WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Secret Service has begun the first phase of construction of a state-of-the-art “waterless security trench” along the nearly 3,500-foot perimeter of the White House complex, a spokesperson for the agency responsible for protecting the president announced on Tuesday.
The moat, which is costing U.S. taxpayers approximately $84 million, was designed to “provide the President and First Lady with an additional layer of security” and will serve as a buffer zone between the upgraded 13-foot iron security fence and pedestrian foot and vehicle traffic, Secret Service spokesperson Malcolm Wiley told The Washington Post.
While Mr. Wiley declined to elaborate on the moat’s “enhanced” security features, the spokesperson issued a stark warning to potential gate-crashers and hostile intruders such as protesters and other left-wing extremists: “Once you’re in, you’re in. There is no rescue. There is no getting out.”
However, a product description supplied by the moat’s designer, Greystone Resources, provided some insight into what the public can expect. “With a depth of seventeen feet and a twelve-foot-wide gap, [the] ultramodern high-security trench is lined with anti-climbing blast-resistant steel. Combined with an all-weather drainage and filtration system, the trench features a state-of-the-art self-cleaning mechanism capable of deploying a decoagulant spray (or other chemical agent) at a rate of 40 gallons per minute.”
In a separate press release posted to its website, the National Park Service, which is responsible for maintaining the area around the White House and is overseeing the construction project, said that while the moat is “designed to mitigate current and future security threats, the president has made clear that its primary function is to provide citizens and tourists alike with an unobstructed view of the picturesque White House facade.”