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Secret Service arrests intruder; Trump praises agents for ‘fantastic job’ catching ‘troubled person’

FILE – In this Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, file photo, a rainbow is seen next to the White House as a cold front passes through the area in Washington. The White House is staffing up its team of lawyers as it prepares for a complicated mix of ethics issues and policy fights ahead. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

 

March 11, 2017

President Trump praised the Secret Service Saturday for apprehending a “troubled person” who breached White House security late Friday night.

Agents “did a fantastic job” in stopping the man with a backpack near the south entrance of the White House shortly before midnight, Trump said.

The intruder had scaled a fence along the south grounds.

“It was a troubled person,” Trump said.

The president made his comments to reporters at Trump National Golf Club in Potomac Falls, Virginia, where he was holding a mini-Cabinet meeting with senior White House officials.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the president was made aware of the security breach Friday night. He said Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly “was kept aware of the situation the entire time.”

“Secret Service did a phenomenal job, they continue to provide phenomenal protection to the president and the first family, and the president was very appreciative of their efforts,” Spicer said.

The White House was placed on high alert late Friday night after the man was discovered by a Secret Service officer, CNN first reported Saturday morning.

Authorities searched the man’s backpack as a precautionary measure and determined it didn’t contain any hazardous material, the agency said in a statement. A subsequent search of the White House grounds found “nothing of concern to security operations,” the Secret Service said.

 

The intruder was taken into custody, according to the reports, although his identity was not immediately known.

The incident is believed to be the first time an intruder has been arrested on White House grounds since Trump took office 50 days earlier. Several individuals breached the White House grounds during President Barack Obama’s time in office, prompting officials to weigh security upgrades to the White House perimeter less than a year ago.