WASHINGTON (CNN) — The man who jumped the White House fence earlier this month and breached the mansion’s doors actually made it farther than originally thought, Rep. Jason Chaffetz confirmed Monday to CNN.
Chaffetz, who was provided the information by whistleblowers during his congressional investigation into the incident, confirmed the details of what now appears to be a wild chase through the main floor of the White House, first reported by the Washington Post.
Omar Gonzalez, a 42-year-old Iraq war veteran who had a knife in his pocket, overcame one Secret Service officer and ran into the East Room of the White House, where he was then tackled, Chaffetz said.
Secret Service officials had previously told reporters that Gonzalez was stopped after entering the front door of the North Portico.
Gonzalez ran through much of the main floor, past a stairway that leads up to the first family’s residence, and was ultimately stopped at the far southern end of the East Room. He also reached the doorway to the Green Room, an area that looks out on the South Lawn.
The Secret Service has not yet commented on the Post report.
U.S. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson will face tough questions at an already-scheduled hearing on Tuesday before the House Oversight Committee. When Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, announced the hearing last week, the GOP chairman said, “These significant security breaches reveal our weaknesses as well as our response capabilities to our nation’s enemies.”
But Pierson sent a letter to Issa last Friday raising concerns about an open discussion about security issues and urged that the chairman allow some of her testimony to take place in a classified setting.
“Simply put, publicly airing the very security measures employed by the Secret Service and the various challenges we confront at the White House complex will arm those who desire to cause injury – or worse – to the President and First Family with critical information, and doing so would be beyond reckless,” Pierson wrote.
CNN has learned from a Democratic source on the Oversight Committee that Issa has agreed to Pierson’s request, and will hold a separate, classified session on Tuesday.
The top Democrat on the committee, Rep Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, praised the decision to protect the agency’s mission.
“This is not a Democratic issue or a Republican issue, but an American issue, and the last thing we should do is give people like Gonzalez a road map for how to attack the President or other officials,” Cummings said in a written statement to CNN.