Indonesian president gets rock star welcome at inauguration


Indonesian president gets rock star welcome at inauguration - Joko Widodo, Indonesia's first president from outside the political and military elite, got a rock-star welcome from a cheering crowd at a celebration marking his inauguration Monday but takes power facing challenges to enact an ambitious reform agenda.

As night fell, Widodo, sworn in as leader of the world's third-biggest democracy earlier in the day, ran on stage in front of about 50,000 supporters at a park in central Jakarta, grinning broadly and raising his hands in the air.  

Joko Widodo is sworn-in as Indonesian president during the inaugural ceremony at the House of Representative in Jakarta, on October 20, 2014 (AFP Photo/Romeo Gacad)                         
"We must realise that Indonesia is a great nation but it has to be run well, it has to be run for the prosperity of the people," said the leader, known by his nickname Jokowi and famed for his man of the people image.

"I invite everyone in society to unite and work together to achieve what we have dreamt of -- creating a strong, prosperous and dignified Indonesia."

The inauguration capped a remarkable rise from an upbringing in a riverside slum for the 53-year-old former furniture exporter, who won the presidency in July after a close race against controversial ex-general Prabowo Subianto. 

The former Jakarta governor is the country's first leader since the end of Suharto's three decades of dictatorship in 1998 to have no major links to that era.
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Indonesian President Joko Widodo (centre) rides on a horse-drawn carriage as they greet the crowd as their motorcade makes its way towards the presidential palace in Jakarta, on October 20, 2014 (AFP Photo/Romeo Gacad)

Hopes are high for a new style of leadership in Indonesia, but there are also fears an opposition-dominated parliament could make it hard for Widodo to enact reforms to revive the G20 economy and help society's poorest.

Monday was marked by festivities, with Widodo riding through Jakarta in a horse-drawn carriage after being sworn in at a ceremony attended by dignitaries including US Secretary of State John Kerry and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

In his inauguration speech, he appealed for unity after the country's most bitterly fought election and sought to reach out to his foes.

He referred to Prabowo as "my best friend" and the ex-general responded by standing up and giving a salute, the latest sign of a thaw between the pair that could help smooth the path of Widodo's reforms.

- Short-lived euphoria -


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US Secretary of State John Kerry (right) attends the inaugural ceremony of new Indonesian President Joko Widodo in Jakarta, on October 20, 2014 (AFP Photo/Bay Ismoyo)
After Widodo's appearance on stage in Jakarta, he headed to the presidential palace to meet several world leaders, while the huge crowd at the park watched a rock concert. 

Despite an initial plan for Widodo to join bands on stage, he had not returned by late Monday and appeared to have abandoned the plan after a gruelling day.

About 24,000 police and troops were deployed to secure the day's events but there was no sign of trouble and the atmosphere was festive. 

The euphoria of the inauguration is likely to be short-lived, however, as Widodo faces up to the task of leading the world's fourth most populous country, with 250 million people spread over more than 17,000 islands, at a critical moment.

The growth rate in Southeast Asia's top economy is at a five-year low, corruption remains rampant and fears are mounting that support for the Islamic State group could spawn a new generation of radicals in the world's most populous Muslim-majority country.

Kerry's attendance was in part aimed at seeking support from Indonesia and other Southeast Asian nations in the fight against the extremists, who have taken over vast swathes of Iraq and Syria. 

Widodo's first test will be to reduce the huge fuel subsidies that eat up about a fifth of the nation's budget, a move which economists say is urgently needed but which risks sparking street protests. 

Prospects for his ambitious reforms dimmed in recent weeks after Prabowo's supporters in parliament used their majority to abolish the direct election of local leaders, a move opposed by Widodo, and to win key posts in the legislature. 

Prabowo's appearance at the inauguration, and an unexpected meeting with Widodo Friday during which he pledged support, have raised hopes that tensions are easing. But observers say the ex-general may still oppose the new leader's policies.

Widodo is expected to announce his new cabinet later in the week.

This article originally appeared in : Indonesian president gets rock star welcome at inauguration | AFP | By Sam Reeves October 20, 2014 12:58 PM

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Joko Widodo sworn in as Indonesia's new president


Joko Widodo sworn in as Indonesia's new president — Joko Widodo completed a journey from riverside shack to presidential palace on Monday, cheered through the streets following his inauguration by tens of thousands of ordinary Indonesians in a reminder to the opposition-controlled parliament of the strong grass-roots support that swept him to power.

The 53-year-old must make tough decisions, and soon, to stand a chance of boosting economic growth in Indonesia, a sprawling nation of 250 million people. Supporters have already expressed concerns any reforms he tries to enact could be blocked by a hostile opposition led by the Suharto-era general he defeated in July's election.

But those thoughts were put aside momentarily Monday when Widodo and his deputy traveled from the parliament building to the presidential palace in an organized public party, the first in the country's history following an inauguration. After a few kilometers (miles), he left his car and took a horse and cart, flashing victory signs and shaking countless hands.

"To the fishermen, the workers, the farmers, the merchants, the meatball soup sellers, the hawkers, the drivers, the academics, the laborers, the soldiers, the police, the entrepreneurs and the professionals, I say let us all work hard, together, shoulder to shoulder, because this is a historic moment," Widodo said in his inauguration speech, witnessed by regional leaders and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Widodo, better known by his nickname of Jokowi, was elected with 53 percent of the vote, with most of his support coming from poor, non-urban Indonesians attracted by his simple demeanor and record of hard work as Jakarta governor.

The son of a furniture maker, he grew up in a rented bamboo shack on the banks of the river Kalianyar in Solo, a town on Java Island.

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Indonesia's newly inaugurated President Joko Widodo, centre right, welcomes US Secretary of State John Kerry to the Presidential Palace, in Jakarta, Indonesia, Monday, Oct. 20, 2014. Widodo completed a journey from riverside shack to presidential palace on Monday, cheered through the streets following his inauguration by tens of thousands of ordinary Indonesians in a reminder to the opposition-controlled parliament of the strong grass-roots support that swept him to power. (AP Photo/Brian Snyder, Pool)

He is the first Indonesian leader not to come from the country's super rich, and often corrupt, political, business and military elite.

"I was moved by Jokowi's inauguration speech this morning, it was so beautiful," said Rukasih Wanti, standing under a blue umbrella with her two kids waiting for the president. "He deserves to get the people's respect and a celebration the likes of which has never happened in the past."

Police estimated that 50,000 people attended the street party, which brought traffic to a standstill. Around twice that many attended an evening concert where Widodo made a speech and cut the top of a traditional cone of rice before returning to the palace for meetings with visiting leaders.

Indonesia is the biggest economy in Southeast Asia, and about 90 percent of its people are Muslims. After years of dictatorship, the country was convulsed by political, ethnic and religious unrest in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Since then, it has consolidated its democratic transition. While most of the country remains poor and inequality is rising, it is home to a rapidly expanding middle class.

Outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's two terms in office saw democratic consolidation and a focused fight against Islamist militancy. But economic growth on the back of a commodities boom has slowed, and a recovery is being hampered by weak infrastructure, rampant corruption and red tape.

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Indonesia's President Joko Widodo, right, meets U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the presidential palace in Jakarta, Indonesia, Monday, Oct. 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)

Widodo is targeting 7 percent growth in the coming years. To get close to that, he will need bold reforms to attract foreign investment, as well as favorable external conditions. A looming problem is expected hikes next year in what are record-low U.S. interest rates, which could suck funds from the country, pressurizing the rupiah and spooking the markets.

Economists say Widodo must soon decide how much to cut subsidies on fuel that unless trimmed will cost the government a budget-busting $30 billion-plus this year. The move will likely stoke protests from political opponents and could trigger street demonstrations.

He also can expect resistance from opposition parties still smarting from the election defeat of their candidate, Prabowo Subianto. The coalition against Widodo already has captured most of the important positions in parliament and last month voted to end direct regional elections, a key plank of the country's democratic transition since Suharto was ousted in 1998.

Subianto attended Monday's inauguration ceremony and met with Widodo last week to offer qualified support for his administration.

Much uncertainty remains over how effective Widodo will be in negotiating with the opposition, and how much of a disruptive role it will play. Subianto's initial refusal to accept the election results and the comments of some of his supporters led to speculation among analysts that he would seek to topple Widodo midterm.

In his inauguration speech, Widodo pledged to maintain the country's "free and active" foreign policy, a stance that has seen it slowly taking up more of a leadership role in Southeast Asia. Working to stop the flow of foreign fighters to Iraq and Syria, managing relations with China and keeping often testy ties with Australia on an even keel will be key tasks.

"I'm very encouraged by everything that President Jokowi has said up until now. He's obviously a charismatic and inspirational figure," said Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who flew to Jakarta for the ceremony. "I think there's a wave of confidence and renewal sweeping Indonesia right now."

This article originally appeared in : Joko Widodo sworn in as Indonesia's new president | Associated Press | By NINIEK KARMINI and ALI KOTARUMALOS October 20, 2014 11:53 AM

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The stunning rise of Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, who took office Monday for a five-year term as Indonesia's new president


Indonesia's new president is the world's most unlikely political story - The stunning rise of Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, who took office Monday for a five-year term as Indonesia's new president.

Joko "Jokowi" Widodo was sworn in as Indonesia's president today, capping an improbable journey to the top for a diminutive outsider. And it ranks as one of the most optimistic pieces of global news in recent years, at least for those who've been paying attention.

The sprawling archipelago that is Indonesia – the distance from its northwestern tip on Sumatra to its southeastern reach on New Guinea is equivalent to the distance from London to Baghdad – is usually an odd afterthought in US news coverage. Though it is among the world's biggest producers of pulp and paper, palm oil, coal, and a host of other commodities; has a population of over 250 million people (mostly Muslims); and has made one of the world's most impressive transitions to democracy in the past decade, unless Islamist militants are blowing up things there, it rarely makes the news.

But the bare-knuckle fight for leadership of Indonesia provided a stark choice for voters. On one hand, Jokowi, an entrepreneur with a common touch who rose in politics as mayor of his hometown on Java, the most populous island, and later the capital, Jakarta by promising – and delivering – better services and cleaner governance. On the other, Prabowo Subianto, a retired general who hailed from one of Java's elite families, had participated in some of the most notorious human rights abuses under former dictator General Suharto, a US-backed anti-communist, and had crafted his presidential campaign around hyper-nationalistic promises of restoring Indonesian national "greatness." 

A year ago in the spring I returned to Indonesia after a decade and dug into the background of this political upstart in his hometown of Solo (Surakarta), even then being tipped as the next president. I met with local businessmen, government employees who'd worked under Jokowi, and residents of some of the same riverside slums he grew up in. And the story was always the same: Most honest politician ever met, give you the shirt off his back, incorruptible etc. I joked at a time it had an air of "The Manchurian Candidate" about it (in the movie people are brainwashed to say that a candidate for high office was "the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever met in my life.")

But in Solo, the feeling was real. A group of street level peddlers told of how the government wanted to evict them from the streets. They braced for the inevitable attack from the combination of street thugs and police that have traditionally been used in land disputes across the country. Instead, then mayor Jokowi spent weeks holding meetings with the peddlers, listened to their problems, and acquired a plot of land for them to conduct business on that satisfied everyone. Practical, and simple? Yes. But exceedingly rare in the politics of Indonesia and many other places.

Jokowi's lack of haughtiness, in a political culture that's traditionally favored an air of detachment and nobility, also worked in his favor. While Prabowo staged campaign rallies where he imperiously reviewed paramilitary supporters from horseback Jokowi was happy to press the flesh with supporters on the streets in a t-shirt or compete in sack races. The contrast wasn't subtle:

And this really is a case where a picture tells a thousand worlds. Prabowo was groomed from an early age to lead the country, and for a number of years in the 1990s seen in some quarters as a presumed successor of Suharto, his father-in-law (the marriage has since ended.) Moreover, he had the wealth of his tycoon brother Hashim Djojohadikusumo behind him, and had loyally served Soeharto's "New Order," the regime that came to power after a coup and bloody purge of alleged communists in 1965-66. The bloodshed left some 500,000 people dead and cast a pall of fear over Indonesian politics for more than a generation. 

The campaign Prabowo ran against this upstart was also a dirty one. It included the spread of rumors that Jokowi was secretly a Singaporean Chinese and a Christian (just as opponents tried to smear Barack Obama, to whom Jokowi is often compared to Indonesia, as a secret Muslim and a Kenyan during his campaign.) After his loss was ratified, Prabowo briefly challenged the defeat, claiming that the presidential election was more corrupt than a North Korean one.

Jokowi overcame all of this to become the country's first leader from outside the establishment since independence in 1945 – and he could be someone who consolidates the democratic gains Indonesia has made since Suharto was ousted by mass protests in 1998, during which Prabowo allegedly arranged for the torture and disappearances of democracy activists.

The post-Suharto transition was hugely challenging; a collapsed police state yielded to chaos. In parts of the country, religious and separatist wars flared. Jihadis, who'd been mostly kept bottled up under a dictatorship, reemerged to carry out terrorist attacks like a notorious massacre in Bali in 2002. The immediate leaders after Suharto were weak and ineffectual, particularly the aloof Megawati Sukarnoputri, daughter of Indonesia's first president, and Abdurrahman Wahid, a mystic and cleric who led the country's largest Muslim movement.

In 2004, another retired general came to power, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. While not without his flaws, he presided over a successful crackdown on terrorism, an end to the worst of the country's ethnic and religious conflicts, and a return to economic growth that has pulled millions of Indonesians out of deep poverty. SBY, as he's called, was term-limited out, and this year's presidential election turned on a simple question: Are you nostalgic for Indonesia's past, or are you interested in continuing to chart a new direction?

Hope won out over fear.

Does this mean Indonesia is on easy street? Far from it. The country is coming up on the limits of commodity-led growth, and has yet to make necessary and substantial investments in education, infrastructure and health care that could sustain its economic boom. The most corrupt forces in politics still hold major positions in parliament, and Prabowo engineered a bit of a poison pill for Jokowi before his inauguration. In September, Prabowo's coalition in parliament rushed through legislation ending direct elections for Indonesia's mayors, district chiefs, and governors. It was the biggest formal setback for democracy in a decade – and a change, had it happened five years ago, that almost certainly would have headed off Jokowi's political career. 

But for now, there's an unalloyed good news story coming out of Southeast Asia, and one that bears watching.

This article originally appeared in : Indonesia's new president is the world's most unlikely political story | csmonitor.com | By Dan Murphy October 20, 2014 3:08 PM

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Rare comet fly-by of Mars on Sunday


Rare comet fly-by of Mars on Sunday - A fast-moving comet is about to fly by Mars for a one-in-a-million-year encounter with the Red Planet, photographed and documented by a flurry of spacecraft, NASA said.

The comet, known as Siding Spring (C/2013 A1), has a core about a mile (1.6 kilometers) wide in diameter, but is only as solid as a pile of talcum powder.

Siding Spring is set to hurtle past Mars at a close distance of about 88,000 miles (139,500 kilometers).

An artist's impression of Comet Siding Spring and Mars, which will come within 87,000 miles of each other on October 19 (AFP Photo/)

If the comet were passing by our planet, that would be about a third of the way between the Earth and the Moon.

Siding Spring will come closest to Mars at 2:27 pm (1827 GMT) on Sunday, October 19, NASA said.

Flying through space at a breakneck speed of 122,400 miles per hour (202,000 km per hour), the small comet faces little risk of colliding with the Red Planet.

But scientists are keen to study its trajectory and trail.

"Are we going to see meteors in the Mars atmosphere? Comets are very unpredictable," said Jim Green, director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA headquarters in Washington.

"I think it is unlikely that it will be destroyed," Green told reporters. "But whether it retains its structure or not is of interest."

NASA has maneuvered its Mars orbiters to the far side of the planet so they won't be damaged by the comet's high-speed debris.

Even as the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mars Odyssey and MAVEN have been repositioned to avoid hazardous dust, scientists hope they will be able to capture a trove of data about the flyby for Earthlings to study.

NASA's two rovers -- Curiosity and Opportunity -- will turn their cameras skyward and send back pictures of the comet's pass in the coming days, weeks and months, the US space agency said.

- Billions of years old -

The comet was discovered by Robert McNaught at Australia's Siding Spring Observatory in January 2013.

It is believed to have originated billions of years ago in the Oort Cloud, a distant region of space that is a source of comets that are "largely unchanged since the early days of the solar system," NASA said.

Carey Lisse, senior astrophysicist at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, said scientists are intrigued by comets for many reasons.

"It is amazing that they are still around after four and a half billion years, but most of the reason for that is they have been living very, very far from the Sun and are in a deep freeze," he said.

This particular comet is about the size of a small mountain, but is probably the consistency of powder, or a meringue that would melt in your mouth, he explained.

"It should have more of the really volatile ices -- methane, carbon monoxide -- things that boil off very easily. It has never been heat treated very strongly before."

Scientists say they are curious to learn if the comet may have already broken up some on its approach to Mars.

"There is a possibility that Mars may drive some more activity, that is why we are looking," Lisse said.

The comet has traveled more than one million years to make its first pass by Mars, and will not return for another million years, after it completes its next long loop around the Sun.
 
This article originally appeared in : Rare comet fly-by of Mars on Sunday | AFP | By Kerry Sheridan October 15, 2014 10:07 PM

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Angelina Jolie's Meet-the-Queen Outfit Was Spot On


Angelina Jolie's Meet-the-Queen Outfit Was Spot On - Angelina and the entire Jolie-Pitt clan ventured over to Buckingham Palace as the actress was being honored by Queen Elizabeth II. Angelina received her Honorary Dame Grand Cross award in the Palace's 1844 room, while wearing the most appropriate lilac jacket and skirt, worn with a classy up-do. It matches the Queen's outfit in length and general pastel-ness almost perfectly. She receives this award for her work combatting sexual violence in devastated regions, and plans on continuing her efforts:

Caption: U.S actress Angelina Jolie, right, is presented with the Insignia of an Honorary Dame Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, London, Friday, Oct. 10, 2014. Jolie received an honorary damehood (DCMG) for services to UK foreign policy and the campaign to end war zone sexual violence. (AP Photo/Anthony Devlin)

To receive an honor related to foreign policy means a great deal to me, as it is what I wish to dedicate my working life to. Working on PVSI and with survivors of rape is an honor in itself. I know that succeeding in our goals will take a lifetime, and I am dedicated to it for all of mine.

If this means Angelina Jolie and Kate Middleton are going to meet up to chat about raising babies soon, the internet might actually break.

Bask in Angelina's grace as she plants her hand on her chest at the sight of the award.



This article originally appeared in : Angelina Jolie's Meet-the-Queen Outfit Was Spot On | racked.com | October 10, 2014

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Sunken 'Ship of Gold' Contains Bounty of Jewelry, Other Treasures



Sunken 'Ship of Gold' Contains Bounty of Jewelry, Other Treasures - A trove of gold coins, bracelets, buckles and broaches are among the precious treasures retrieved from a 157-year-old shipwreck off the coast of South Carolina.

The "Ship of Gold," known in its sailing days as the SS Central America, was loaded down with 30,000 lbs. (13,600 kilograms) of gold when a hurricane sent it to the watery depths 160 miles (260 kilometers) from the coast of South Carolina on Sept. 12, 1857. In 1988, the shipwreck site was discovered, and recovery efforts pulled large amounts of gold from the bottom. But only about 5 percent of the site was excavated.

In April 2014, gold bars were recovered from a reconnaissance dive to the SS Central America shipwreck.

Now, deep-sea exploration company Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc., is re-excavating the site. Divers first pulled up five gold bars and two gold coins from the wreck in April 2014. Now, the recovery ship, the Odyssey Explorer, is benched for repairs, and archaeologists are quite literally counting the booty. 

Odyssey divers and archaeologists have now recovered more than 15,500 gold and silver coins and 45 gold bars from the wreck site, according to the company. They've also found gold jewelry, gold nuggets and snippets of 19th-century life, from glass containers to chewing tobacco still in its package.

Down with the ship

The SS Central America was a wooden-hulled, copper-plated steamship that traveled between New York and San Francisco during the heady days of the California Gold Rush. At the time the ship sank, it was carrying numerous gold ingots and freshly minted Double Eagle coins, which were worth $20 apiece at the time. So much gold was lost that public confidence in the banks — already overstretched at the time — was shattered, causing bank failures and a financial panic (The Panic of 1857) that resulted in a three-year economic depression.

Some of the 571 passengers and crew on board the SS Central America managed to evacuate to other ships during the storm, but 425 died.

Odyssey has conducted a new high-resolution video survey of the wreck site, and is currently evaluating the data from the survey while the company's recovery ship, the Odyssey Explorer, is being repaired. The company gets 80 percent of the proceeds from the recovery of the "Ship of Gold's" treasure, pending the payment of a negotiated day rate and fee by Recovery Limited Partnership, the business financing the recovery. After these fees are set, Odyssey will receive 45 percent of the proceeds from the recovered treasure.

Sunken treasure

Among the artifacts retrieved from the shipwreck are glass stemware and perfume bottles, as well as a gold locket, a gold ring and a gilded bracelet, according to documents registering the finds with the court system.

Many of the finds harken back to the lives lost on the ship. Clay pipes, tobacco and even old photographic plates have been found resting in the debris field of the wreck. So have bits of jewelry, including earring hooks, badge pins, buckles and a set of gold-and-quartz cufflinks. In early August, divers found pieces of an old music box. Even the pits from long-rotted fruit have been recovered from the wreck.

Odyssey plans to resume excavations at the site within the next year.

This article originally appeared in : Sunken 'Ship of Gold' Contains Bounty of Jewelry, Other Treasures |  Live Science | By Stephanie Pappas | September 19, 2014 11:45 AM

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Why the Secret Service didn’t shoot the White House fence-jumper



Why the Secret Service didn’t shoot the White House fence-jumper - The small army of Secret Service agents guarding the White House carry a wide range of weapons and get training on how to repel sophisticated armed assaults – so why did no one shoot the intruder who jumped the fence on Friday and got all the way to the mansion’s doors?


Officials inside the storied agency describe astonishment and embarrassment that no one tackled the suspect — identified as Omar J. Gonzalez, 42, of Copperas Cove, Texas — before he reached the grand columned entrance that looks out at Pennsylvania avenue. But they also defend the decision to hold their fire.

“This wasn’t a military-style assault. He had no bag, no backpack, no visible weapons. And from the early reports from the officers he seemed to be mentally disturbed,” one insider told Yahoo News.

President Obama and his family had just departed the White House for the Camp David retreat just outside Washington in Maryland’s Catoctin Mountains.

“That was probably a part of it – a small part,” said the insider, who requested anonymity to describe the agency’s inner workings candidly.

A more important consideration may have been the presence of tourists at the mansion’s north fence line, where Gonzales entered the compound. Uniformed agents worked to clear the area quickly, but officers responding to the incident likely pondered the potential of a stray shot or a through-and-through in which a bullet could pass through the target and hit a bystander.

Uniformed Secret Service officers walk along the lawn on the North side of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. The Secret Service is coming under intense scrutiny after a man who hopped the White House fence made it all the way through the front door before being apprehended.  (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Uniformed Secret Service officers walk along the lawn on the North side of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. The Secret Service is coming under intense scrutiny after a man who hopped the White House fence made it all the way through the front door before being apprehended. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

“You’re accountable for every round. You need to think about not just the target but what’s behind the target,” the insider said.

Friday’s incident was different from an October stand-off in which Secret Service and Capitol Police fatally shot a Connecticut woman, Miriam Carey, after a high-speed chase from the White House to the Capitol. She was hit with five shots in the neck and torso after she started to drive her car towards a Capitol Police officer, potentially endangering them.

The Secret Service is, however, looking into why officers did not release a specially trained dog. The canine can be seen in photographs of Secret Service agents taking down a man who jumped the White House fence on Sept. 11, 2014.

“We have to show restraint. You have to have the proper restraint. Is it too much restraint not to release that dog?” the insider said.

Every officer involved in Friday’s incident will be questioned about what happened and about the decisions they took, according to Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan.

“Ultimately, we’re not satisfied where he was arrested,” Donovan said.

Ultimately, authorities have to balance security concerns with the public’s interest in getting close to the White House. They reluctantly closed the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the mansion after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing of a federal building.

“I know how to stop fence-jumpers,” the insider said. “We close Pennsylvania Avenue to pedestrians completely and we put barbed wire on top of the fence.”

“But that’s not reasonable,” the source added. “We want Americans to be able to come up to that fence line and take pictures and have fun and enjoy it.”

This article originally appeared in : Why the Secret Service didn’t shoot the White House fence-jumperYahoo News | By Olivier Knox | September 20, 2014 12:09 PM

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