Secret Service simulates first ever security drill at WH

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At the White House Friday, the Secret Service held a first-ever live security drill on the White House grounds. President Trump was present inside the residence.

Secret Service Director Randolph “Tex” Alles told CBS News in an interview that agents need to simulate real-time scenarios in the case of an intruder. “You fight like you train,” Alles said. “Then you need to train like you fight. We’re trying to provide realistic training that would be similar to what would happen if there’s an emergency on the White House grounds.”

“You have to admire the restraint of the officers,” Alles further mentioned. “The last thing we want to do is have to use lethal force, but they’re well-prepared to do it on the grounds, I’ll just say that.”

In Sept. 2014, fence-jumper Omar Gonzalez broke into the White House grounds with a knife in his back pocket. He ran across the North Lawn and into the residence. Gonzalez, an Army veteran, was apprehended. It was confirmed he suffered from mental illness.

Since the incident, Alles said the agency has been able to reduce fence-jumpers by adding bike racks along the fence line. However, Alles’ concerns go beyond fence jumping.

“The most dangerous part would be some form of complex attack,” Alles said. “Potentially a suicide attack with some kind of follow-on attack with the suicide bomber that would be my most dangerous course that we want to think about.”

The Secret Service has been facing issues in terms of funding. From 2011 to 2015, the Secret Service lost approximately 10 percent of its workforce due to budget constraints and attrition. Alles said not having enough agents makes for long hours and mounting stress.

“I think we understand that the sizing of the agency is not currently adequate. That’s a stress factor on there,” he said.

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