White House security breaches: A brief history

Harriet Alexander
The White House - AP

Attempts to get into the White House are far from uncommon. Here is a history of some of the more high-profile recent breaches of White House security.

March 10, 2017

Jonathan Tran, 26, jumps the White House fence wearing a rucksack, while President Donald Trump was inside. He managed to get as far as the South Portico before he was arrested just before midnight.

The rucksack was not found to be carrying any dangerous material.

May 20, 2016

 Jesse Olivieri, 31, from Pennsylvania, turned up at the White House security checkpoint holding a handgun and telling guards he was there "to shoot people".

He refused to drop the gun and was shot. He was sentenced to eight months and ordered to receive psychiatric care. 

November 26, 2015

 Joseph Caputo, carrying an envelope and cloaked in the American flag, leapt over the White House fence. 

He was arrested and sentenced to three years probation, but spared prison.

September 14, 2014

Omar Gonzalez, an Iraq war veteran, jumped the fence from the Pennsylvania Avenue side of the White House and entered through the North Portico doors, carrying 800 rounds of ammunition.

Upon entering he overpowered a Secret Service officer and ran through most of the main floor before he was tackled by a counter-assault agent.

Barack Obama had left the building 30 minutes previously.

In June 2015 he was sentenced to 17 months in prison, telling the court: "I never meant to hurt anyone."

October 3, 2013

Miriam Carey, 34, is shot dead after attempting to ram her car through a security barrier.

She led police on a chase through Washington before being killed.

November 11, 2011

Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, a 21-year-old from Idaho, drives past the White House and fires a rifle out of the car.

One bullet lodges into the window of Barack Obama's living quarters but fails to shatter the bullet-proof glass. The president was in Hawaii at the time for a summit.

Hernandez, who had written about Mr Obama being the anti-Christ, was captured after a five-day manhunt and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

November 24, 2009

Tareq and Michaele Salahi, a Virginia couple appearing on The Real Housewives of DC reality TV show, slip uninvited into a state dinner at the White House for the Indian prime minister.

The Secret Service is humiliated after photographs show them meeting Barack Obama.

The publicity around the incident briefly turns the Salahis into minor celebrities, and they are not charged with a criminal offence.

January 20, 2001

Reverend Richard Weaver, a mild-mannered pastor who claims to pass on God's will through his handshakes, reaches George W Bush during his inauguration and presents the new president with a gold coin.

It was at least the third time "Handshake Man" had come within touching distance of a president, having previously snuck into Bill Clinton's inauguration and a prayer breakfast with George HW Bush.

His success baffled and enraged the Secret Service.

In 2005, Weaver was arrested trying to get into the presidential inauguration ceremony and banned from going near the White House or US Capitol.

October 29, 1994

Francisco Martin Duran opens fire at the White House with a semi-automatic rifle.

No one was harmed by his spray of bullets and Duran was eventually tackled by nearby civilians.

He was convicted of attempting to assassinate Bill Clinton and sentenced to 40 years imprisonment.

September 12, 1994

Frank Eugene Corder, a former soldier who turned to drugs and alcohol, crashes a stolen Cessna 150 light aircraft into the South Lawn of the White House.

Corder, 38, was killed in the crash and it remains unclear if he was trying to assassinate Bill Clinton, who was not at the White House at the time.

Relatives have suggested he may have been mimicking Mathias Rust, a German teenager who evaded Soviet air defences to land a small plane in Red Square in 1987.


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