Omar Gonzalez, 42, is expected to appear in court in Washington on
Monday facing a charge of unlawfully entering a restricted building
or grounds while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon. If
convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said Gonzalez was carrying a folding
knife with a 3-1/2-inch-long (9-cm-long) serrated blade when he
climbed a fence and made it into the White House on Friday night
after President Barack Obama had departed.
According to an affidavit released by prosecutors, Gonzalez told a
U.S. Secret Service agent after he was apprehended that "he was
concerned that the atmosphere was collapsing and (he) needed to get
the information to the President of the United States so that he
could get the word out to the people."
The incident was one of the most significant breaches since Obama
became president in 2009 and raised questions about security
procedures at the White House, a heavily guarded complex filled with
Secret Service officers and snipers.
According to the Army, Gonzalez, who had the rank of sergeant,
enlisted in July 1997, listing his home as Puerto Rico, and was
discharged in September 2003 after completing his service
obligation. He re-enlisted in 2005 and retired on disability from
the Army in 2012.
Gonzalez served in Iraq from October 2006 to January 2008, receiving
decorations including an Iraq Campaign Medal with two campaign
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During his first enlistment, he served with the 10th Cavalry
Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division at Fort Hood, Texas.
Postings during his second enlistment included Joint Base
Lewis-McChord in Washington state and Fort Hood.
A second man was arrested on Saturday for trespassing at the White
House after approaching the White House gates on foot, being sent
away and then returned in a vehicle, the Secret Service said.
The agency has increased security around the White House following
the security breach and started a review of its response.
(Reporting by Peter Cooney; Additional reporting by Jeff Mason;
Editing by Sandra Maler)
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