Authorities arrest intruder near White House for bomb threat claims; security heightened

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A fake bomb during a protest
A protester sets up a fake bomb during a protest to mark the 4th anniversary of the 14th February uprising to demand democratic reforms in the village of Sanabis, west of Manama, February 14, 2015. Reuters/Hamad I Mohammed

A Virginia man was arrested near the White House on Saturday for claiming he had a bomb. The episode prompted the Secret Service to bolster its security measures.

“On March 18, 2017 at approximately 11:05 pm, an individual drove a vehicle up to a Secret Service checkpoint located at 15th Street and E Street NW,” a Secret Service spokesman confirmed. He assured that Secret Service personnel heightened their “posture of readiness” in accord with protocols.

The intruder was identified by the authorities as Sean Patrick Keoughan. The Secret Service detained him after he allegedly drove a stolen car up to a White House checkpoint and declared he had a bomb inside, CNN reports. US President Donald Trump was reportedly at his estate in Palm Beach, Florida at the time of the incident.

According to a Washington DC police, the man claimed “there’s a bomb in the trunk.” “This is a test,” the intruder later said as a Secret Service officer detained him. Keoughan was charged for illegal use of a vehicle and making false bomb threats.

Another man was arrested over the weekend for “yelling nonsensical statements” at a restricted area outside the White House fence. Based on a police report shared by the New York Times, the man was identified as William Bryant Rawlinson, 58, of Silver Spring, Md.

On March 10, Jonathan Tuan-Anh Tran, 26, of Milpitas, California reportedly breached the outer perimeter of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave near the Treasury building. The authorities said Tran was carrying a backpack with a book by the president, a letter to Trump and two cans of pepper spray. The man had successfully escaped layers of security before being caught near the entrance at the South Portico.

The recent White House incidents have reportedly prompted Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz to suggest that the security measures of the Secret Service were still not sufficient. Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz, on the other hand, said the incident was "a total and complete embarrassment."

In 2014 during the administration of former POTUS Barack Obama, a high-profile trespassing incident took place at the official residence of the US president as an army veteran made it into its grounds with a knife in his pocket before he was arrested.

The Secret Service is made up of at least 6,500 people. It ensures protection of the US president, former presidents and vice presidents. It also looks after the security of foreign heads of state during official visits.

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