prohibits ransom payments to terrorists. White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said on Fox News Sunday that officials merely “made it clear what the law was.” Relatives of the murdered journalists — James Foley and Steven Sotloff — said officials threatened legal action if they tried to free them on their own. [USA Today]

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4. Post-truce fighting intensifies in Ukraine
Clashes between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatist rebels killed six people in the contested city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. It was the heaviest fighting since a long-term truce took effect 10 days earlier. “It’s not a cease-fire, it’s full-on fighting,” a rebel fighter said. The two sides have shelled each other daily since the cease-fire started, but the exchanges of fire have been far less intense than earlier battles. Each side has blamed the other for violating the peace deal. [The New York Times]

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5. European agency picks spot where Rosetta probe will land on comet
The European Space Agency on Monday announced the spot where the Philae lander from its Rosetta spacecraft will put down on the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, 250 million miles from Earth. The site was picked from a list of five sites deemed to be suitable for the risky Nov. 11 landing. Rosetta reached the three-mile-wide “ice mountain” after a 10-year journey. Its spider-like Philae robot will harpoon the surface and lower itself down slowly on a mission to learn more about comets. [BBC News]

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6. Sweden’s prime minister quits after election loss
Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt announced Sunday that he would resign after his center-right coalition lost a parliamentary election to opposition Social Democrats. With nearly all of the votes counted, the left-leaning bloc led by Social Democrat Stefan Lofven was ahead with 44 percent of the vote, compared to 39 percent for Reinfeldt’s coalition, which had been in power for eight years. [The Associated Press]

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7. Hurricane Odile slams into Mexico’s Cabo San Lucas
Hurricane Odile hit Mexico’s southern Baja California peninsula overnight with top sustained winds of 125 mph. The storm, which weakened over the Pacific before landfall, made a direct hit on the resort city of Cabo San Lucas, dumping more than six months’ rain in one hour. Authorities evacuated coastal areas, moving people into 18 hotels set up as shelters for 30,000 tourists and locals. California storm chaser Josh Morgerman said his hotel’s lobby “exploded in a heap of rubble.” [NBC News]

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8. Liberia sacks 10 officials for not returning home to fight Ebola
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has fired 10 senior officials — including six assistant ministers and two deputy ministers — for failing to return from abroad to help with the government’s efforts to contain an Ebola outbreak that has killed at least 1,100 people in the West African nation. The officials had been ordered to return in August. In Sierra Leone, a fourth top doctor died on Saturday. She was the 135th health-care worker in the region to die after being stricken while treating Ebola patients. [The Washington Post, Reuters]

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9. Actress detained after police allegedly mistake her for a prostitute
Django Unchained actress Daniele Watts, who is African-American, posted on Facebook that Los Angeles police officers briefly handcuffed her after they mistook her for a prostitute because she had kissed her white boyfriend, celebrity chef Brian James Lucas, in public. A police spokesman said Sunday the officers were responding to a complaint that a white man and a black woman were engaged in a sex act in a Mercedes near the gate of the CBS Studio Center in Studio City. Watts said she and Lucas were just “showing affection, fully clothed.” [CNN]

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10. U.S. basketball team wins world basketball championship… again
The U.S. men’s basketball team trounced Serbia on Sunday, 129-92, to defend its Basketball World Cup title. The U.S. team, playing without NBA superstars such as LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, won their games through the tournament by an average 32.5 points. Their closest game was a 21-point win over Turkey. The U.S. team now has won 63 straight games — including 45 in tournament play — qualifying for an automatic spot in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. [The Associated Press]