If you were the lucky amateur pilot who landed a “Quadcopter” drone on the White House lawn late last night, the Secret Service has your unmanned robot aircraft and would probably like a word with you.
Apparently, a small, commercially-available drone flew over the White House fence on onto the hallowed grounds around 3:08 am, and like most commercially-available drones operated by people whose entire history of flight experience involves an XBox or a copy of SkyMall (RIP), immediately crashed. White House security responded somewhat immediately, cleared the object, and are now waiting for a hapless tourist or area resident who wanted an arial view of the landmark to please come collect both their toy and their criminal charges.
The Secret Service has identified the device that was found overnight on the White House grounds as a “quad copter.”
The agency said an on-duty Secret Service officer saw and heard the 2-foot-wide commercial “quad copter” fly low onto the grounds of the executive mansion at about 3:08 a.m. ET. It crashed on the southeast side, the agency said in a statement.
“There was an immediate alert and lockdown of the complex until the device was examined and cleared,” a spokesman said in the statement.
The spokesman said an investigation was under way.
Earlier, the White House said the device posed no threat to the first family.
The First Family is, actually, in India, where we are handing $4B of our money to the Indian government so that they can improve infrastructure.
Now, the whole drone mess might seem funny, but only because you know how this exact scenario played out. Someone thought it would be neat to fly the drone they got for Christmas over the White House, realized only too late that they’re next to impossible to control, and instead of the usual (crashing it into a tree, sending a small woodland creature careening to the ground), they took a divot out of the South Lawn. They are now, probably, cowering in closet apartment or hotel room, ruing the day they decided to use that Brookstone gift card on a quadcopter instead of one of those fancy foot massagers. But the implications are serious. If someone had actually known how to pilot a drone, they could have gotten a rather detailed arial view of the President’s house, or could have even deposited something nefarious. It’s a little disconcerting that, after all of the security we pay for, and all of the Congressional hearings that have reinforced the duties of the Secret Service, particularly in light of their presumed duty to Columbian hookers, we’re still having to explain to the people guarding our nation’s President that things are capable of flying over a seven foot fence.
Thankfully, this time, no one was in any danger.
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