Man Claiming To Be Congressman Reportedly Gained Backstage Access At Obama Event

An unnamed man claiming to be a member of Congress made his way into a secure area backstage at an event President Barack Obama attended last week, an unidentified White House official told Bloomberg.

The impostor claimed he was Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-N.J.), according to the official. The man was asked to leave the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation awards dinner after another member of the White House staff recognized that he was not actually the congressman. The man left without incident and was not detained.

According to Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary, the man went through security clearance and was fully screened.

The White House official could not say how the man was able to get so close to the president and the first lady. LaVerne Alexander, Payne’s chief of staff, told Bloomberg Thursday that she had also not been informed of the incident.

This incident follows a series of presidential security breaches that have roiled the Secret Service. On Sept. 19, an armed intruder jumped over the White House fence and made his way through the front door before he was apprehended by an off-duty officer in the East Room. The Washington Post also reported that Obama rode an elevator with an armed ex-convict this summer.

Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigned last week after members of Congress raised serious concerns about her competence in providing security for the president and his family.



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