It took the US Secret Service five days before realizing a man had shot at the White House in 2011 while one of President Barack Obama’s daughters were inside, The Washington Post reported Sunday.
The report comes amid renewed scrutiny on the agency tasked with protecting the president after a series of recent security lapses, including one that saw an intruder armed with a knife jump over the fence and burst into the president’s residence.
Although Obama and his wife were out of town the night of the November 11, 2011 shooting, their younger daughter Sasha was inside with her grandmother Marian Robinson, the Post revealed, while older daughter Malia was expected to return at any moment from an evening out with friends.
At least seven bullets struck the upstairs residence of the White House, fired from a car parked some 700 yards (meters) away across the South Lawn.
And while Secret Service officers initially rushed to respond, they received a surprise order from a supervisor saying “no shots have been fired… Stand down.”
He said the noise was the backfire from a nearby construction vehicle, the Post in uncovering previously unreported security failures.
The newspaper said Obama and his wife were infuriated by the response, and only learned of the incident days later.
The Secret Service later confirmed a shooting had taken place, but first said erroneously that no shots were aimed at the White House.
Only after a housekeeper noticed broken glass and a chunk of cement on the floor did the agency realize that shots had in fact hit the presidential residence, the Post said.
They were fired by Oscar Ortega-Hernandez, who was subsequently found guilty of attempting to assassinate the president and given a 25-year prison sentence.
Ortega-Hernandez was identified because he crashed his car, and left his gun inside, just blocks from the White House.