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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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September 22nd, 2014
05:56 PM ET

Fmr. Secret Service director: The White House needs a better fence

(CNN) – After two security incidents in as many days, the U.S. Secret Service is planning to boost its presence and its surveillance measures around the White House.

On Friday, Omar Gonzalez, an Iraq war veteran apparently suffering from PTSD, hopped the north fence and sprinted just past the north portico White House doors when he was stopped, Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said.

In the second security incident over the weekend, Kevin Carr is accused of driving up to a security barrier Saturday and trying to walk to and enter the White House.

Former Secret Service director Ralph Basham said the fence around the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue is particularly vulnerable.

"That is the problem," said Basham, founder of Command Consulting Group, a security firm. "It took this individual less than 30 seconds" to scale the fence.

Basham said he is not necessarily recommending a higher fence, suggesting instead an added tilt at the top, or non-lethal shock wire to increase security.

"I don't think anyone in this country wants to see a White House that's got concrete walls, and Concertina wire across the top, and guard towers on the corners. That is unacceptable. And that's the challenge that the Secret Service has," he said.

Any changes to the fence would require buy-in from several different groups, such as the White House Historical Association and the National Capital Planning Commission, said Basham.

"All of these entities have to be satisfied when you're dealing with this simple sort of question: Should we not enhance this type of fence and make it more secure?" he said.

President Obama and his family were not at the White House when Gonzalez jumped the fence, they had left about ten minutes earlier.

Asked if the Secret Service were a little less vigilant because the Obamas were out, Basham said, "I don't believe that for a moment." The former Secret Service director noted the same team on the White House grounds on Friday was also on duty the week before when they apprehended another fence jumper.

The team did not deploy attack dogs when Gonzalez sprinted across the lawn, a decision that Basham says current Secret Service director Julie Pearson - with whom Basham spoke yesterday - will investigate.

"They're going to want to know what was the decision, why was the decision made not to, and what was the circumstances that were in play at the time," he said.

The trained attack dogs "don't separate the good guys from the bad guys," said Basham. "I don't know what the clutter was there, I don't know how many people were there, but when the dog is released, the dog is going to go in the direction in which its handler is pointing it."

Whatever changes the Secret Service has the power to change "will happen very quickly," said Basham.

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