Friday, March 16, 2007

Catalino Lucas Diaz

Secret Service: Man Climbs White House Fence; Man With Package In Custody (AP via NBC4)

Authorities said the man had a package that was later destroyed with a water cannon. The incident prompted a security lockdown in the area for more than three hours. Authorities said the package didn't contain any dangerous items. A Secret Service spokesman says a man identified as 66-year-old Catalino Lucas Diaz, possibly of Florida, is in custody pending charges. The man jumped the fence along the northeast side of the White House, closing the area along Pennsylvania Avenue and Lafayette Park from 11:10 a.m. to about 2:30 p.m.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Roger Witmer

Roger Witmer, 44, of Washington, DC, attempted to jump the south side of the White House fence today, but was captured by Secret Service before he could make it. He did throw a plastic bag (possibly more than one) over the fence, however. What was in the bag is still unknown, but Secret Service confirms no explosives found.

Witmer is now in custody, facing charges of unlawful entry and disorderly conduct.

In the news: CNN, AP via WaPo.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Brian Patterson again

Brian Patterson, a previous offender who has jumped the White House fence before, did it again yesterday.

From WTOP News: Screaming Intruder Jumps White House Fence.

The bearded man, wearing blue jeans and a white T-shirt that said "God Bless America," jumped the fence outside the White House and ran across the north lawn while repeatedly yelling, "I am a victim of terrorism!"

Members of the Secret Service emergency response team, including one holding a barking dog, chased Patterson with their guns drawn and surrounded him near the row of cameras set up for television stand-ups.

"I have intelligence information for the president," he said, waving his arms in the air. "I'm not afraid of you," Patterson screamed at the officers who were ordering him to the ground with guns drawn.

Patterson eventually kneeled on the ground and was taken into custody shortly before 4 p.m.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Package Thrown Over Fence

All-Clear Given After Package Found At White House.

The Secret Service said a man is in custody after allegedly throwing an object over a fence at the White House.

"This individual has a done a similar act in the past and he is in custody," Secret Service spokesman Tom Mazur said.

A bomb squad was called to the scene and deemed the package to be harmless.

The package was noted just after President George W. Bush left on his helicopter from the South Lawn -- on the other side of the White House -- for a trip to Wheeling, W.Va. Reporters, cameramen and photographers were told to remain inside the briefing room while officers investigated

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Shawn A. Cox

AP via Washington Post: "A man from Arkansas scaled the fence surrounding the White House Sunday while President Bush was inside and was immediately captured by Secret Service officers.

"Secret Service spokesman Jonathan Cherry identified the jumper as Shawn A. Cox. Cherry said Cox was being charged with unlawful entry and was expected to appear Monday in U.S. District Court.

Cox has previously come to the attention of the Secret Service, Cherry said, but he would not provide details."

With a lovely photo.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

New Jumper, 6/1/2005

Around noon today, a man joined a line of reporters waiting to enter the White House grounds. He showed his driver's license and demanded to see President's Bush, was refused, then walked a bit further down the fence and tried to jump it. The Secret Service apprended him right away, of course. (Wow, I think this is our first jumper since November!)

News linkage:

- Witnesses said the man hopped into a line of people who were waiting to go through the northwest gate and said he wanted to see the president. But the man didn't have the proper credentials. The man stepped out of line, yelled a couple of times and ran toward the fence. As soon as he made it over the fence, the Secret Service apprehended him.

- "At about noon today, an unidentified male jumped the fence on the north side of the White House grounds," said a presidential protection spokesman. "He was apprehended by Secret Service and taken into custody and Secret Service is currently investigating the incident."

- A man in a t-shirt and baggy pants at the White House Northwest gate was refused entrance, so he scrambled over the gate. Officials tell Eyewitness News the man presented what was presumably a driver's license. When he was told to stand back, he scrambled over the fence.

- "Keep your head down, turn it away", an agent, submachine gun aimed, yelled at the man who was ordered to the ground. "Turn away, don't move, now." The man was quickly searched and taken to a holding area in an adjacent guard shack. Information on his identity was not immediately available. He wore a t-shirt and grinned throughout the entire incident, which sent tourists on Pennsylvania Avenue scurrying away.

President Bush was in the White House at the time, meeting with South African President Thabo Mbeki in the Oval office.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Red Van

A man in a red van breached tight pre-inaugural security and is stopped at 15th and Penn NW, at the White House security barrier, surrounded by police and Secret Service. Apparently he is distraught over a child custody case, and is threatening to blow up himself and his van with a container of gasoline.

But he hasn't tried to jump the fence.

Story from WTOP, NBC4, and WJLA.

(I'd link WaPo but their stupid registration doesn't work in OS X Safari 1.0.3, so sucks to them.)

Key quote from the AP report in WTOP News: "Another witness, Nick Wutherich, visiting from Texas, says he walked past the van and describes the driver as looking like a hippie, with a blank expression on his face. Wutherich says all of a sudden he heard screams and saw police with guns drawn converging on the van and ordering people out of the area."

Dang hippies.

Update: Standoff ends peacefully. I'm sure that child custody case will go absolutely swimmingly for him now! CNN reports his name was Lowell Timmers, 54, of Cedar Spring, Michigan. DCist has more.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Yasuharu Kuga

It didn't take too long from the completion of the Penn Project for the jumpers to pounce. Mere hours after a man tried to burn himself up in front of the White House, a new fence-jump attempt was made. The scoop from NBC4: A man was arrested at the White House around 5:15 p.m. Monday after he jumped over the fence onto the north lawn in an apparent protest. Uniformed Secret Service officers immediately spotted the man, who reportedly yelled something after jumping over the 6-foot fence. They ordered the man to stay where he was and took him into custody.

Update: According to WTOP News, the fence jumper was a Japanese man named Yasuharu Kuga: A Secret Service spokesman says Kuga was treated at a local hospital for injuries he likely had suffered in the fall over the fence. Kuga, who was dressed in military style camouflage clothing, spent the night in [a] DC jail cell.

Mohamed Alanssi

We interrupt this blog's lengthy silence to report on someone who didn't try to jump the fence, but apparently attempted to set himself on fire outside the White House on Pennsylvania Ave:

MSNBC/Reuters: A Reuters reporter saw the man try to present a Manila envelope to guards near a Secret Service post on Pennsylvania Avenue outside the White House West Wing. Moments later, a plume of smoke rose above the guard post while two guards wrestled the man to the ground and a third extinguished flames that engulfed the man's briefcase and overcoat a few feet away.

FoxNews/AP: Smoke hung in the air around the man as paramedics rushed to provide aid. The man appeared to be clutching his hand in pain, but it was unclear how serious his burns were.

Update: The self-immolating protestor was [allegedly] Mohamed Alanssi, 52, a Yemeni national who served as an informant to the FBI. He claims that the FBI paid him $100,000 in 2003 for information on Al Qaeda financing and for helping in the sting operation which caught Yemeni cleric Mohammed Ali Hassan Moayad. Apparently the FBI now refuses to give him his passport or pay him any more money to visit his cancer-stricken wife in Yemen.

Info from BBC, News24, Moonie Times, and AP via ABCNews.

(The Fence Watcher reflects that Alanssi could have stretched $100,000 a long way if he had a job and had exercised proper financial restraint.)

Sunday, May 09, 2004

John Kerry's Medals

Some people believe that John Kerry's medals jumped the White House Fence in 1971, but that's not true: it was a wood and wire fence around the Capitol over which Kerry threw his combat ribbons as a symbol of protest. Number of medals/ribbons thrown: unknown. Number of White House Fence Jumpers Staff who care: zero. Duh.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Penn Project and Wonkette

Well, it's been over a month since Brian Patterson jumped the White House fence, and since then, the fence has remained jumper-free! Go USA! (The fence is a bit harder to get to these days, what with all the construction going on for the Penn Project.)

Thank you to Wonkette for noticing. I'm a near-the-Capitol jaywalker myself.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

BBC on Fence Jumpers

Old BBC article from 7 Feb 2001: White House Security Scares. Recaps many of the previously mentioned fence jumpers.

Friday, February 27, 2004

White House Security Review, 1995

UPDATE: has the 1995 White House Security Review available on a single webpage that is easier to read and link.

From the well-meaning beatniks at Prop 1, the President's closest neighbors, we have the 1995 White House Security Review, with details on Frank Corder crashing his plane into the South Lawn on 12 Sept 1994, and Francisco Martin Duran firing bullets through the South fence on 29 Oct 1994. Not strictly fence jumpers (unless you call a Cessna a "jumper," eh?) but interesting nonetheless. Also see the Evolution of White House Security.

Ah, but the good stuff is here, under "History of Ground and Air Assaults on the White House Complex." That includes fence jumpers, gate-rammers, outside-the-fence-threateners, and air incursion attempts.


On Christmas Day in 1974, Marshall Fields, a man who claimed he was the Messiah, crashed his Chevrolet Impala through the Northwest Gate of the White House Complex and drove up to the North Portico. Fields had flares strapped to his body, and he announced to Secret Service personnel that the flares were explosives that he was prepared to detonate. After about four hours of negotiation, Fields surrendered. In response to the Marshall Fields incident, and an incident the previous year in which another driver had crashed through a gate onto the White House grounds, the nineteenth century, wrought-iron gates were replaced with reinforced gates in 1976.

Steven B. Williams became the first would-be intruder to test the new, strengthened gates. He rammed the Northwest Gate with his pickup truck at approximately 25 mph. The gate did not buckle and the front of Williams' truck was flattened.


Chester Plummer was a local taxi driver with a criminal history who had never come to the attention of the Secret Service as a potential threat to the President. On July 27, 1976, he scaled the White House fence carrying a 3-foot length of metal pipe. As he advanced toward the White House, he was confronted by an EPS officer. The officer drew his revolver and repeatedly ordered Plummer to halt, but Plummer raised the pipe in a threatening manner and continued to advance. The officer shot Plummer in the chest. Plummer died of his wounds shortly afterward.

Anthony Henry (Oct 1978) wished to persuade President Carter that it was blasphemous to place the words "In God We Trust" on U.S. currency. Wearing a white karate suit and carrying a Bible, he climbed over the White House fence onto the north grounds. When he was confronted by Secret Service agents and Uniformed Division officers approximately 15 yards inside the fence line, he pulled a knife from inside the Bible and slashed one officer's face and another's arm. Uniformed Division officers surrounded Henry, prodded him with long batons, and poked the knife out of his hand. They then forced him to the ground and arrested him.

In December 1975, Gerald Gainous roamed the grounds for an hour and half and approached President Ford's daughter while she unloaded camera equipment from her car. In 1991, Gustav Leijohhufved, a Swedish citizen, was not apprehended until he reached a guard post outside the West Wing; Neither of these men were armed, however. The only armed fence jumpers have been Plummer and Henry, though an intruder threatened a Uniformed Division officer with a water pistol in 1977.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Brian Patterson

After discovering the dearth of material on the web about fence jumpers at the White House, I have decided to track them here. So, without further ado, we start today:

"I'm a victim of terrorism!" The man scaled a fence along Pennsylvania Avenue and ran about halfway across the North Lawn before he was surrounded by uniformed Secret Service officers and led away in handcuffs .... A photographer for The Associated Press, who witnessed the incident shortly after 5 p.m. EST, said the man was shouting, "I'm a victim of terrorism and I need the president's help."

Update: Identified himself by the name Brian Patterson. The man, dressed in jeans, a beige jacket and sunglasses, climbed the black wrought-iron fence along Pennsylvania Avenue about 5pm on Wednesday and was quickly brought down by a security dog as Secret Service agents approached with guns drawn...."He has been arrested, taken into custody and is currently being questioned."

Friday, January 24, 2003

Unidentified, 24 Jan 2003

Retroactively blogged for 24 Jan 2003: Man leaps over White House fence. The unidentified man entered the northwest gate of the White House behind another visitor, then jumped over the fence onto the grounds. Agents captured him within seconds, and he was being questioned, Secret Service spokesman John Gill said.

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

Diane Wilson

Apparently, Diane Wilson attempted to jump the White House fence in Oct 2002, during a Code Pink antiwar vigil. From Matthew Stinson, quoting a now-defunct Code Pink diary entry: "We unfurl anti-war banners against the fence. Diane Wilson, an amazingly brave and athletic woman older than me, leaps lightly up onto one of the gate posts and unfurls a banner. She gets arrested, but also gets on major news media."

Tuesday, October 31, 2000

Retroactive from 31 Oct 2000: Bible and vitamins. The suspect first threw his duffel bag over the fence, while clutching a white T-shirt with something written on it, and proceeded to climb over the fence. Once on the other side, he picked up his bag and began a slow jog toward the White House.... The man scaled the fence between the northwest gate and the Eisenhower Executive Office building and got as far as a gravel area on the north lawn of the White House grounds known as "pebble beach."

Tuesday, March 28, 2000

Unidentifed, 28 Mar 2000

Retroactive from 28 March 2000: White House Intruder, reported by the Kids' News Room. Just prior to the President's scheduled departure, an intruder surprised Secret Service personnel when he jumped the fence and began to make his way to The White House. Secret Service personnel immediately stopped the intruder, and the President was not harmed. A Secret Service spokesman stated that the intruder was not injured in the process. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was visiting President Clinton at the time of the attempted break-in. The media reported that the visit and the intrusion do not appear to be related.