Tourists disappointed by White House security updates

The Secret Service has a new plan to keep fence jumpers from the White House, but it’s not sitting well with some tourists

Abby Loss, Jenna Scheidt
FILE - In this Oct. 3, 2014 file photo, two women lean against a temporary barrier along Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House in Washington. The U.S. Secret Service says it is restricting public access to a sidewalk south of the White House to make it harder for people to get onto the grounds. The changes went into effect late Wednesday, April 19, 2017. They include sidewalks, roadways and parkland areas between the south fence line of the White House and E Street NW, between West Executive Avenue and East Executive Avenue. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – If you’re planning to go to Washington this summer, there’s a new security plan drafted by the Secret Service that will keep tourists further away from the sites.

It’s not sitting well with some tourists.

Gate jumpers have become all too common at the White House. There were two in 10 days, including a California man who scaled over and roamed the grounds for 15 minutes.

Another scaled the fence when the Obamas were having Thanksgiving dinner in the residence in 2015.

That prompted more barriers on the North Lawn — the front, facing the storied Pennsylvania Avenue.

Now, the Secret Service has its eye on the South Lawn. It plans to add more buffers and barriers, just like on the North Lawn.

Scott Riggs, of Alcorn, Wisconsin, is dismayed.

“You come here to see the sites, and I think it’s too far away,” he said.

You might think all the increased security came after September 11, but you’d be wrong. The first major incursion happened after the Oklahoma City bombing.

Twenty-two years ago, a truck bomb blew up the Murrah Federal building killing 168 people. That prompted closing vehicle traffic in front of the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue.

September 11th certainly magnified concerns, and with good reason.

Now, on top of terrorist worries are White House fence jumpers who are largely people with mental health issues.

Jules, from San Antonio, said to this new plan — enough is enough.

“Taxpayers are paying for it. Why are they keeping us from it?” she said.

Sixteen-year-old Alex, an infant when September 11th happened, sees a lot of police and security presence.

“They seem fine controlling the crowd,” he said.

That may be, but it’s that handful White House jumpers that keep Secret Service officials up at night.


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