Fence-jumper immediately apprehended at White House

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UPDATE - 5:09 p.m. - Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said that the fence-jumper was a 46-year old white female, Pamela Morgan, who has been transferred into the custody of the Metropolitan Police Department.

Morgan jumped the fence in the northeast corner of the compound and was carrying a back pack with her.

Secret Service apprehended Morgan immediately but left her backpack where it was so that explosives experts could examine it, which is standard procedure whenever a package of any sort is thrown or carried onto the grounds.

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The White House went into lockdown mode Tuesday after a person jumped the fence around the compound and was immediately apprehended, a Secret Service spokesman said.

The north side of the compound, where the fence-jumping is believed to have occurred, was shut down, with reporters and staff unable to walk around outside.

But after the compound had been on lockdown for roughly 20 minutes, reporters in the Brady Press Briefing Room saw members of the House Ways and Means Committee, a key panel in the current healthcare reform effort, walking down the driveway from the West Wing to the north gate on their way out of the compound.

The lawmakers had been at the White House for a meeting with President Obama.

Given the high stakes of the healthcare debate, members of the press wanted to speak with the lawmakers. Since they were walking down the driveway freely, I stuck my head out of the door to the briefing room and asked a uniformed Secret Service officer (different than the plain clothes Secret Service) whether we were still on lockdown.

“There is a bomb 150 yards away!” she yelled, which was an alarming claim to make, but highly dubious given the fact that members of Congress were strolling down the driveway toward the area in which the officer was saying there was a bomb.

When I pointed this out to the officer she yelled, “Step back inside sir!”

I called the Secret Service public affairs office to see if there was any truth to the officer’s assertion. They said absolutely not, there was definitely no bomb, and that the only information they had was that a person had jumped the fence and been taken into custody immediately.

— Jon Ward, White House reporter, The Washington Times

Follow me on Twitter // jward@washingtontimes.com // Read my latest articles here // My YouTube channel

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