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Is This A Fair Sentence For The White House Fence Jumper?

The man who made headlines in September for jumping the White House fence and making it all the way into the building with a knife was sentenced Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer sentenced Iraq War Army veteran Omar Gonzalez to 17 months in prison. He also must stay out of the District of Columbia until the end of his supervision and turn over his weapons. Once released, he will be supervised for three years.

Gonzalez knocked down one officer and made it into the East Room before being tackled. Officers searched Gonzalez’s vehicle after the incident and found ammunition, knives and tomahawks. The Obama family was not at the White House at the time.

“We often think of the White House as the most secure place in the world, but it was proven that day that it was not,” Collyer said. “No more guns, no more machetes, no more knives, no more tomahawks. Got it?”

Omar Gonzalez, Reuters, New River Regional Jail
Omar Gonzalez, Reuters, New River Regional Jail

How easily Gonzalez penetrated the president’s security embarrassed the Secret Service and was one of many recent security failures including another fence jumper, drunk driving by Secret Service agents, and drones landing on the White House lawn, all which prompted stricter scrutiny of the president’s security detail.

Gonzalez pleaded guilty in March to assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers or employees and unlawfully entering a restricted building or grounds while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon.

A second smaller fence is now in front of the White House to deter people from hopping over for a visit.

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