Man with Mace

stopped at White House A fence climber reached an en­trance to the build­ing with the pres­i­dent at home.

The Washington Post Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - BY PE­TER HER­MANN, IAN SHAPIRA AND CAROL D. LEONNIG pe­ter.her­mann@wash­ ian.shapira@wash­ carol.leonnig@wash­ John Wag­ner con­trib­uted to this re­port.

A Cal­i­for­nia man car­ry­ing two cans of Mace and a let­ter to Pres­i­dent Trump about “Rus­sian hack­ers” scaled a White House fence Fri­day night and neared an en­trance to the pres­i­den­tial man­sion be­fore he was ar­rested, ac­cord­ing to a court doc­u­ment.

The sus­pect — iden­ti­fied as Jonathan Tuan-Anh Tran, 26 — made it near to the ex­te­rior of the White House, walked along­side the build­ing and then hid be­hind a pil­lar be­fore he was spot­ted and ap­pre­hended near the South Por­tico en­trance.

The court doc­u­ment re­leased Satur­day evening omits any ref­er­ence to alarms sound­ing and sug­gests that the first recog­ni­tion of an in­truder’s pres­ence came when a uni­formed agent saw the man, up to 200 yards from where he en­tered the grounds. The U.S. Se­cret Ser­vice de­clined to an­swer ques­tions about how the man pen­e­trated so deep onto the White House grounds, cit­ing an on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

In a brief state­ment ear­lier Satur­day, the agency said the in­truder had breached the outer perime­ter.

A D.C. Su­pe­rior Court judge or­dered Tran de­tained through the week­end. He was charged with en­ter­ing re­stricted grounds while car­ry­ing a dan­ger­ous weapon. Tran is ex­pected to ap­pear in fed­eral court Mon­day. He faces up to 10 years in prison if con­victed.

Tran’s court-ap­pointed at­tor­ney, Gregg D. Baron, asked that his client be re­leased. But Judge Jen­nifer DiToro ruled Tran a flight and safety risk. Tran ap­peared wear­ing a blue zip-up sweat­shirt, khaki jeans, a white T-shirt and glasses. He made no pub­lic state­ment.

A fed­eral law en­force­ment of­fi­cial said Tran has no prior crim­i­nal record and no his­tory with the Se­cret Ser­vice. The of­fi­cial spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymity to dis­cuss in­for­ma­tion about the sus­pect that is not usu­ally made pub­lic by po­lice. Tran is from Mil­pi­tas, just out­side San Jose.

Tran told a Se­cret Ser­vice of­fi­cer that he has “been called schiz­o­phrenic,” ac­cord­ing to the crim­i­nal com­plaint. He had the Mace in a jacket pocket and a book bag with a book on Trump, a U.S. pass­port and an Ap­ple lap­top, the com­plaint says.

On the com­puter, the Se­cret Ser­vice said it found a let­ter ad­dressed to Trump dis­cussing Rus­sian hack­ers and say­ing that Tran had “in­for­ma­tion of rel­e­vance.” Tran al­leged in the let­ter that he had been fol­lowed and that his phone and email were be­ing mon­i­tored by oth­ers.

The pres­i­dent, who was in the res­i­dence at the time of the breach, said the “Se­cret Ser­vice ser­vice did a fan­tas­tic job last night,” and he de­scribed the in­truder as a “trou­bled per­son.”

Sur­veil­lance video showed Tran scal­ing a fence near the Trea­sury Build­ing on East Ex­ec­u­tive Av­enue. He was ar­rested about 11:38 p.m. Ac­cord­ing to the crim­i­nal com­plaint, Tran told the ar­rest­ing of­fi­cer: “I am a friend of the pres­i­dent. I have an ap­point­ment.”

Fri­day night’s breach is thought to be the first since Trump took of­fice. In the pre­vi­ous two years, many peo­ple tried or suc­ceeded in get­ting into one of the most se­cure res­i­dences in the world. Last year, the Se­cret Ser­vice added small spikes — or “pen­cil points” — to the top of the six-foot fence sur­round­ing the White House com­plex. The agency also an­nounced a plan to raise the height of the fence to 11 feet by 2018.

Per­haps the most se­ri­ous breach oc­curred Sept. 19, 2014, when Omar Gon­za­lez climbed over the north fence and made his way deep into the White House. When he was fi­nally tack­led by an off-duty Se­cret Ser­vice agent in the or­nate East Room, he was found to have a knife in a pants pocket. Two hatch­ets, a ma­chete and 800 rounds of am­mu­ni­tion were found in his car nearby. Se­cret Ser­vice Di­rec­tor Ju­lia Pier­son re­signed two weeks later.

After that in­ci­dent, the Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity flagged as a se­ri­ous con­cern the fact that not all of­fi­cers in the White House com­plex had been aware of or had heard the alarm that should have alerted them to some­one cross­ing the fence line. A fence alarm did sound, but sev­eral com­mu­ni­ca­tion fail­ures pre­vented some of­fi­cers from hear­ing it.

Re­cently de­parted Se­cret Ser­vice di­rec­tor Joseph Clancy had pledged to cor­rect the vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties that al­lowed the 2014 in­truder to get so close to the pres­i­den­tial fam­ily’s res­i­dence.

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