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A Moat, Electric Fence, and Other Ideas for Protecting the White House

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Ever since a 40-year-old U.S. Army veteran with bad knees was able to jump the White House fence last September, the Secret Service has been brainstorming ways to beef up security without creating visually unappealing or ridiculously unrealistic improvements. Internal documents obtained by News 4 show that ideas considered have included an electrified fence ("potentially harmful to animals"), a solid wall ("reduces public's view"), and the best possible solution ever: a moat. The idea has since been rejected because of "routine maintenance concerns," it wouldn't look visually cohesive with the surrounding architecture, and it would be difficult to retrieve an intruder.

One proposed idea that is being seriously considered is the temporary installation of sharp fence clip-ons, called "pencil points," that would be placed on the north and south sides of the White House grounds. According to NBC4, the fence spikes would remain for a year until a permanent replacement fence is completed. Other ideas that may be more realistic than a moat include raising the fence to 10-feet-high, adding a second fence inside the current one, and upgrading guard booths and security elements in the three main vehicular entrance points to the White House grounds. According to the Washington Business Journal, E Street may permanently close to install "more aesthetically pleasing security elements." A new guard booth is also considered on Constitution Avenue as well as wedge barriers meant to replace temporary vehicle barriers. E Street's existing booths will be refurbished.

The National Park Service have proposed the enhancements to the White House perimeter on behalf of the Secret Service, and will be reviewed in May by the National Capital Planning Commission, according to the Washington Business Journal. Construction on the approved changes to the White House security is expected to begin 2016.
· How the White House is upgrading perimeter security [Washington Business Journal]
· Changes to White House Fence Proposed [NBC4]

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, , DC 20500