In a shocking let down of security, two men managed to breach into the White House in two separate incidents within a 24-hour period, causing the building to be evacuated.
In the first incident on Friday night, 42-year-old Omar Gonzalez of Coperas Cove, Texas, jumped the fence just minutes after US President Barack Obama, his daughter and her friend boarded a helicopter on the South Lawn, reports USA Today.
Gonzalez, who was unarmed, was only tackled by security after managing to get inside the doors of the North Portico, the entrance facing Pennsylvania Avenue. The White House was evacuated following the breach.
Then a second man on Saturday night broke in, less than a day later.
Secret Service spokesperson Ed Donovan said a man showed up at a White House gate on foot, then pulled into another gate with his car later, refusing to leave and being arrested for unlawful entry, reports ABC News.
Speaking about the first incident, Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), who chairs the House of Representatives' subpanel on national security oversight, called it "totally unacceptable. Unfortunately, they are failing to do their job."
Donovan acknowledged "this situation was a little different than other incidents we have at the White House," given the rareness of intruders making it all the way across the White House lawn before being apprehended.
He added "there will be a thorough investigation into the incident."
The incidents surface the same Saturday that reports revealed the Vatican has tightened security, following "credible" threats that Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists are aiming to assassinate Pope Francis.