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."