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September 22nd, 2014
05:46 AM ET

White House Security Beefed Up

The U.S. Secret Service is planning to boost its presence and its surveillance measures around the White House on Monday after an Iraq war veteran, who is apparently suffering from PTSD, jumped over a White House fence.

Officers patrolling the area will be out in greater numbers and will be "looking for individuals who don't look like tourists," a federal law enforcement officer told CNN.

Two security incidents in two days have raised concerns about the safety at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

On Friday, Omar Gonzalez hopped the north fence and sprinted just past the north portico White House doors when he was stopped, Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said.

Gonzalez carried a Spyderco VG-10 folding knife with a 3-and-a-half inch serrated blade in his pants pocket, according to an affidavit.

A Secret Service officer said he yelled at the intruder to stop. Gonzalez told a Secret Service agent "that he was concerned that the atmosphere was collapsing and needed to get the information to the President of the United States so that he could get the word out to the people," according to the affidavit.

President Barack Obama and his family were not at home at the time.

See more on this developing story on CNN.com

May 7th, 2014
04:49 AM ET

White House Locked Down After Car Drives Into Secure Area

Officials temporarily locked down the White House late Tuesday afternoon after a man followed a motorcade into a secure area of the heavily guarded complex, authorities said.

Around 4:40 p.m., the driver entered the restricted area, behind a motorcade that included President Barack Obama's two daughters, who go to school nearby, according to a source familiar with the incident.

Obama was inside the White House at the time, with his schedule indicating he was meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry.

The driver was stopped by uniformed officers at the outer perimeter of a checkpoint at 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue and taken into custody, according to a U.S. Secret Service spokesperson. The Secret Service later identified the 55-year-old man as Mathew Evan Goldstein, who was charged with unlawful entry.

The source familiar with the incident said the driver holds a pass for the U.S. Treasury building, which sits next to the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue.

MORE on CNN.com

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Filed under: White House • White House security
August 28th, 2013
06:25 AM ET

U.S., Russia Trade Barbs Over Syria

A U.S. response to Syria is imminent after clear word from the Obama Administration insisting the Assad regime is to blame for a deadly chemical weapons attack near Damsacus, which rebels say left some 1300 people dead.

Plans are apparently in the works for a U.S. response, but the White House says nothing has yet been decided.

CNN has learned the National Security Council met Tuesday night at the White House, to discuss Syria. The president did not take part.

Meanwhile, Russia is warning the U.S. against an attack.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin tweeted Tuesday: "The West handles the Islamic world the way a monkey handles a grenade."

“There's no love affair between Russian president Vladimir Putin and Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, but their countries have been in a tight embrace since Soviet times,” reports CNN’s Jill Dougherty.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem has said, “The Russian-Syrian relationship is a historical relationship that goes back decades back and is still continuing in the same momentum till this day.”

From military ties to those of blood and religion, the Russians and Syrians have a clear vested interest in one other.

“Syria has been buying its military weapons from Russia since Assad's father, Hafez al-Assad, ruled the country and Moscow is still fulfilling some of those Soviet-era contracts,” Dougherty reports.

Also, Russia's naval facility in Syria's port of Tartus is Moscow's only remaining Mediterranean repair spot for its ships.

According to Russian media, at least 25,000 Russian women are married to Syrian men.

And the largest Christian denomination in both Syria and Russia is the Orthodox Church. Moscow fears that if Islamist rebels win, they will be decimated.

“But the deepest reason the Kremlin sticks with Assad is Russia's anger over any unilateral military action or regime change by the West,” Dougherty explains.

“It started with NATO's 1999 air campaign against Russia's ally, Serbia.”

Matters worsened when the west launched airstrikes against Libya's Muammar Gadhafi, in 2011.

Andrew Kuchins of the Center for Strategic and International Studies says, “Mr. Putin basically came to the conclusion that never again, this will never happen again. That they will stick by Mr. Assad and Syria. Not because they particularly like Mr. Assad but because they see him as the legitimate president, or the legitimate leader of Syria.”

Dougherty says, “Russia now claims there's little difference between President Obama and President George W. Bush. And they predict that if Assad falls what comes after him could be even worse.”

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Filed under: Russia • Syria • White House • World
July 15th, 2013
06:23 AM ET

Former Pres. GHW Bush to be awarded at White House

He's been out of office for more than two decades, but one legacy of George H.W. Bush's time as leader of the free world will be honored today at the White House.

The former president made volunteer service a key part of his administration a program that continues to shine and will be recognized there.

Dan Lothian has more on that story.

“The year was 1989 and a new president laid out his vision for what he called a new activism, a call to a generation to give service to the nation,” Lothian reports.

“President Bush is the Honorary Chairman of the Point of Light Foundation, now the world's largest service organization coordinating volunteer projects.”

President Obama will honor the Bush legacy and present its Five-Thousandth Award.

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Filed under: Honor • President • White House
July 4th, 2013
08:51 AM ET

White House calls for democracy in Egypt – Athena Jones reports

The Obama Administration is closely watching the developments in Egypt.

The president released a statement urging the Egyptian people to be responsible for determining the country's future.

His statement read in part: “I now call on the Egyptian military to move quickly and responsibly to return full authority back to a democratically elected civilian government as soon as possible...”

CNN's Athena Jones is covering the implications of that live in Washington.

Morsy was Egypt's first democratically elected president, “and this administration has stressed the importance of the democratic process in Egypt,” she reports.

“What's notable here in the president’s statement is, he did not say the democratically elected government, but a democratically elected one, which doesn't mean Morsy's government.”

The president also refrained from calling the situation in Egypt a coup. Jones explains the legal reasons.

Follow along on CNN.com as the story develops.

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Filed under: Diplomacy • Egypt • White House • World
June 14th, 2013
06:04 AM ET

White House: Syria has used sarin gas on its own people – Barbara Starr has the latest

The White House is now saying it is clear that Syria used chemical weapons, including sarin nerve gas, on its own people, killing as many as 150 rebels.

The big question being asked now is how forcefully will the White House respond? Barbara Starr is following the developments.

"Pressure is growing on president Obama to act," Starr says. “The White House says it will boost military support to the rebels, but won't say exactly how.” Arming the rebels may be an option, Starr reports.

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Filed under: Civil War • President • Syria • White House
March 8th, 2013
07:07 AM ET

One week after forced spending cuts: What happened...and what didn't – John Berman reports

The United States is officially one week into the forced spending cuts today. These cuts are a result of the budget battle-ax that many predicted would lead to radical change, eventually. John Berman weighs what happened, and what didn't.

Seven days into the sequester, we have seen "no massive government budget implosion," Berman says. Although the apocalyptic message leaders seemed to send hasn't yet come to pass, changes could become apparent as soon as April. "With no congressional White House cooperation, cuts are coming. Big ones. And soon," Berman says.

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Filed under: Defense • Sequester • Spending • Spending cuts • Washington • White House
June 25th, 2012
07:53 AM ET

Congress, White House get a 'D' grade – Christine Romans on a CNNMoney.com survey of economists

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - When it comes to handling the economy, neither Obama nor Congress make the grade.

CNNMoney asked 20 economists to give the Obama administration and the current Congress a letter grade for their performance on the economy. And none of those surveyed gave either one an A.

While both received overall averages of D, Obama did a little better than Congress, scoring three B's and only one F.

This morning on "Early Start," Christine Romans explains why economists felt Congress and the White House should receive the bad grade.


Filed under: Congress • Economy • White House