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White House lockdown over suspicious package

A security guard on patrol during the lockdown Credit: Reuters

The White House was partially locked on its north side down after an alert over a suspicious package, a Secret Service official has said.

Barack Obama was in the building at the time of the lockdown on Monday, triggered when an individual threw a metal object over the fence.

Secret Service Uniformed Division officers immediately apprehended the individual without incident. All protective sweeps of the metal object were met with negative results," spokesman Shawn Holtzclaw said in an emailed statement.

He confirmed that the lockdown was lifted after the checks and the White House has now returned to normal.

Local news radio station WTOP reported that one person was in custody, citing a federal law enforcement official.

The alert came during the Memorial Day holiday, remembering members of the armed forces who have died in the course of service.

Obama had visited Arlington Cemetery earlier in the day as part of the annual commemoration.

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Obama to keep 5,500 troops in Afghanistan after 2016

President Obama has reversed plans to bring home the vast majority of US troops in Afghanistan at the end of 2016, with more than half of the current deployment of 9,800 troops set to remain in the country, NBC News has reported.

Mr Obama had originally hoped to leave 1,000 troops to solely protect the American embassy in Kabul after declaring the war in Afghanistan to be over.

President Obama, who hosted Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani at the White House in March, has effectively abandoned his goal to bring home almost all US troops before leaving office. Credit: Reuters

But after several months of discussions, including with Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani, Mr Obama has accepted the military and political consensus is to keep a presence of 5,500 troops beyond next year to fight the twin threats from al Qaeda and Islamic State.

Senior White House officials told NBC News the short-lived loss of the city of Kunduz to militants was not the main factor in Mr Obama's decision - which will be officially announced later - but confirmed they were watching Kunduz closely.

The additional troops will be housed at bases in Bagram, Jalalabad, and Kandahar and continue to operate a "limited mission" of counter-terrorism alongside the training of Afghan forces at an additional cost of around $4.6 billion (£3 billion).

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Homeland security chief 'salutes' Pierson for service

Credit: Reuters

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has paid tribute to outgoing director of the US Secret Service Julia Pierson in a statement.

Today Julia Pierson, the director of the United States Secret Service, offered her resignation, and I accepted it.

I salute her 30 years of distinguished service to the Secret Service and the Nation.

– Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson

Experts to investigate White House security breach

An independent panel of experts will investigate a incident where an intruder managed to climb over a White House fence and enter the building last month, US Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said.

Mr Johnson also named Secret Service veteran Joseph Clancy as Acting Director of the agency following Ms Pierson resignation.

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