The Secret Service said that a man had been detained at a White House checkpoint at 11.05pm on Saturday after agents “declared his vehicle suspicious”.
CNN said that two law enforcement officials told a reporter at the scene that a man had driven up to the security gate and claimed to have a bomb in his vehicle.
There was no confirmation on whether there was any device in the car but security at the White House was immediately upgraded, CNN reported.
Streets around the White House were sealed off as police checked the vehicle for explosives.
A photo posted on social media by CNN Washington Correspondent Ryan Nobles showed what appeared to be a bomb disposal robot inspecting the suspect’s car.
Other images showed a swarm of emergency services vehicles in the surrounding streets.
Here is the scene on 17th St. Firetrucks and hazardous materials units on standby near the White House. pic.twitter.com/XU8Fdo864B— Ryan Nobles (@ryanobles) March 19, 2017
US President Donald Trump was not at the White House at the time and was spending his weekend at his Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago.
It was the second scare at the White House on Saturday after a person jumped over a bike rack in a buffer zone in front of the White House.
He was able to make it over the fence into the grounds, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said on Twitter.
Two Secret Service agents tackled him to the ground and he was removed.