The Secret Service Has the Security Euphemism of the Day

Introducing the “pointed anti-climb feature.”

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A U.S. Secret Service K-9 team works along the second, temporary fence on the north side of the White House March 18, 2015 in Washington, DC.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Secret Service's latest effort to improve security at the White House is undergoing a bit of a rebranding.

Our colleague Derek Wallbank reports today for Bloomberg First Word, “Work has begun on preparing White House fence for eventual installation of what the Secret Service calls a 'pointed anti-climb feature'—sharp half-inch steel spikes at the top protruding outward—to deter fence jumpers.”

The work began after several security breaches in recent months, including an incident in September when a man jumped the fence and made it into the White House. The plan to add the, ahem, “pointed anti-climb feature”—a phrase apparently unknown to Google's search engine before today—has been winding its way through the bureaucracy for some time now. 

“A better fence can provide time, and time is crucial to the protective mission,” said an independent panel examining the Secret Service and White House security, as Bloomberg's Justin Sink reported last month. “Every additional second of response time provided by a fence that is more difficult to climb makes a material difference in ensuring the president’s safety and protecting the symbol that is the White House.”

Here's the Secret Service statement about Thursday's work:

On Thursday, May 28, 2015, beginning at 6 a.m. and lasting approximately eight hours, government contractors with support from the United States Secret Service (USSS) and National Park Service (NPS) will begin preparation efforts related to interim security enhancements to the White House Complex fence. This is not the actual installation of the pointed anti-climb feature, but rather involves verifying specifications prior to the manufacturing process. The work will be conducted along the sidewalk adjacent to the fence, resulting in temporary partial fence line closures.

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