Secret Service under fire after intruder sprints inside White House.

Secret Service Under Fire After Intruder Jumps Fence, Makes it Inside White House

Secret Service Under Fire After Intruder Jumps Fence, Makes it Inside White House

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Sept. 20 2014 1:37 PM

Secret Service Under Fire After Intruder Jumps Fence, Makes it Inside White House

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A U.S. Secret Service agent with an automatic rifle hurries people to evacuate the White House complex on Friday night.

REUTERS/Larry Downing

The Secret Service is launching a full security review after an intruder managed to scale the White House fence and was able to get through the front door of the mansion before he was stopped. The embarrassed agency is coming under bipartisan criticism from those who say it marks the latest in a string of incidents that put into question its ability to adequately protect the president. “Unfortunately, they are failing to do their job,” said Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee, reports the Associated Press. “These are good men and women, but the Secret Service leadership has a lot of questions to answer.”

President Obama and his daughters had left the White House minutes before 42-year-old Omar J. Gonzalez of Texas scaled the north fence and sprinted nearly 200 yards across the lawn into the residence. Officers quickly evaluated he was likely mentally disturbed, and there was no indication he posed an immediate threat that would have warranted a shooting. But the big question is: What happened to the dogs? The Washington Post details that if a jumper ignores a call to stop, a trained dog is supposed to be released to stop the person. But that never happened on Friday night. “We’re asking, why not release the dog?” a law enforcement source said. “That would have stopped this.”

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The latest incident comes a little more than a month after a toddler made news after he squeezed through the White House gates, recalls the Wall Street Journal. “We were going to wait until he learned to talk to question him, but in lieu of that he got a timeout and was sent on way with parents,” a spokesman for the Secret Service said at the time.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.