Fences are meant to protect the property they surround — not only keeping young children and animals inside the perimeter, but keeping unwanted parties outside — but what if the barrier became the way in to a protected property?
On February 1, the Secret Service arrested a man as he tried to climb a waist-high, temporary barrier set up on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House’s main fence. Agents were able to apprehend him before he made it over, charging him with unlawful entry. Officials eventually turned him over to D.C. police.
No information about any motive the man may have had has been released, but Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said that an effort would be made to speak to him. It was also unclear whether there had been any previous arrests in connection with attempts to jump the auxiliary fence.
The Washington Post reports that the man was trying to climb an auxiliary barrier, which is composed of interlocking metal barriers that look like bike racks. Reuters, however, reports that it was a bicycle rack that the man tried to jump.
This second barrier was put in place days following the notorious fence jumper incident of 2014, in which the Secret Service failed to stop a man wielding a knife from jumping the fence, making it across the lawn, into the White House, past the stairway leading to the first family’s living quarters, and into the East Room, where an agent was able to tackle him.
The incident not only led to the new barrier, but also to a shakeup in Secret Service management. However, there continue to be security foibles despite the agency’s attempt to tighten things up. On January 26 — only a couple of weeks ago — a small drone operated by a U.S. spy agency employee did crash on the White House grounds.