It is a huge hole in one of the world’s most famous gardens – but nobody knows what it is for.
Workmen have torn up an enormous section of the lawn in front of the White House for a mysterious, top secret project.
The hole by the West Wing is roughly 100ft by 100ft in size and has for the first time in living memory left the ground and pipes beneath the Oval office exposed to the elements.
Official explanations have ranged from an update of the air conditioning system to something ‘security’ related.
But that has not stopped speculation that the President is installing something else entirely – from a swimming pool to a spa.
Others have guessed it could be an expansion of the presidential bunker, which was originally built in the time of Franklin D Roosevelt.
What is known is that every day for the past 17 months workmen have come and gone with nobody revealing what the project it.
The funds were allocated after 9/11 and apparently it will eventually link up with the Presidential Operations Centre.
That room was featured in former vice President Dick Cheney’s memoir as the place he took shelter after the September 11 attacks whilst former President George W Bush was on Air Force One.
A White House official quote by by the New York Times could only say that the general idea was an expansion of the emergency base of operations.
‘It is security-related construction. Even we don’t know exactly what,’ he said.
Built between 1792 and 1800, the White House has seen a string of amendments and additions to its main building and the grounds over the years.
During World War II a bomb shelter was constructed under the East Wing, although this was later converted into an operations room.
In 1969 President Richard Nixon added an underground bowling alley whilst the sub basement was later put in, along with an incinerator, laundry and changing rooms for White House performers.
First Lady Michelle Obama has also made a feature out of the White House garden and has often spoken of how she likes to grow fruit and vegetables there.
White House improvements are overseen by the General Services Administration which claimed the construction was to update the air conditioning and electrical systems.
Spokeswoman Sara Merriam told the New York Times that it would later continue on the other side of the White House’s grounds.