In a very fresh case of security breach of optimally-protected areas in the world is the White House. Yes, we are talking about The White House, in Washington DC, the seat of the president of the most powerful nation in the world. It was one fine morning of Tuesday, 26th January, 2015 when the incident happened.
A small drone crashed on the White House gardens during the wee hours of the morning. The drone, actually a quadcopter, was two feet in diameter and weighed almost two pounds. The device was being operated by a government employee, who, after getting heavily drunk, lost control of his gadget and went to bed, despite fearing that it may flow through the White House. It was only after hearing the news reports about its crash that he came ahead to take the responsibility. Obama was in New Delhi, India, at the time to forge their ties with India. The president was accompanied only by his wife, Michelle, while daughters Sasha and Malia stayed at home with grandmother, Michelle Robinson.
On questioning, the Security Service officials said that the drone was too small to get detected by the radar. However, they didn’t clarify about the identity of the employee who was operating the drone or the disciplinary action he is going to face.
The rising security concerns
In what officials describe as a mere drunken misadventure actually highlights the vulnerability of the secret service that shields the White House against potential threats. If you might think this is the only case of White House encroachment, read this: few months back, a man tried to intrude the White House property and successfully made it close enough before the officials stopped him. In another surprising incident that happened in 2011, a gunman open fired at the building while one of the Obama daughters was home.
The department of Homeland Security recently held a conference, citing the dangers such drones pose to the government facilities and other infrastructures of critical importance. Using a DJI Phantom drone, they displayed how the drone can easily carry three pounds of explosives and can be used to launch an attack anywhere. Other officials also explained how these drones are slowly becoming the favorite tool for terrorists to carry out attacks.
Instead of blaming the negligence of the secret service or the radar abilities at the White House, the nozzle of the gun now faces the manufacturer of the drones. Even Obama’s reaction was quite similar when he said, “because the drone that landed in the White House you buy in RadioShack.” I would say that even the official who was piloting the drone is not at fault. It is the mere carelessness of the security service that has failed yet again in maintaining the safe upkeep of the establishment they have sworn to protect.
The rattle caused by the drone in the White House is, therefore, a clear case of ineffectiveness of the Security Service and nothing else. These drones that according to some US officials are a potential tool for threat, are a savior to many on the contrary. Farmers use it for managing their crops, conservationists use it to count the stock of their wildlife, and Amazon has recently started using it to deliver their local orders to customers. And, if all this still doesn’t make you feel that they are useful enough, consider this: the CIA deployed many stealth drones to monitor the compound where Osama Bin Laden was staying before he got killed.
Whatever the incident was, it clearly has altered the impression that the rest of the world used to have about the White House.