Have drones gone too far?
Have drones gone too far? At left is the South Lawn of the White House (AP photo / Thinkstock)
Have drones gone too far?
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A small drone flying low to the ground crashed onto the White House grounds, 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 didn't mean to fly it over the complex.

The man contacted the Secret Service after reports of the crash spread in the media, a U.S. official said. The man told the agency that he had been flying the drone recreationally. The man is a Washington resident and is cooperating with investigators.

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 drone crashed on the southeast side of the White House grounds just after 3 a.m. Monday, Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said.

Secret Service agents are interviewing other people to corroborate the man's story. They don't currently have any reason to doubt the man's story, the official said.

The device was described as a two-foot-long quadcopter. It's a commercially available unmanned aircraft that is lifted by four propellers. Many small quadcopters are essentially sophisticated toys. They can also be useful for commercial operations like aerial photography and inspections. Often weighing only a few pounds, they sell for as little as a few hundred dollars or less. Many were popular Christmas gifts last year.

The president and first lady Michelle Obama were traveling in India. Their daughters, Sasha and Malia, may have been at home. White House officials declined to comment on the daughters' whereabouts Monday. But ahead of the president's trip, aides had said the daughters would remain in Washington so as not to miss school.

"The early indications are that it does not pose any sort of ongoing threat to anybody at the White House," said presidential spokesman Josh Earnest.

Still, the incident was likely to reinvigorate a long-running public debate about the use of commercial drones in U.S. skies, as well as White House security. The Secret Service is still recovering after a string of breaches that raised questions about whether the president is adequately protected.

The recent proliferation of inexpensive drones has prompted growing fears about potential collisions with traditional aircraft. Technological advances have also made it easier to equip drones with advanced capabilities such as cameras. That's raised privacy issues as well as concerns that such devices could carry weapons.

Industry experts said that to carry and fire a weapon, a drone would need more engines and more propellers than most commercially manufactured quadcopters.

Critical thinking challenge: Give two reasons why the drone did not pose a threat to the president.

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/tween78/have-drones-gone-too-far/

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COMMENTS (24)
  • philg-
    9/18/2015 - 07:49 a.m.

    The drone did not pose a threat to the president because first off he was not home and it also did not have enough power for firearms to be mounted on it

  • chadb-
    9/18/2015 - 07:50 a.m.

    The drone didn't pose a threat because the guy that drove the drone was a resident and he did it by accident.

  • bethk-
    9/18/2015 - 07:50 a.m.

    The guy who as flying the drone said that he did not intentionally mean to fly the drone over into the White House complex. He confessed and apologized, it has been viewed as not having an indication of any kind of threat towards the White House. There also was not anything wrong with the drone to make it harmful (large motors or any weapons)

  • daniele-
    9/18/2015 - 07:51 a.m.

    One reason the drone didn't pose as a threat because he wasn't home he and his wife was in India, and that 2 foot long drone was incapable of holding/carrying weapons big enough to do damage to the White House.

  • zaneo-
    9/18/2015 - 07:52 a.m.

    The president knew that the guy was sincere about crashing the drone in the yard. Also, said in the paragraph above industry experts said "that to carry and fire a weapon, a drone would need more engines and more propellers than most commercially manufactured quad copters".

  • sarahb-
    9/18/2015 - 07:52 a.m.

    The drone did not pose a threat to the president because he came out and said that he did not mean to fly it over the first time. And also they said the threats weren't to anyone at the White House.

  • mattkee-
    9/18/2015 - 07:53 a.m.

    The drone did not pose a threat to the president because the drone was not equipped with anything that could harm the president and the drone was too small to even carry a weapon?it would need more engines and more propellors to do that.

  • ra'jourh-
    9/18/2015 - 07:53 a.m.

    A reason why the drone may have not posed a threat because it could have been a warning from who ever sent it, saying maybe that the next one could be real. Another reason could be because it might of was a mistake that it was sent to the president. It could have crashed into the White House by mistake.

  • erinb-
    9/18/2015 - 07:53 a.m.

    The drone did not pose a threat to president Obama not only because he wasn't home but also because of the fact that it was recreational drone. It didn't have added cameras or weapons and the man who was flying it was a Washington DC resident using it solely as a means of entertainment.

  • antonioc-
    9/18/2015 - 07:53 a.m.

    I think that if laws and regulations aren't made and enforced it could end up being bad sometime along the road. It could be used to harm others, it wouldn't take much for someone to add a weapon to it that could kill people. There's also the issue with privacy. These drones could be used in a multitude of ways that would violate people's personal privacy.

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