07th August 2015
The US Secret Service has announced it is stepping up security efforts at the White House after a series of high-profile security breaches.
Although encircled by perimeter fencing, the recent breaches in security have prompted the Secret Service to up its game by adding large, ‘anti-climb,’ metal spikes to the top of the fence as a temporary measure. The announcement came via Twitter when the federal law enforcement agency tweeted, “White House fence anti-climb install began today. Temporary security enhancement until long term solution implemented.”
The changes come after an intrusion last September when a man – later found to be an Iraq war veteran – scaled the fence wielding a knife. The intruder made it across the North Lawn and even into the building itself before being tackled to the ground by a security officer.
This was just one in a string of breaches for the agency responsible for President Barack Obama’s protection, which ultimately led to the resignation of the agency’s director.
Pictures released to the public show a close up of the added security measure. Described as ‘pencil point spikes’, they will be bolted to the top of the perimeter fence and placed pointing outward at a five-degree angle, with the work expected to take around six weeks to complete.
They have been described as a temporary measure while the service designs a new high-security fence for the premises. The final design for a permanent added security feature will be submitted to the US Commission of Fine Arts and National Planning Commission in the autumn.
The Secret Service is also discussing plans to add vehicle checkpoints to the fence and replace the current concrete barriers with steel plate barriers that can be raised and lowered as needed.
Security fencing at the White House has been around in one form or another since Thomas Jefferson was in residence. According to the White House Historical Association, Jefferson ordered the first post and rail fence in around 1801, and there has been perimeter fencing in place ever since.