The Iraq war veteran who jumped the White House fence wielding a knife and entered the East Room before being caught last September was sentenced on Tuesday to 17 months in prison.

The South Lawn and the White House is pictured in Washington ?
The South Lawn and the White House is pictured in Washington
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The U.S. Justice Department said in a statement that Omar Gonzalez, a 43-year-old Army veteran from Texas, pleaded guilty on March 13 to two federal offenses, including unlawfully entering a restricted building or grounds while carrying a deadly weapon.
Family members of Gonzalez said previously that Gonzalez had suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after his experience in Iraq war, which was launched by former U.S. President George W. Bush and was later deemed by many as a “disastrous mistake”.
Gonzalez was also barred from entering the District of Columbia after completing his prison term and was required to receive psychiatric treatment, said the statement.
This security breach is considered one of the worst the White House has ever experienced and severely battered the image of the Secret Service, an agency responsible for safety of the First Family.
In the past several years, episodes of scandals and misconducts surrounding the Secret Service frequently hit the newspaper headline.
In November, 2009, an uninvited couple successfully passed through two security checkpoints at the White House and attended a state dinner for then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. A picture that went viral online showed a grinning Obama greeting the female intruder.
In November 2011, a gunman parked near the White House and fired multiple times at the building, and then fled the scene. When the shooting was on, one of the first daughters was inside the house. A Secret Service supervisor mistook the shooting sounds for car backfire and ordered agents to “stand down”. The agency did not even realize that shots hit the building until four days later when a housekeeper found a broken window and a chunk of white concrete on the floor of the Truman Balcony.
In April 2012, the Washington Post reported that a dozen agents were caught soliciting prostitutes when carrying out preparation work for a presidential trip to a summit in Colombia.
In May 2013, a Secret Service supervisor from the president’s security detail, the agency’s most elite assignment, accidentally left a bullet in a woman’s room at Washington’s Hay-Adams hotel, which overlooks the White House. Later, it was also found that the supervisor had sent sexually suggestive emails to a woman subordinate.
In September 2014, an armed security contractor managed to get on an elevator with Obama during a trip to Atlanta. The Secret Service agents only learned that the man was armed when they tried to stop him from filming Obama on his phone. Enditem

-Xinhua

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