Lawmakers were aghast, too, about a four-day delay in 2011 before the Secret Service realized a man had fired a high-powered rifle at the White House, as reported by the Post on Sunday.
Pierson told the hearing the security plan for protecting the White House was not "properly executed" on Sept. 19 when the intruder sprinted across the White House North Lawn and through the unlocked front door of the mansion, knocking over a Secret Service officer and then running past the staircase that leads to the first family’s residential quarters. He ran through the East Room before being tackled by a Secret Service agent near the entrance to the Green Room.
The Post reported Tuesday that the agent was off duty at the time and just happened to be in the area. The Secret Service’s story about the extent of that breach changed late Monday night after the Post reported that Gonzalez got well past the front door of the White House. Previously it had said Gonzalez had been stopped just inside the front door. After hours of questioning Tuesday, it remained unclear what and when Pierson and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson knew about the incident.
The Secret Service is part of the Homeland Security Department. Three days after the breach, Johnson described it as "events on the North Lawn of the White House." No one has been fired or demoted since the Sept. 19 White House intrusion. Pierson said she was conducting an internal review to determine the facts. Wednesday marks day 12 of that review. Pierson did not say when it was expected to be completed, but said the results would guide any security adjustments and personnel actions "that are necessary to properly ensure the safety and security of the president and first family and the White House." Gonzalez was indicted Tuesday and was scheduled to appear Wednesday before Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson in U.S. District Court.