White House Breach 'Unacceptable,' Secret Service Director Testifies

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The director of the Secret Service testified Tuesday that a recent White House security breach 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 Tuesday following the revelation that a man who jumped over the White House fence and raced into the building made it much farther inside than was previously disclosed.

"An intruder walked in the front door of the White House," Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the committee, said. "The Secret Service must show us how there is a clear path back to public trust."

The intruder, Omar Gonzalez, was tackled far into the East Room, The Washington Post reported Monday. A U.S. official confirmed the report to NBC News. The Secret Service had said that Gonzalez, who had a knife, was apprehended after entering the North Portico doors.

The security breach, on Sept. 19, 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.

Committee members asked Pierson why, in the latest incident, agents did not fire any shots as Gonzalez got further and further into the White House before he was stopped.

"I am conducting an investigation to find out," Pierson said, adding that she wants agents to "execute appropriate force."


—Elizabeth Chuck and Erin McClam