The Secret Service suffered a double-whammy on Friday involving a stolen laptop of one of its employees as well as reports circulating that it took agents nearly 15 minutes to arrest a 26-year-old man from California who had breached White House grounds last Saturday. The two incidents are reminiscent of a series of security setbacks that have troubled the agency in recent years, leading to an erosion of trust among White House officials.
A stolen laptop
The Secret Service confirmed in a statement that an agency-issued laptop was stolen from one of its employees. While the agency noted that its laptops contain multiple layers of security including disk encryption, they do not contain classified information. Sources, however, told CBS2 that it does contain "sensitive information" about Trump Tower floor plans, evacuation protocol, as well as information relating to Hillary Clinton's email investigation.
The Secret Service has refrained from making additional comment, but it did acknowledge an ongoing investigation.
The theft occurred outside of the agent's home in Bath Beach, Brooklyn. Sources said that an unoccupied vehicle containing Maryland plates were broken into and a bag with a laptop and other items were taken.
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A man used security vulnerabilities to his advantage
In addition to a stolen computer, a Secret Service agent divulged details to CNN regarding last week's breach on White House grounds. The official said that it took agents 15 minutes or more before 26-year-old California Johnathan Tran was subdued and arrested.
Video surveillance footage revealed that Tran first jumped a fence in the Northwest corner of the Treasury Building, which is adjacent to the White house. That breach activated an alarm in the Treasury Moat. Secret Service officials responded to the alarm, but Tran had snuck beyond one Secret Service post and inched towards the White House. Tran's movements set off another alarm but avoided detection behind a pillar of the East Wing entrance. He then jumped a wall before traversing along the East Wing.
Several additional sensors went off, but it remains uncertain if they were fully investigated at the time of the breach.
The breach has led to the Secret Service launching a formal Mission Assurance Review.
A troubled past
The agency, known for protecting top White House staff, including the sitting president, has gained somewhat of a tarnished reputation for a trove of security mishaps, eventually leading to the resignation of its director, Julia Pierson, just a year and a half on the
job. Under her leadership, several astounding security breaches took place, including an incident in 2014 when Army veteran Omar Gonzalez managed to make it to the White House's East Room before being subdued.
Following the September incident, reports surfaced that Gonzalez had made it farther into the White House than what was previously reported by Secret Service officials.
Just three days before the high-profile breach, a security contractor with a gun and a criminal background rode an elevator with President Obama
during a visit to Atlanta to discuss the U.S. response to the Ebola crisis with officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Most recently, in March 2017, the Secret Service launched an investigation after two Secret Service agents who were assigned to protect President Trump's grandson, Donald Trump II, took selfies with the eight-year-old while he was sleeping, reported Mother Jones.
The two agents were ordered to report to the Secret Service Office of Professional Responsibility.
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