The president is no longer safe on the White House grounds, according to former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino, who once guarded presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
Bongino made the stunning assessment in an interview Friday with Fox News. It followed an incident last Friday night when a man jumped the White House fence and may have roamed the property for as long as 15 minutes before he was stopped by the Secret Service.
Jonathan Tran, who carried two cans of mace, set off multiple alarms, Bongino said, and was even spotted by Secret Service officers, but was still able to come within “close proximity” of the White House and even reportedly “jiggled the door” to the executive mansion.
“The intruder set off multiple alarms, alarms that clearly showed someone breached the property, and he was seen by officers who didn't think anything of it. This is a big story,” Bongino told Fox News.
President Donald Trump (AP)
“That just shows the president is not safe there - in the White House. The Secret Service does not have the assets, they don't have personnel on the ground they need to keep him safe.”
Should a group of terrorists decide to storm the White House, the Secret Service would not be able to protect Trump, Bongino predicted.
“The Secret Service cannot even keep one person off the grounds - what will they do if 40 terrorists charge the White House?” he asked. “And believe me the terrorists are already thinking about that.”
According to the Secret Service, Tran was charged with entering a restricted building and carrying a dangerous weapon.
Trump, who was on the property, has praised the Secret Service for doing a “fantastic job” and said the suspect was “troubled.”
But Bongino said the current Secret Service management “sucks.”
“The Secret Service is stuck in their ways and don't want to redo and upgrade the White House security plan. President Trump won't be safe there until they do,” Bongino said.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, also blasted the latest incident and said “this keeps happening.” Chaffetz’s panel oversees the Secret Service.
He added, “Our information is incomplete at best.”
In a letter to acting Secret Service Director Bill Callahan, Chaffetz said Tran “may have attempted entry into the building. If true, these allegations raise questions about whether the agency’s security protocols are adequate.”
Chaffetz suggested there may have been alarms that were ignored by the Secret Service.
Chaffetz wants a briefing by the end of next week. He also is asking for all video from the White House grounds that night as well as logs from the Joint Operations Center and information about “alarms” at the White House.
The episode recalled another in September 2014, when Omar Gonzales penetrated the White House grounds and actually made it inside. Then-Secret Service Director Julia Pierson afterward conceded “mistakes were made.” But the Secret Service was found to have publicly lied about how far Gonzales made it into the White House.
It cost Pierson her job.
They later found the White House alarms had been muted in the Gonzales incident.
Fox News' Chad Pergram contributed to this report.
Malia Zimmerman is an award-winning investigative reporter focusing on crime, homeland security, illegal immigration crime, terrorism and political corruption. Follow her on twitter at @MaliaMZimmerman