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Secret Service blocks access to White House's south fence after recent intruder

April 20, 2017 - 5:09 am
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(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Secret Service said Wednesday it plans to restrict public access to the sidewalk along the southern fence of the White House, weeks after a man scaled the barrier and walked around the grounds.

The changes are a part of an "ongoing comprehensive review" of security measures at the White House and its surrounding grounds, the Secret Service said in a statement Wednesday evening.

The new restrictions come just a month after a man carrying mace scaled the White House fence and was able to roam the grounds.

The man later identified as Jonathan Tuan-Anh Tran, 26, of Milpitas, California, scaled the south fence on March 10 and walked the grounds for about 16 minutes before being arrested, according to the agency.

Two Secret Service agents were later fired over the matter, the agency said last week.

Weeks after the March 10 incident, a woman jumped over a temporary barrier outside the White House fence. She was subsequently arrested.

The agency said the new policy could lessen the likelihood of any future breaches, but did not attribute the changes to a particular incident.

"Restricting public access to the fence line will not only serve to lessen the possibility of individuals illegally accessing the White House grounds, but will also create a clear visual break to enable Secret Service officers to identify and respond to potential hazards including individuals attempting to scale the fence," U.S. Secret Service communications director Cathy Milhoan said in a statement.

The changes, which went into effect Wednesday at 11 p.m., will prevent the public from accessing the sidewalk, roadways and the grounds between the south fence line and E Street NW between West Executive Avenue and East Executive Avenue, the agency said.

The Secret Service noted that similar limitations had already been in place between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. since 2015. The changes will not obstruct the public's view of the White House complex or prevent them from taking pictures of it, the agency said.

"The Secret Service must continually evaluate security protocols and continually balance the security of our protected persons and facilities with the public's ability to access them," Milhoan said.

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