I reiterate the point I made this morning about not expanding the security perimeter around the White House. But some interesting new information has surfaced about fence jumper, Omar Gonzalez. After the jumping incident, police found “more than 800 rounds of ammo in his car plus two hatchets and a machete.” At an earlier stop in Virginia in July, police found several assault rifles and a sawed off shotgun. While this news ups the ante about what sort of threat Gonzalez may have posed, the details tend to confirm what most news reports have noted: that Gonzalez has serious psychological problems. Presumably if he’d been making a rational attempt at killing someone in the White House he would have brought one of his weapons with him.
But what’s most interesting in this ABC story is this graf about the July stop in Virginia …
Gonzalez has been homeless for the past three months after more than a decade in the U.S. Army, including a tour in Iraq, authorities said.
Virginia State Police confirmed to ABC News that Gonzalez had a map of Washington, D.C., with a circle drawn around the White House, along with 11 different guns in his vehicle when he was arrested in July on charges of reckless driving, eluding police and possession of a sawed-off shotgun.
Virginia State Police also confirmed that they alerted the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms as well as the Secret Service about their arrest of Gonzalez.
Gonzalez was also stopped on Aug. 25 while walking along the south fence of the White House, prosecutors said. He had a hatchet in his rear waist band but was not arrested after he permitted a search of his car, which was parked nearby. Police found camping gear and two dogs but no ammo, prosecutors said.
As I said, the perimeter shouldn’t be expanded. But the Secret Service needs to use the current perimeter effectively, the July arrest in Virginia was clearly a pretty big WTF moment. And state police flagged the arrest – and presumably all the circumstances of that encounter – with the Secret Service. Did that lead to a call on Gonzalez? Once the same guy showed up along the south fence of the White House with hatchet, I’d say that would be time to take a pretty close look at what this guy was up to.
Obviously there’s no preventive detention for map circling and carrying hatchets. But I would think there would be an effort to put Gonzalez on a list of people to watch very closely when they got near the White House. Did that happen?