AP PHOTOS: White House security over the years

AP PHOTOS: White House security over the years

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WASHINGTON (AP) — One of the Secret Service's toughest jobs is trying to balance public access to the White House with security of the presidential residence. White House security suffered an extraordinary breach this weekend when an ex-soldier allegedly jumped the fence, sprinted across the lawn and entered the mansion before he was apprehended just inside the front door.

Now the agency is examining what additional steps are needed to avoid such a security breach in the future. Security at "the People's House" has increased gradually over the years, with the most dramatic changes coming in 1995 after the Oklahoma City federal building bombing that killed 167 people and injured hundreds more. President Bill Clinton ordered the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House closed to traffic and much of the area was converted to a public plaza.

That order followed security breaches at the White House the year before: A small plane crashed on the South Lawn, striking the building, and, in a separate incident, a man fired 29 rounds of ammunition into the grounds.

In the latest occurrence, Omar Gonzalez, an Army veteran, faces charges of entering a restricted building while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon — a knife. Investigators found more than 800 rounds of ammunition, a machete and two hatchets in his car parked nearby.

The Secret Service has increased security around the famous grounds on Pennsylvania Avenue, with some guards openly holding weapons, others escorting dogs. There was talk of expanding White House security both inside the gates and beyond the current restricted area.


Here's a gallery of White House images from past to present.


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Visit AP Images online: — http://www.apimages.com

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