from the death-from-above dept.
Police, fire and other emergency vehicles swarmed around the White House in the predawn hours, with several clustered near the southeast entrance to the mansion as the NYT reports that a small aerial drone has been found on the grounds of the White House. Obama and the first lady, Michelle Obama, are on a three-day visit to India, but their daughters, Malia and Sasha, are in Washington. The report of a drone came at a time when other threats to the president’s family or their home have led to concerns about security but according to a White House spokesman the drone poses no threat. “As the Secret Service has more information about their investigation, about what they’ve been able to learn about this, they’ll share more information on this,” says White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest. After daylight, more than a dozen Secret Service officers fanned out in a search across the White House lawn as snow began to fall. They peered down in the grass and used flashlights to look through the large bushes that line the mansion's driveway.
The incident is the latest in a string of White House security breaches that have led to questions about Secret Service effectiveness. Four of the agency's highest-ranking executives were reassigned earlier this month. Former Director Julia Pierson's was forced to resign last year after a Texas man armed with a knife was able to get over a White House fence in September and run deep into the executive mansion before being subdued.
Related to our story yesterday, the US Secret Service has release some of its findings: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/01/drunken-spy-satellite-agency-employee-crashed-drone-on-white-house-lawn/
Today, ... the Secret Service revealed new details into their investigation—including a confession by the pilot himself. According to the Secret Service, an unnamed employee of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) claimed responsibility for crashing a remote-controlled quadrocopter into a tree on the grounds of the White House.
The yet-unnamed employee reported the incident to his superiors at NGA. He claimed to have been drinking at an apartment near the White House when he decided early Monday morning to fly a friend’s new DJI Phantom drone. He claimed that he then lost control of the drone. Soon after the drone slipped unnoticed over the White House fence, it was spotted flying low over the grounds before it crashed into a tree.