Secret Service Lock Down The White House In Security Alert

The Secret Service locked down the White House and a block of surrounding streets in downtown Washington for about an hour Wednesday in a security alert reportedly sparked by a dump truck.

The truck was being searched prior to entering the North Lawn of the White House where a long-term excavation and building project has been under way, reports AFP.

Like all vehicles, it is screened at a distant access point before being allowed anywhere near the White House itself.  

Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said that a dog used to search vehicles going into the White House complex had indicated a problem to handlers.

This then led to a search of the truck in accordance with routine security procedures.

Traffic congestion mounted around the White House due to road closures, and officials were barred from entering the Northwest gate leading to the West Wing, AFP reports.

All tourists and foot traffic was cleared from Lafayette Park.  The Secret Service even banned White House crews and correspondents from using their camera positions on the White House lawn.

The false alarm, a common and frequent occurrence at the White House, was lifted after around an hour.

Reporters have been allowed once more to move about and construction crews are back at work on the "Big Dig" on the North Lawn, reports ABC News.

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