Secret Service limits sidewalk access south of White House


The decision to close the sidewalk comes after an incident in March where a man scaled a fence and was on White House property for 16 minutes before being detained, among other recent incidents. He looked through White House windows and managed to "rattle the door handle" before he was caught, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, told The Associated Press. There, iron bicycle racks sit in front of the perimeter fence, allowing police more time to react to fence-jumpers.

The changes cover sidewalks, roadways and parkland areas between the fence along the White House South Lawn and E Street NW between West Executive Avenue and East Executive Avenue. The agency added more security measures to the front of the White House after a number of intrusions in the past few years.

Two Secret Service agents who were on duty that night were fired. In addition, the agency has announced plans to raise the height of the fence and make it "tougher, taller and stronger", as a spokeswoman put it past year. She said vantage points for the throngs of tourists drawn to the location will be preserved.

The Secret Service said in the statement that this new restriction will not obstruct or hinder the public's ability to view or photograph the White House and its grounds.

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The new area of security focus, the south grounds of the White House complex, is on the side nearest the Washington Monument and draws large crowds on the bordering sidewalks, especially on occasions when the president arrives or departs on Marine One.

Visitors can still get themselves into the photo frame with the White House in the background from Lafayette Park across the street, but it won't be same as leaning against the White House fence, within hailing distance of the President. Milhoan said people would still be able to take photos, but just from about 25 meters back.