The US Secret Service is investigating how a drone came to crash into the White House in the early hours of Monday morning.
The two-foot quadcopter drone invaded White House airspace at around 3am and crashed on the southeast side of the presidential property, prompting a security lock-down by Secret Service agents. President Obama and his family were not in the White House at the time, as they were on a state visit to India.
"Initial indications are that this incident occurred as a result of recreational use of the device," Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said in a statement, AP reports.
A government worker got in touch with the Secret Service and has claimed responsibility for the drone. This may land him in hot water, since drone use is totally banned within the District of Columbia.
After an incident in 1994, when drunken pilot Frank Corder crashed a light aircraft into the White House lawn, the Secret Service has been reputed to have ground to air missiles on standby to protect the White House and its occupants, and snipers are permanently stationed on the roof. But it's difficult to see what agents could have done about last night's intrusion.
"There's probably nothing they have that could stop it, particularly at night," said James Lewis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a public policy think tank.
"The sniper would be shooting at the drone and his bullets would be going past it into the buildings on Connecticut Avenue. If it's a crisis or emergency, sure, that makes sense, but what goes up comes down, and that includes bullets." ®
Photo Credit: US Secret Service.