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US Secret Service upgrades White House security after 'bomb threat'

US authorities say they have boosted security at the White House after a man drove up to one of the building's checkpoints and made threats. The Secret Service has faced criticism over recent breaches.

The US Secret Service said an unidentified driver was taken into custody after a suspicious vehicle approached a White House checkpoint overnight.

Broadcaster CNN reported the man claimed to be carrying a bomb in his car.

Citing two law enforcement sources, CNN said there was no confirmation of an explosive device in the vehicle, but that security at the White House had been upgraded. Reuters news agency reported that several streets around the White House grounds were closed down after the incident.

Just hours earlier, the Secret Service announced that another man had been caught jumping over a bike rack in an apparent attempt to reach the fence outside the White House. In a statement, the agency said the individual was detained immediately and criminal charges were pending. He was not found to be carrying any weapons, according to an official.

President Donald Trump was away in Florida at the time of both incidents.

There have been a number of security breaches at the White House in recent years. Earlier this month a man scaled three barriers and walked around the grounds of the executive mansion for 16 minutes before he was arrested. That time Trump was inside the building. In 2014, when Barack Obama was president, an army veteran described as mentally disturbed made it into the White House grounds and entered the building with a knife in his pocket before being tackled and arrested.

nm/rc (Reuters, AFP)