Man arrested after flying drone near White House

small white quad drone image

The Pentagon is conducting a classified study on how to defend against drones, which are difficult to detect. Photo: Bradley Kanaris

The Secret Service arrested a man who was flying a small drone less than a block from the White House on Thursday afternoon, US officials said.

About 1pm, Secret Service uniformed officers saw a drone flying roughly 100 feet above Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House, the authorities said.

The man complied with officers’ commands to land the drone and he was arrested, they said. The officers then cordoned off the area in Lafayette Park in order to determine whether there were any explosives or anything else potentially harmful on the drone. They concluded that it was safe, the authorities said.

The Secret Service did not identify the man, but said he had been turned over to the US Park Police, which has jurisdiction over the park. It is illegal to fly a drone in Washington.

The incident marked the second time in five months that the Secret Service has confronted a drone flying near the White House. In January, a small drone being flown by a government employee crashed on the South Lawn of the White House around 3am. Specially designed radar did not detect the drone flying near or over the president’s residence.

How to deal with drones has been a significant concern for the Secret Service in recent years; someone could attach explosives or weapons to a drone and officers would be unable to stop it. Drones are particularly difficult to defend against because, unlike large aircraft, they are hard to shoot down.

The agency’s air security branch and the Pentagon have been conducting a classified study on how to defend against drones.

The New York Times


Henry Sapiecha

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