Unattended package causes lockdown at the White House

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The White House in Washington, D.C. was put on lockdown Tuesday and the North Lawn was evacuated after the discovery of an unattended package, officials say. The all clear was given about an hour later.

The incident began at about 1:15 p.m. ET on Tuesday when reporters at the White House were told that the presidential complex had been put on lockdown. Reporters and construction workers were told to stay inside.

“All press cleared off White House North Lawn positions. Secret Service telling reporters & construction crews to go inside immediately,” NBC News journalist Peter Alexander said on Twitter, providing no further details.

A spokesman for the Secret Service confirmed that its agents were responding to an unattended package along the North Fence of the White House. As a result, Pennsylvania Avenue between 15th Street and 17th Street and the area of Lafayette Park were closed to pedestrian traffic.

Reporters noted that, although the compound was on lockdown, Secret Service agents were seen walking casually and there did not seem to be great urgency. President Donald Trump was not at the White House when it happened.

The all clear was given about an hour later, though details about what was inside the package were not immediately disclosed. “[Secret Service] and [D.C. police] have cleared the unattended package near the north fence line of the White House Complex,” the Secret Service said.

The White House has been the scene of a number of security alerts this year. Most notably, on March 10, a man climbed over a fence at the White House and was able to walk on the grounds for 16 minutes before being taken into custody. He was not able to enter the building itself.

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