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The Worst Security Breaches at the White House

Posted by Vikki Geary on 5 September 2014

The President of the United States is likely to be one of the most well-protected men in the world and the same can be said of his official residence, the White House. However, this does not mean that there have not been security breaches at the iconic building at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and the following are a few of the worst instances.

1974: Robert K. Preston

During his time as a United States Army private, Robert K. Preston flew to the White House in a helicopter he stole from Fort Meade in Maryland. He initially hovered over the building for a period of around six minutes before coming down to land close to the West Wing. No attempt was made to apprehend him and he took off again only when two police helicopters approached. After a short chase, he managed to evade the police and return to the White House. This time security took aim at him as he hovered overhead and he was injured after shots were fired. This forced him into landing again and he was apprehended.

1974: Marshall H. Fields

Another incident that took place in 1974 ended with Marshall H. Fields in a standoff with security forces. On Christmas Day of that year, he used his car to crash through a gate and drive up almost to the front door of the White House. He claimed that his car was packed with explosives and it took four hours of negotiations before he finally surrendered. The explosives turned out to be flares although the breach was serious enough for security measures at the White House to be reviewed. 

1985: Robert Latta

Latta was a Denver water department employee who got inside the White House during a vacation to Washington. He managed this by latching onto the back of some Marine Band members and following them past security. It allowed him to wander around the Executive Residence area for around 15 minutes before he was challenged and apprehended.

2009: Michaele and Tareq Salahi

One of the more serious breaches of recent times saw a couple of uninvited reality TV stars gatecrash the White House. Michaele and Tareq Salahi managed to pass undetected through two security checkpoints so they could attend a state dinner being held in honor of the Indian Prime Minister. This led to them getting to shake the hand of President Obama himself as he greeted them in the Blue Room.

While the White House may be well guarded, a number of breaches have allowed intrusions inside the grounds and the building. Those shown above are some of the worst cases over the years.

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