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Key highlights of Secret Service director's testimony before Congress

A U.S. Secret Service K-9 sweeps the sidewalk around the White House facing Pennsylvania Avenue, in Washington, Sept. 23, 2014.

Takes full responsibility in breach

WASHINGTON (AP/WJLA) - Secret Service Director Julia Pierson told lawmakers she takes full responsibility for the serious breach of the White House mansion eight days ago. That's when an Army veteran with a knife climbed the fence and made his way well into the executive mansion before he was tackled.

Pierson also told a House panel there have been six fence-jumpers this year alone, including one just eight days before that intrusion.

Pierson is testifying before the House Oversight and government Reform Committee in her first public accounting of the episode.

The Army veteran, Omar J. Gonzalez, made it much further into the White House on Sept. 19 than the Secret Service previously disclosed.

Vows no repeat of breach

Pierson vows that a security breach like the Sept. 19 incident will never happen again.

Pierson told the House Oversight and Government Operations Committee on Tuesday that the breach was unacceptable.

Pierson said she will make sure such a thing "never happens again."

Use of force being reviewed

Pierson says the agency's security plan to protect the White House was not properly executed on Sept. 19.

Pierson says all decisions and actions made that day are being reviewed, including when it's appropriate for the Secret Service to use force.

Critics have questioned why Secret Service officers didn't shoot the intruder.
,br>White House front door now locks automatically

Pierson says the front door to the White House now locks automatically in a security breach.

Pierson told the House panel that the switch to automatic locks at the White House's north door was made after Gonzalez jumped the fence and made his way into the interior of the building through two unlocked doors.

Pierson testified that a Secret Service agent was attempting to lock one of the doors manually when the intruder knocked the agent down. Officials say Gonzalez then ran into the White House before he was tackled near the Green Room and was later discovered to be carrying a knife.

Secret Service allowed to shoot WH intruders

Pierson says officers and agents are allowed to use "lethal force" to stop someone from getting into the White House.

Pierson was not clear about whether the Secret Service is authorized to shoot people trying to jump over the White House fence. She says they can shoot if there is an imminent threat to them or others.

Pierson says her agency showed restraint when they did not shoot Gonzalez. But she also says the security plan wasn't executed properly that day.

Intruder was recognized from earlier encounter

The Secret Service director says at least two of her uniformed officers recognized a man just before he jumped the White House fence from an earlier troubling encounter with him. But she acknowledged that they never approached him that day or reported his presence to superiors.

Pierson said that two officers on Sept. 19 recognized Gonzalez, from their earlier interview with him, on Aug. 25. Gonzalez was stopped that day while carrying a small hatchet near the fence line south of the White House.

Pierson says weeks later, on Sept. 19, the same officers observed him "for some time" but never intervened. Then Gonzalez went over the White House fence and made his way inside the executive mansion.

Low confidence expressed in Secret Service

Massachusetts Democratic Congressman Stephen Lynch says he has very low confidence in Pierson's ability to protect the White House.

Lynch says he wishes Pierson would protect the White House the way she is protecting her reputation as she testifies on Capitol Hill.

Pierson has been director of the agency since March 2013.

White House intruder posed threat

Pierson acknowledged to Congress that the Army veteran who jumped the White House fence and made his way into the executive mansion was a threat.

Pierson said, "I think Mr. Gonzalez coming into the main floor mansion is a threat."

Pierson was responding to questions from members of the committee. The president was not at the White House at the time of the intrusion.

Pierson later said, "We all are outraged in the Secret Service about how this incident came to pass," and acknowledged that the agency had failed in its mission. "Mistakes were made," she said.

Internal investigation is ongoing

Pierson says she still hasn't concluded why officers and agents failed to follow security rules.

Pierson said she hopes to find out why during the course of her investigation. It was unclear what has been discovered so far.

Democratic Congressman Matt Cartwright from Pennsylvania said Secret Service surveillance teams didn't spot Gonzalez in enough time to provide a warning. He said the officer in the guard booth did not respond, and a dog trained to intercept intruders was not released. And no officer was standing at the White House front door.

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