White House Press Briefing Room Evacuated Following Bomb Threat

A bomb scare forced the evacuation.

ByABC News
June 9, 2015, 2:57 PM

— -- The White House Briefing Room in the West Wing was evacuated today after a bomb threat, officials said. The incident, in the middle of a briefing, happened shortly after a Senate office building on Capitol Hill had its own bomb threat scare.

Metropolitan Police received the threat against the White House over the phone at 1:53 p.m., the agency said in a statement.

The briefing room was evacuated as a precaution, and was the only part of the White House evacuated, according to White House Spokesman Josh Earnest.

Reporters and producers were quickly herded out of the complex into an auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building across the street.

The West Wing threat was cleared shortly after 2:30 p.m. and the briefing resumed.

The president, who was in the Oval Office during the evacuation, was not relocated, Earnest said. The first lady, Malia and Sasha Obama were in the residence and also remained in place.

Earnest was moved to his office down the hall from the briefing room during the evacuation.

The determination to evacuate the press briefing room was made by the on scene Secret Service commander, who limited the evacuation to that room "due to the specific nature of the threat," the agency said in a statement.

Agents sweeping the briefing room used bomb sniffing dogs, and covered or turned down all network TV cameras positioned inside the room. The Secret Service requires cameras to be turned off or covered during security sweeps.

A Secret Service officer in front of the White House told ABC News that agents believe the person who phoned in the threat was the same one who phoned in the threat at Dirksen Senate Office Building earlier today. The U.S. Secret Service headquarters has not confirmed that the two calls were related.

Shortly after noon, the U.S. Capitol Police evacuated a portion of the Dirksen Building after an unidentified individual phoned in a bomb threat, authorities said.

In a rambling, sometimes sexually obscene and racially charged call to police, the caller said he had placed bombs inside a Senate hearing room, and wanted to “just f*** with the TSA," according to a source briefed on the call. He said he has had a “full day of bomb threats and prank calls and just nonsense and just childish acts. It’s been fun."

The phoned bomb threat at the Dirksen building also was cleared and nothing hazardous was located.

ABC's Devin Dwyer, Jordyn Phelps, Ali Weinberg, John Parkinson, Ben Siegel, Jack Date, Katherine Faulders and Mike Levine contributed to this report.