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Alert at White House lifted

The Secret Service called off an alert an hour after a man tossed a suspicious package onto the compound's North Lawn while President Bush was away.

india Updated: Mar 22, 2006 23:18 IST

The Secret Service called off an alert at the White House an hour after a man tossed a suspicious package on Wednesday onto the compound's North Lawn, officials said.

The all-clear was sounded after authorities found "nothing of protective interest" in the package, said Secret Service spokesman Jim Mackin.

Mackin did not immediately know what was in the package. A man was taken into custody, and "this individual has a done a similar act in the past and he is in custody," an official said.

The package was noticed just after President George W Bush left in his helicopter from the South Lawn -- on the opposite side of the White House -- for a trip to the state of West Virginia. A remote-controlled device was used to probe the package near a fence.

"Normal security protocols are in place," Mazur said. The Secret Service secured the White House and raised its internal alert system by one level during the investigation, a Homeland Security official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the review was ongoing.

Reporters, cameramen and photographers were told to remain inside the briefing room while officers investigated.

First Published: Mar 22, 2006 22:19 IST