Secret service allowed armed man with assault charge into elevator with Obama

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Secret service director Julia Pierson testifies to the House oversight and government reform committee. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The US secret service allowed an armed man with a criminal record for assault to enter an elevator with president Barack Obama, it was disclosed on Tuesday, hours after officials admitted they missed three chances to deter an intruder who broke into the White House earlier this month.

The Washington Post revealed that the man, a security contractor, was carrying a gun when he was in the elevator with Obama on a 16 September visit to the US Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.

Earlier on Tuesday, the director of the secret service, Julia Pierson, faced a barrage of questions about the White House intrusion at a congressional hearing.

The hearing was told that Omar Gonzalez, a former army sniper diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in Iraq, was first interviewed by the secret service after he was referred by local police worried by an arsenal of 11 heavy weaponsand an annotated map pointing to the White House.

On a second encounter, he was discovered walking around outside the White House fence with a hatchet, but was let go by secret service officers after he told them he was going camping.

Written by Dan Roberts
Read more at The Guardian

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