White House put into lockdown after DJI Phantom crashes into grounds
WASHINGTON – A DJI phantom crashed onto the White House grounds before dawn Monday, triggering a major emergency response and raising fresh questions about security at the presidential mansion.
A man later came forward to say he was responsible and did not mean to fly it over the complex.
The man contacted the Secret Service, which protects the president and others, midmorning after reports of the crash spread in the media. Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said the man had been interviewed by Secret Service agents and was cooperating with the investigation.
“Initial indications are that this incident occurred as a result of recreational use of the device,” Leary said. He added that investigators were interviewing others to corroborate the man’s story, as well as examining evidence from the scene.
An official said the man is a Washington resident and that investigators do not currently have any reason to doubt his story. The official wasn’t authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke only on condition of anonymity.
Although President Barack Obama was not at home, the security breach prompted a lockdown of the entire complex until officials could examine the drone. The White House later said it did not pose a threat.
The agency recently has faced persistent questions about its effectiveness and ability to protect the president.
Four high-ranking executives were reassigned this month, and former Director Julia Pierson was forced to resign last year after a man armed with a knife was able to get over a White House fence and run into the executive mansion before being subdued.