Report: Armed Ex-Con Was on Elevator With Obama in Atlanta

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

An armed ex-con rode an elevator with President Barack Obama while the president was in Atlanta on September 16 to visit the CDC to discuss the Ebola outbreak, it was revealed Tuesday.

The man was a "security contractor with a gun and three prior convictions for assault and battery," the Washington Post and Washington Examiner reported.

The contractor reportedly would not stop using a camera phone to take video of the president, even when Secret Service agents asked him to stop — and it was only after questioning him and running his name through a database check did they learn of his criminal history.

A supervisor with the private security firm then fired the man on the spot and told him to turn over his gun — the first time the agents realized he had a weapon, according to the reports.

A Secret Service official told NBC News that the newspapers’ stories were "generally accurate" but there is an ongoing investigation into the incident.

Another law enforcement official added that the armed man's job was to escort VIPs, but that it is against the protocol of the Secret Service to allow a regular citizen to have a weapon that close to the president.

The revelation is just the latest in a string of high profile incidents that have caused the Secret Service to come under fire for seemingly lax protection of the president.

Earlier on Tuesday, Secret Service Director Julia Pierson testified that a recent White House security breach by an Army veteran armed with a knife was "unacceptable," and said she took full responsibility for it.

"I will make sure it doesn't happen again," director Julia Pierson told the House Government Oversight Committee on Capitol Hill. But that security breach, on Sept. 19 — three days after the Atlanta incident — was only the latest misstep for the Secret Service. Many of the questions Pierson fielded Tuesday were about a report that emerged Sunday about bullets fired into the White House in 2011 that went undetected for days.


— Kristen Welker and Hasani Gittens