BY IVAN ZHYKARIEV
Former US Army veter- an, Omar J. Gonzalez, who climbed over the White House fence and made it through the North Portico doors of the most secure building in the world, raised security concerns in the nation’s capital.
More than a century ago on April 13, 1912, Michael Winter breached the secu- rity of the White House in attempt to see President William Howard Taft and demanded to speak with him. Winter’s fate was not known, however he is in record books as the first named White House in- truder.
The only recorded at- tempt to assassinate the president in the White House came early in 1974 during the presidency of Richard Nixon. 44-year-old Samuel Byck hijacked a passenger aircraft with the intention of crashing it into the White House, while the president was inside.
The man was cornered at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, where he hijacked the plane, but two people were killed and another one critically in- jured as Byck tried to gain access to the plane.
Byck committed suicide shortly after the police stormed the plane, and even though President Nixon was not hurt, Secret Service was eager to tight- en the security measures around the perimeter of the White House.
Gonzalez is believed to be the latest intruder, who managed to go through the austere White House security, carrying a knife and 800 rounds of ammunition in a car parked blocks away. His intentions are still unknown.
In light of yet another in- trusion and possible threat to the security of the most iconic political mansion in the world, questions are being asked about the White House security.
However, a more impor- tant question appears. If the White House is subject to intrusion and possible attack, how safe are the public places for people who do not have an army of Secret Service agents to guard their back?