Secret Service says laptop stolen from agent’s car in New York

FILE PHOTO: The Trump Tower logo is pictured in New York, U.S., May 23, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Secret Service said on Friday a laptop was stolen from an agent’s car in New York City but that such agency-issued computers contain multiple layers of security and are not permitted to contain classified information.

The agency said in a statement that it was withholding additional comment while an investigation continues.

ABC News, citing law enforcement sources, said the laptop contained floor plans for Trump Tower, details on the criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server and other national security information.

The New York Daily News, citing police sources, said authorities had been searching for the laptop since it was stolen on Thursday morning from the agent’s vehicle in the New York City borough of Brooklyn.

Some items stolen with the laptop, including coins and a black bag with the Secret Service insignia on it, were later recovered, the newspaper reported.

CBS News, also citing law enforcement sources, said that some of the documents on the computer included important files on Pope Francis.

The agent also told investigators that while nothing about the White House or foreign leaders is stored on the laptop, the information there could compromise national security, the Daily News reported.

“There’s data on there that’s highly sensitive,” a police source told the newspaper, adding: “They’re scrambling like mad.”

Separately CNN, citing an unnamed U.S. Secret Service source, reported on Friday that a California man who scaled the White House fence last week was on the property’s south grounds for at least 15 minutes before he was captured.

(Reporting by Eric Walsh; Editing by Tom Brown)

Suspect arrested after scaling White House fence, Secret Service says

FILE PHOTO: A restricted area sign is seen outside of the White House in Washington November 27, 2015. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

By Emily Stephenson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An intruder carrying a backpack was arrested after scaling a fence and entering the White House grounds, the U.S. Secret Service said on Saturday, in the latest breach of security at the president’s official residence.

President Donald Trump was inside the White House when a male suspect scaled the complex’s South Grounds fence at 11:38 p.m. on Friday, and uniformed officers arrested him, the Secret Service said in a statement.

Trump was not in any danger during the incident, CNN reported, citing an unnamed source.

A 2014 intrusion at the White House prompted the resignation of Secret Service director Julia Pierson and a series of recommendations to tighten security. In 2015, a row of sharp spikes was bolted to the top of the black iron fence surrounding the property.

In the latest incident, the suspect was apprehended near the south portico entrance, where presidents often address the public, CNN said. The entrance is near the part of the White House where the president resides.

Authorities did not immediately identify the suspect but Martin Mulholland, a spokesman for the Secret Service, said he had no arrest record or history with the agency, which is charged with protecting the president, his family and other elected officials.

The backpack carried by the intruder was screened and searched as a precaution, and no hazardous material was found, according the statement. The Secret Service searched the north and south grounds but nothing of concern turned up.

Neither the Secret Service nor the White House responded immediately to a request for further details.


The most serious of the recent security incidents at the White House occurred in September 2014, when an Army veteran carrying a knife climbed the fence and pushed his way inside the building before he was stopped.

Another man wearing an American flag jumped the fence in November 2015. In April 2016, an intruder threw a backpack over the outer fence and then scaled it before getting arrested.

The Secret Service and National Park Service have been working on a new fence design and other upgrades.

Joseph Clancy, her replacement, said in February that he planned to step down in March, allowing Trump to name his own security chief.

The service’s credibility was also damaged in 2012 when it was revealed that members had hired prostitutes while in Colombia in advance of a trip by then-President Barack Obama.

(Additional reporting by Joseph Ax in New York and Roberta Rampton in Washington; Writing by Frank McGurty; Editing by Franklin Paul)

A festival air and unease hang over pre-convention Cleveland

The Quicken Loans Arena is seen as setup continues in advance of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland

By Daniel Trotta

CLEVELAND (Reuters) – East 4th Street, emblematic of the new Cleveland as a once-downtrodden area turned trendy, is bristling ahead of the Republican National Convention.

Outdoor diners on the cobblestone restaurant row enjoy a glorious summer afternoon while cable network MSNBC shoots its politically themed shows on the street.

Just ahead of the four-day convention that starts on Monday, a festival of commerce and smiling faces takes place a few steps from the so-called hard zone, delineated by a literal iron curtain that surrounds the sports arena where Donald Trump will be crowned the Republican presidential candidate.

“Ten years ago, this place was a dump. A wasteland,” said John Lusk, 70, a semiretired publisher of a newsletter. “A group of young, hardworking entrepreneurs came in and look what they did.”

The sunny celebration butts uncomfortably against a massive security operation that shows the other side of Cleveland’s big moment. City and U.S. officials are preparing for the worst, aware that tensions over race relations and police use of force, as well as reaction to Trump’s polarizing campaign, could result in violence on the streets.

Clevelanders are also aware of the backdrop for their convention: the mass shooting in Orlando that killed 50 people in June, the sniper attack that killed five Dallas police this month, and the truck assault that killed 84 this week in Nice.

On this same idyllic block just over a year ago, police in riot gear clashed with demonstrators reacting to the acquittal of police officer charged with manslaughter for firing 15 rounds into the car of an unarmed black man and woman, killing them both. More than 70 people were arrested, disturbing the al fresco dining experience on East 4th Street.

Unrest also followed the fatal police shooting in 2014 of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, an African-American who had a toy gun, and the officer who shot him was not charged with a crime.

Cleveland, a city of 390,000, has been revitalized in part by billions of dollars in infrastructure spending in recent years, but the black majority still lags behind.

Black Lives Matter, the protest group formed after a series of police killings of African-Americans raised questions about justice in America, held a protest on Saturday in Public Square. It was entirely peaceful, with about 100 activists clapping to speeches.

In between the civic protest and festival atmosphere, there are pockets of emptiness. Street closing and security cordons seem to have scared off customers at the Arcade, a late 1800s shopping mall that has been modernized. The ornate interior, illuminated by a skylight, is full of boutiques like Prosperity, which sells handcrafted art glass jewelry. Business is slow on a Saturday afternoon.

“A lot of people are afraid to come downtown,” said Cat Zurchin, one of the artist/storeowners, from an empty shop. “Some of these stores opened up just for the convention. Retail people have been excited, but we also have some anxiety. The Secret Service is everywhere.”

Black SUVs have invaded the city center as the U.S. Secret Service has taken charge of security. Concrete median barriers and the tall, anti-scaling fence circumscribe the city into impenetrable sectors.

A column of police ride through the city center on bicycles, a dozen more on horseback. Helicopters clatter overhead.

Cleveland police are trying to stay restrained, avoiding the militarized presence that has become common thanks to free war surplus equipment from the Pentagon.

Even so, the city’s courts are preparing to process up to 1,000 arrestees per day, ready to stay open 20 hours a day.

Hospitals are bracing for the worst. The Cleveland Clinic, one of the largest hospitals in the country, will have 50 doctors, nurses and other medical personnel at the convention site and its entire staff on standby.

If needed the hospital can take over an adjoining hotel and conference center, enabling it to handle 1,000 general trauma cases. The hospital is prepared to operate without reinforcements for 96 hours.

“All boots on the ground,” said Dr. Robert Willie, chief of medical operations.

Likewise, the Secret Service says it can handle the spotlight.

“We are prepared,” said Ronald Rowe, the agent in charge of the convention, “and ready to welcome the world to Cleveland.”

(Reporting by Daniel Trotta and Kim Palmer)

Drone Aircraft Crashes On White House Lawn

A drone aircraft crashed onto the White House lawn overnight while the President was out of the country.

Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary told reporters the device was a quadcopter about two week in diameter.  The unmanned aircraft was flying at a low altitude before crashing on the southeast side of the executive mansion around 3:08 a.m. Monday.

“There is a device that has been recovered by the Secret Service at the White House,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said when asked if a drone was found. “The early indications are that it does not pose any sort of ongoing threat to anybody at the White House.”

While the President and First Lady were in India, the President’s children were inside the White House because they had to stay behind to attend school.

The White House was darkened and the grounds placed on lockdown for around two hours while the Secret Service conducted their investigation.  The Secret Service would not say if there were cameras on the device that were transmitting to a remote location.

The incident is the latest in a round of security breaches at the White House over the past year.  Former director Julia Pierson was forced to resign last year after a Texas man with a knife was able to get inside the White House.