White House press room evacuated during briefing due to bomb threat

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The White House press room was briefly evacuated on Tuesday after police received a telephoned bomb threat, interrupting the daily briefing, but no device was found.

Secret Service agents entered the room, a short distance from the Oval Office, and stopped the news conference.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that President Barack Obama, who was in the White House at the time, was not deemed to be in danger and was not moved.

Journalists, including an AFP reporter, were meanwhile escorted out as a sniffer dog was deployed to sweep the briefing room. Outside the executive mansion, the north lawn area was also evacuated.

A threat “was called in to the Metropolitan Police Department,” said Earnest. Police contacted the Secret Service who “determined, that for the safety of all of us, they needed to evacuate the room and to sweep it.” No device was found.

Earlier, part of a Senate office building on Capitol Hill had also been also evacuated due to a telephoned bomb threat. Police with dogs investigated a suspicious package but no threat was found and the all-clear was given.