This Drunk Spy Crashed A Drone On The White House Lawn
Turns out a drunk government spy is responsible for the drone that crashed on the White House lawn Sunday night.
The unnamed man, who works for a U.S. agency, was apparently wrapping up a night of drinking at an apartment a few blocks from the White House when he decided to take his friend’s drone, a DJI Phantom, for a spin around 3 a.m. Monday morning, The New York Times reports.
The flight ended prematurely when he crashed the bird-sized “quadcopter” into a tree on the White House lawn. The pilot texted his friends, concerned it had landed near the White House, then went to sleep. (RELATED: Drone Crashes Into White House Grounds, Secret Service Locks Down Perimeter)
When he woke up Monday, he learned from his friends that the Secret Service had indeed found a drone on the White House lawn, so he called his higher-ups at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and then confessed his misadventure to the Secret Service and began cooperating with their investigation.
The crash landing validated concerns about the danger similar drones could pose to the White House. The drone was not detected by a White House radar system, and although a Secret Service agent heard and saw the drone, it crashed before anyone could bring it down. A few days earlier, the Department of Homeland Security held a conference on the threat such drones could pose.
A DJI Phantom drone packed with fake explosives was on display at the conference to demonstrate how easily such a drone could be used to launch an attack. A counterterrorism official warned a drone could also be used to launch a chemical or biological attack, The New York Times reported.
Small drones are hard to defend against, security experts said Monday, because they’re hard to shoot down. “There’s no silver bullet,” a law enforcement official said according to the Times. “It’s difficult because if you bring it down on Pennsylvania Avenue you could kill a dozen tourists.”
It is illegal to fly a drone in Washington, D.C., but the unnamed employee has not been charged with a crime.
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