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posted by janrinok on Tuesday March 31 2015, @07:44AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the a-president's-home-is-his-castle dept.

The NYT reports that the Secret Service is recruiting some of its best athletes to serve as pretend fence jumpers at a rural training ground outside Washington in a program to develop a new fence around the White House that will keep intruders out without looking like a prison. Secret Service officials acknowledge that they cannot make the fence foolproof; that would require an aesthetically unacceptable and politically incorrect barrier. Prison or Soviet-style design is out, and so is anything that could hurt visitors, like sharp edges or protuberances. Instead, the goal is to deter climbers or at least delay them so that officers and attack dogs have a few more seconds to apprehend them. In addition, there might be alterations to the White House grounds but no moat, as recently suggested by Representative Steve Cohen of Tennessee. “When I hear moat, I think medieval times,” says William Callahan, assistant director for the office of protective operation at the Secret Service.

The Times also reports that the Secret Service wants to spend $8 million to build a detailed replica of the White House in Beltsville, Maryland to aid in training officers and agents to protect the real thing. “Right now, we train on a parking lot, basically,” says Joseph P. Clancy, the director of the Secret Service. “We put up a makeshift fence and walk off the distance between the fence at the White House and the actual house itself. We don’t have the bushes, we don’t have the fountains, we don’t get a realistic look at the White House.” The proposed replica would provide what Clancy describes as a “more realistic environment, conducive to scenario-based training exercises,” for instructing those who must protect the president’s home. It would mimic the facade of the White House residence, the East and West Wings, guard booths, and the surrounding grounds and roads. The request comes six months after an intruder scaled a wrought-iron fence around the White House and ran through an unlocked front door of the residence and into the East Room before officers tackled him.

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  • (Score: 4, Funny) by VortexCortex on Tuesday March 31 2015, @08:26AM

    by VortexCortex (4067) on Tuesday March 31 2015, @08:26AM (#164692)

    Simple. Straight bars that go up and then curve outwards into a wide semi circle -- wide enough that you can't reach out to grip it, tall enough that you can't grab onto them. You can even make them look like vines with an S curve and leafs at the end.

    However, nothing short of shark moats and laser turrets will help if ever they come under attack from Circ du Soleil.

    • (Score: 1) by MostCynical on Tuesday March 31 2015, @08:40AM

      by MostCynical (2589) on Tuesday March 31 2015, @08:40AM (#164694)
      --
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      • (Score: 2) by Kell on Tuesday March 31 2015, @11:29AM

        by Kell (292) on Tuesday March 31 2015, @11:29AM (#164737)

        +1 Terrifying Reality

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      • (Score: 2) by JNCF on Tuesday March 31 2015, @05:26PM

        by JNCF (4317) on Tuesday March 31 2015, @05:26PM (#164900) Journal

        Juggalos ruin everything.

    • (Score: 2) by davester666 on Tuesday March 31 2015, @09:16AM

      by davester666 (155) on Tuesday March 31 2015, @09:16AM (#164700)

      EVERYBODY knows you have to mount the lasers on the sharks for either to be particularly effective.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2015, @09:09AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2015, @09:09AM (#164698)

    every day, 8 hours a day for 10 years.

  • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday March 31 2015, @09:51AM

    by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 31 2015, @09:51AM (#164710) Journal

    Secret Service Plans ... Full Scale White House Replica

    Does it plan for a full scale president replica as well?

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    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2015, @10:36AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2015, @10:36AM (#164719)

      There's a long-standing tradition of using full-scale replicas instead of actual politicians. Some say, entire parties consist of nothing but them.

    • (Score: 2) by Geezer on Tuesday March 31 2015, @11:07AM

      by Geezer (511) on Tuesday March 31 2015, @11:07AM (#164729)

      One could make the argument that we've had mannequins for presidents since November of 1963.

    • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Tuesday March 31 2015, @12:05PM

      by Gaaark (41) on Tuesday March 31 2015, @12:05PM (#164750) Journal

      Yes! And he will see WMD on the White House lawn and they will do a full scale invasion of the area.

      --
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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2015, @11:45AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2015, @11:45AM (#164744)

    Real Presidents beat up their own attempted assassins. [wikipedia.org]

  • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Tuesday March 31 2015, @12:10PM

    by Gaaark (41) on Tuesday March 31 2015, @12:10PM (#164752) Journal

    Set up multiple barriers: 2 or 3 fences, nicely done with flowers and attack dogs and clowns maybe vegetables George Bush (just pick one) in between...

    If the officers can't subdue him after he climbs over all that, then you need to put some red shirts on them and send them on some 'away missions'.

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    • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Tuesday March 31 2015, @01:55PM

      by kaszz (4211) on Tuesday March 31 2015, @01:55PM (#164784) Journal

      Multiple barriers? I heard East Germany DDR has some extensive experience in this. Perhaps double concrete walls with raked areas in between, mines, watch towers, searchlights, patrol 4-wheelers with guns for that true feeling of the feature! ;)

  • (Score: 2) by JeanCroix on Tuesday March 31 2015, @02:26PM

    by JeanCroix (573) on Tuesday March 31 2015, @02:26PM (#164801)
    Seems to me that if all their new fence designs just give climbers more handholds, they should stick with more or less the traditional design and just keep it very well greased. Some sort of weep holes at the fence top which continually emit a weatherproof and environmentally friendly lubricant - vegetable oil, silicone, glycerine, etc. That should give them the additional climber slowdown they're looking for.
    • (Score: 2) by JeanCroix on Tuesday March 31 2015, @02:28PM

      by JeanCroix (573) on Tuesday March 31 2015, @02:28PM (#164803)
      ...and heck, if they add some good bright dye to the stuff, the secret service will know exactly who's been trying to get over their fence, too.
  • (Score: 2) by tibman on Tuesday March 31 2015, @02:33PM

    by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 31 2015, @02:33PM (#164808)

    Soviet wire is great at this kind of thing. It entangles and doesn't harm. American C-Wire (Concertina) would give it the prison look. I have no idea what the soviet version is called but i lived with some Polish who had it everywhere. It was like an interconnected grid 2 meters deep by 0.5 meter tall by however long you wanted. It certainly didn't look threatening. But it totally invalidates the US Military strategy of telling Pvt Jones to lay on the wire while his squad runs over his back. You can't just snip it in one spot and move it aside like C-Wire either.

    8 mil for a training prop! How about they go for 100k worth of plywood and 2x4s that are painted white. Training props are supposed to be shitty because you are knocking out windows, kicking down doors, and throwing flashbangs everywhere. If their training prop is centered around the fence and booths then that should be their focus. Leave the whitehouse as a white line painted on the ground. I'll bet they have internal mockups of the whitehouse somewhere anyways.

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    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by richtopia on Tuesday March 31 2015, @04:23PM

      by richtopia (3160) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 31 2015, @04:23PM (#164872) Homepage Journal

      I have no idea what Soviet wire is. Do you have any pictures?

      • (Score: 2) by tibman on Tuesday March 31 2015, @06:18PM

        by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 31 2015, @06:18PM (#164938)

        I looked and couldn't find a picture. It was basically a 3d mesh of wire. Approximately 5x5x5 cells per cubic meter. It wasn't barbed or had any dangerous edges. It just ensnared. It was nothing like C-Wire and i thought it was a warsaw counter to typical US Army wire breaching.

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    • (Score: 1) by anubi on Wednesday April 01 2015, @01:56AM

      by anubi (2828) on Wednesday April 01 2015, @01:56AM (#165202) Journal

      8 mil for a training prop!

      The luxuries of unlimited budget.

      Anytime they run low, they just have Congress "vote to extend the debt ceiling"

      If we could hold Congress to the same accountability as the rest of the nation is held to, this kinda largess would disappear.
       

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      • (Score: 2) by tibman on Wednesday April 01 2015, @01:19PM

        by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday April 01 2015, @01:19PM (#165372)

        It also doesn't even sound practical. At best you'd want a very bare concrete structure with plexiglass windows and cheap wooden doors. This way you can break(pop) windows out, smash down doors, throw flashbangs around, safely land vehicles on the roof, and repel from fixed points. You do not want it to be worth anything at all. Because you are going to jack it up every day and all day long. It sounds like the SS are focused on the exterior of the building too. Which means the prop could just be plywood painted white to present a silhouette.

        8 mil is stupid money for a prop.

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  • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Tuesday March 31 2015, @08:15PM

    by HiThere (866) on Tuesday March 31 2015, @08:15PM (#165024) Journal

    Why use a wall when you can use a trench that doesn't obstruct the scenery? You could even cover it with a light decorative cover that wouldn't support any weight. This takes much less maintenance than a moat. So on the outside you have a decorative fence, rather like the current one, and on the inside you have a disguised trench. Perhaps you could even replace all the grass with astroturf, or something similar that was a bit more esthetic, and which would blend in to the cover over the trench so it would not be easy to tell where it was. And lots of reduction in maintenance.

    (If you want to go really for security, have a light but tall inner fence on top of the trench, so that even if they know just where the trench is they can't avoid toppling into it unless they bring siege engines. (Here I'm not thinking of catapults, but of the portable devices they used to enable troops to cross trenches and moats.)

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