The Secret Service has interrupted a White House press briefing following a bomb threat. Spokesman Josh Earnest reconvened the conference after getting the all-clear approximately 20 minutes later.
The White House press briefing room was emptied on Tuesday afternoon at the order of a security officer who interrupted the daily briefing to ask everyone to leave.
A Secret Service dog was brought in to sniff around. Reporters were taken to another building on the White House complex.
Several minutes after the initial reports, journalists were allowed to file back into the press briefing room in Washington, DC.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest reconvened the press conference about 20 minutes after the initial evacuation. He told reporters that he did not know where President Barack Obama was, but that he had been somewhere in the White House at the time.
Earnest also defended the decision to move reporters but not the Obamas, reiterating that the threat was made specifically about the James S. Brady Briefing Room. He said that only one room and the north lawn of the White House had to be evacuated, and that he had complete trust in the Secret Service, who had swept the space and given it the all-clear.
Such threats are not uncommon in the heart of Washington; earlier on Tuesday, authorities investigated reports of suspicious packages and a telephoned bomb threat at two US Senate buildings, but found nothing hazardous.
msh/mkg (AFP, dpa, Reuters)