Last October 18, a man dressed in a yellow Pikachu suit climbed a concrete barrier on the outer perimeter of the White House. The 36-year old was immediately arrested by Secret Service members. Combs said he only wanted to make a viral Youtube video.
Less amusing was the September 19, 2014 break in by Omar Gonzalez who made through the White House grounds unnoticed before he barged through the North Portico doors and threw down a security officer. Gonzalez got all the way into the East Room of the White House before he was apprehended. The former Army veteran was diagnosed with PTSD.
Looking to avoid such incidents in the future, the Senate Appropriations Committee gave the Secret Service an additional $27 million in funding in improve perimeter security in the White House.
Tech magazine FCW reports:
The committee also wants the Secret Service to do a better job protecting the White House and its occupants — and thinks that tech is at least part of the answer. Since 2014, there have been at least 10 separate physical security breaches on White House grounds. The committee called this number “unacceptable” and is pushing the Secret Service to “consider fiber optic and other sensor technologies to improve perimeter security.” They also earmarked $27 million to purchase upgraded radio equipment following recommendations from the inspector general in 2016.
TechCrunch adds that a possible ban on mobile phones in the White House could also be imposed:
The White House is mulling a personal cell phone ban for employees and possibly visitors, citing cybersecurity concerns.
A handful of administration officials have been chatting with the press about the ban in the last couple of days, including White House chief of staff John Kelly, whose smartphone was reportedly hacked by foreign operatives.
Kelly noticed his phone wasn’t working properly and handed it over to White House tech support, only for them to find it had been “externally breached,” according to a segment in October where Rachel Maddow detailed the incident.