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Intruder Arrested After Entering White House Grounds

A member of the Secret Service walks the perimeter of the North Lawn of the White House in Washington last March. On Friday night, an intruder entered the White House grounds while the president was home.
Andrew Harnik

Updated at 5:50 p.m. ET

An intruder carrying Mace and a letter for President Trump made it onto the grounds of the White House shortly before midnight Friday, according to the Secret Service.

President Trump was in the building at the time. The man was taken into custody without incident.

The Secret Service says Jonathan Tuan Tran, 26, of Milpitas, Calif., scaled the outer perimeter fence of the White House grounds and was stopped by an officer close to the South Portico entrance to the White House.

According to the police report, Tran said: "I am a friend of the president. I have an appointment."

Tran is charged with entering or remaining in restricted grounds while using or carrying a dangerous weapon.

In a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court, the Secret Service says Tran was carrying two cans of Mace, along with a U.S. passport, an Apple laptop computer, a book written by President Trump and a letter he had written to the president.

The complaint said that in the letter, "Tran mentioned 'Russian hackers,' and said he had information of relevance. Tran alleged he had been 'followed,' that his 'phone and email communications [had been] read by third parties,' and that he had 'been called schizophrenic.'"

"Secret Service did a fantastic job last night," President Trump told reporters Saturday. "I appreciate it." He then called the intruder "a troubled person."

The last major security breach at the White House was in 2014, when a man with a knife got through the front doors, overpowered a guard and ran across the first floor before being tackled. That and other security breaches led to the resignation of then-Secret Service director Julia Pierson.

Last month, the National Park Service and Secret Service released plans for a new fence around the White House. The current fence is about 8 feet tall, with spikes that were added in 2015.

The new fence will be 5 feet taller and will incorporate "pencil-point" spikes and other security measures.

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Laurel Wamsley is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She reports breaking news for NPR's digital coverage, newscasts, and news magazines, as well as occasional features. She was also the lead reporter for NPR's coverage of the 2019 Women's World Cup in France.
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