Secret Service Director Julia Pierson gets hammmered as she appears before the House Oversight Committee.
The US secret service allowed an armed man with a criminal record for assault to enter an elevator with president Barack Obama, it was disclosed on Tuesday, hours after officials admitted they missed three chances to deter an intruder who broke into the White House earlier this month.
The Washington Post revealed that the man, a security contractor, was carrying a gun when he was in the elevator with Obama on a 16 September visit to the US Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.
Earlier on Tuesday, the director of the secret service, Julia Pierson, faced a barrage of questions about the White House intrusion at a congressional hearing.
The hearing was told that Omar Gonzalez, a former army sniper diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in Iraq, was first interviewed by the secret service after he was referred by local police worried by an arsenal of 11 heavy weapons and an annotated map pointing to the White House.
On a second encounter, he was discovered walking around outside the White House fence with a hatchet, but was let go by secret service officers after he told them he was going camping.
And on a third occasion, two officers spotted and recognised Gonzalez outside the White House again but failed to report him before he scaled the fence, ran unimpeded across the North Lawn and through three rooms of the residence just minutes after the departure of the president and his family.
The fresh evidence given to the House oversight committee for a hearing on Tuesday confirms officers provided misleading public statements after the event, claiming the intruder was unarmed and implying he did not make it past the front door, when in fact he barrelled past an agent who was trying to lock the door and made it more than 80 feet into the building with a three-inch serrated knife.
Many of the committee members are now calling for the Director of the Secret Service to resign following here terrible performance on Tuesday.