Drone crashes at White House, exposing security weakness. This is why we can't have nice UAVs.

Quadcopter that crashed on the White House lawn. Photo via US Secret Service, via Jim Acosta's Twitter.


Quadcopter that crashed on the White House lawn. Photo via US Secret Service, via Jim Acosta's Twitter.

A recreational quadcopter flew over the White House lawn on Monday, exposing a security weakness at the compound that the Secret Service has spent years and many of our dollars studying--without arriving at a solution.

At about two feet in diameter and two pounds in weight, UAVs like this one are too small to show up on radar. But we can all expect new restrictions to prevent this sort of silliness from happening in the future.

From the Washington Post:

The episode came just four days after lawmakers examining White House security had been warned by a panel of experts that the Secret Service’s inability to identify and disable drones remained one of the leading vulnerabilities at the complex, according to two people with knowledge of the discussions.

Just after 3 a.m. Monday, the drone flew at a low altitude over the south grounds of the White House without setting off alarms and was spotted by a Secret Service officer standing guard.

The “quadcopter” device, approximately two feet in diameter, then crashed on the southeast corner of the property, prompting a lockdown at the complex until the device was examined and determined not to pose a danger. Officers and agents with flashlights scoured the complex and surrounding area for clues.

The guy whose drone it was later came forward to claim responsibility for the midnight mishap. He was a government employee, and said he was flying it as a hobbyist for recreational purposes, and hadn't intended to fly the thing over the White House.

"Initial indications are that this incident occurred as a result of recreational use of the device," said Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary.

"Drone incident at White House highlights long-studied, still-unsolved security gap" [washingtonpost.com]

"A Drone, Too Small for Radar to Detect, Rattles the White House" [nytimes.com]