Man Flew Drone Near White House, Detained By Secret Service

Man Flew Drone Near White House, Detained By Secret Service
White House Tom Lohdan / Flickr CC BY 2.0

A man flying a remote controlled aerial device over the White House fence was detained by Secret Service on Thursday.


According to Fox News, Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said the drone was flying around 100 feet over the Lafayette Park across Pennsylvania Avenue coming from the White House north fence. This placed the park on the north side of the White House on a temporary lockdown while the investigation was being conducted.

The lockdown was lifted on Thursday.

A photograph released by the Secret Service shows that the drone was a Parrot BeBop drone, which has a high-definition camera for purposes of videoing and photographing. The device is priced between $500 and $900.

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The drone, which can fly for up to 11 minutes at 45 miles per hour even when flown outside the operator’s field of vision, can send captured images through a wireless connection back to the remote controller.

One half pound of extra equipment can be carried by the device.

President Barack Obama is not in the White House at present. He is at Camp David.

An information campaign was initiated by the Federal Aviation Administration only a day before the incident. The campaign was set up to spread awareness that Washington and the communities within a periphery of 15 miles of the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport are part of a “No Drone Zone,” a regulation brought into effect after the Sept 11 attacks.

In a statement on Wednesday, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said, “Anyone visiting the D.C. area should leave their drone at home.”

It isn’t the first time someone has flown a drone over the White House. According to CNN, four months ago, a U.S. intelligence agency employee lost control of a borrowed personal quadcopter drone he was flying outside his apartment. The operator, who drank earlier in the night, intended to fly the drone out of his window only to bring it back inside.

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