White House Intrusion Again Shines Spotlight on Secret Service

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President Barack Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha cross the South Lawn of the White House after arriving by Marine One on Jan. 5, 2014, in Washington, D.C.
Photo by Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images

The Secret Service came under new scrutiny Friday after a man scaled the White House fence and made it all the way into the building before he was apprehended, the Associated Press reports.

President Barack Obama and his daughters had just left Friday evening when the man climbed the north fence, dashed across the lawn and into the White House, where agents caught him, the report says. First lady Michelle Obama left separately for the trip to Camp David.

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On Friday, the Secret Service identified the man as Omar J. Gonzalez, 42, of Copperas Cove, Texas. He was charged with unlawful entry into the White House complex and taken to a nearby hospital complaining of chest pain, AP reports.

Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said the matter is under investigation.

The security breach marked the latest in a string of problems for the agency, which is struggling with its image and questions about whether it can adequately protect the president and his family.

In 2012, 13 Secret Service agents and officers were implicated in a prostitution scandal during preparations for Obama’s trip to Cartagena, Colombia, the AP notes. The next year, two officers were removed from the president’s detail after another alleged incident of sex-related misconduct. In March, an agent was found drunk by staff at a Dutch hotel the day before Obama was to arrive in the Netherlands, writes the news agency.

Last year, Obama appointed the agency’s first female director, underscoring a desire to change the culture and restore public confidence in the agency's operations, AP notes. An inspector general’s report in December, however, found no evidence of widespread misconduct, the report says.

Read more at the Associated Press.

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