US

White House Airspace Violation Lockdown Leaves Officials Puzzled

By Victor Westerkamp

The White House went on lockdown for less than half an hour Tuesday due to an airspace violation, but officials said it is “still not known” what happened.

“We don’t know what the hell it was,” one security source told Fox News. Officials told CNN that “a slow-moving blob of something” was spotted on radar. Some officials thought it could be a drone, birds, or a “weather anomaly.”

The lockdown happened shortly before 9:00 a.m. EST after an unauthorized aircraft entered the no-fly zone above the White House around 8:27 a.m. It was lifted around 9:12 a.m., officials confirmed.

Buildings on Capitol Hill were also placed on lockdown and were later evacuated, The Daily Express reported.

However, officials with the North American Aerospace Defense Command said it was not hostile, CNBC reported.

After the lockdown was lifted, Lt. Col. Chris Mitchell, a Pentagon spokesman, told CNN: “Senior officials across the interagency are monitoring the situation on a national event conference call. NORAD aircraft are on-site and responding,”

A Secret Service spokesman later told CNBC: “The White House was locked down this morning due to a potential violation of the restricted airspace in the National Capital Region” and confirmed that the lockdown had been lifted.

Fox News reported that officials received contradictory information about the subject of the airspace violation, including its direction and speed.

lockdown look-up
A member of the Uniformed U.S. Secret Service stands guard outside of the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington on Nov. 26, 2019. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The news of the lockdown was reported by members of the White House press pool, many of whom said that they had been locked in the White House Briefing Room.

“White House totally on lockdown. All press being sheltered in place inside the briefing room. Similar reported response at the U.S. Capitol + congressional office buildings,” reporter J.D. Durkin reported.

Another reporter wrote, “Much of the Capitol complex and surrounding streets are closed this morning due to an ‘air-con’ emergency. I’m told by @CapitolPolice that communication has been lost with an aircraft, and that’s forced evacuations of some areas of Capitol as a precaution.”

Another reporter wrote that there was an “unauthorized aircraft in the vicinity.” He didn’t elaborate.

Reporter David Martosko wrote on Twitter that an “agent” told him an “emergency” prompted the lockdown.  A construction worker in the vicinity told him that workers who were at the White House north fence were told to “get out.”

Epoch Times reporter Jack Phillips contributed to this report