US & Canada

White House intruder 'made it to East Room'

A young girl stands at a added security fence outside of the White House on 25 September 2014
Image caption A new barrier was erected following the security breach

A man arrested for breaking into the White House earlier this month gained access to more of the building than previously believed, US media report.

Omar Gonzalez, 42, made it to the East Room in the highly guarded home on 19 September, unidentified officials told multiple news outlets.

It was earlier reported he was stopped at the North Portico doors after scaling the building's main fence.

The Secret Service boss will be questioned about the breach on Tuesday.

US lawmakers on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will ask Secret Service Director Julia Pierson to explain this latest lapse.

Mr Gonzalez - armed with a knife - barrelled past a guard posted at the door of the White House and ran into the East Room before being tackled by authorities, unnamed officials told the Washington Post.

The long, ornately decorated room is frequently used for presidential addresses and formal receptions.

Image caption The East Room is used for many functions, some hosted by the president
Image caption Omar Gonzalez with wife Samantha, in an undated photo

The Secret Service, responsible for US President Barack Obama's security, has so far declined to comment on the latest information.

The protective agency has undergone a review of its procedures in the wake of the breach and erected a temporary fence outside the famous US residence.

Mr Gonzalez, meanwhile, has been charged with unlawfully entering a restricted building or grounds while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon.

The Iraq War veteran was previously stopped by Virginia police in July.

Officers found two powerful rifles, four handguns and other firearms and ammunition in Mr Gonzalez's vehicle along with a map marking the White House.

An unnamed federal law enforcement official earlier told the Associated Press news agency Secret Service agents had interviewed Mr Gonzalez twice during the summer but concluded there was no evidence he was a security threat.

Mr Obama and his family were not at the White House when the intrusion happened, having departed about 10 minutes earlier by helicopter.

Image caption The Secret Service has been criticised for the lapse

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