The Top 5 Rejected Ideas for Beefing Up White House Security
The National Capital Planning Commission passed a new strategy today.
By MICHELLE MANZIONE and ERIN DOOLEY
May 7, 2015, 10:48 PM
• 5 min read
-- People keep trying to jump over the White House fence -- and that’s a problem.
So, the United States Secret Service and National Park Service announced plans today to shore up security around 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in order to keep fence jumpers off the president's lawn -- an issue of concern for the Obama administration ever since an armed man hopped the gate, bolted past Secret Service, and forced his way into the East Room of the White House back in September.
“A removable anti-climb feature consisting of sharp metal points will be installed on the top of the White House fence,” according to a statement issued today by the two agencies. The retrofit is expected to begin in July and take about a month.
The so-called “sharp metal points” are an interim measure until something more permanent sticks.
But the new security enhancements weren’t the only measures considered. Here’s a look at some of the rejected ideas:
Castles have moats to keep intruders out -- so why shouldn’t the White House? Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., proposed building a moat around 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. last November. According to a federal report, the Secret Service considered the proposal for “a while,” but ultimately ruled it out due to maintenance issues, and the fact that it’s “difficult to remove an intruder from a moat.”
2. Non-Drying Paint
Who knew non-drying paint even existed? It’s supposed to make it difficult to grip the fence. Though the Secret Service considered the substance, they rejected the idea due to maintenance issues and “possible negative pedestrian interactions.” Face it, kids touch everything.
3. Electric Fence
Hey, electric fences kept the dinosaurs secured in the movie "Jurassic Park," so it must be good enough to work on humans too, right? Wrong. This idea was dismissed due to the concerns for animals and power outages.
During an Oversight Committee hearing, Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., suggested planting Spanish bayonet just inside the perimeter. The shrub, known for its pointy leaves, would “make for quite the greeting” for any unwanted guests, he said. However, the idea was rejected because it “goes against Environmental Plan,” “is a contradiction to historic landscape,” and could “create a home for rodents.”
5. Barbed Wire
Barbed wire, while potentially effective, was dismissed because - get this - it “makes the property feel like a prison facility.”