Operator of Drone That Crashed at White House Works for National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

The man who crash-landed a drone on the grounds of the White House early Monday is an employee with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), the agency revealed Tuesday.

"The employee was off duty and is not involved in work related to drones or unmanned aerial vehicles in any capacity at NGA," read a statement from the NGA in part.

He is cooperating with authorities, the U.S. Secret Service said.

The man, a D.C. resident, called the Secret Service at about 9:30 a.m. Monday after hearing news reports of the crash. He told authorities he'd been flying the drone before it crashed.

He told the Secret Service that he was using the drone recreationally and didn't mean to fly it over the White House, said a U.S. official speaking on condition of anonymity.

Officials said the device posed no threat.

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

A Secret Service officer saw the quadcopter drone flying at a very low altitude before it crash-landed in a tree on the southeast side of the complex just after 3 a.m. Monday, Leary said.

Police, fire and other emergency vehicles swarmed around the White House while the device was examined and cleared. The White House and the entire perimeter was on lockdown until about 5 a.m., when pass holders who work in the complex were allowed inside.

A quadcopter is an unmanned aircraft that is lifted by four propellers. The drone is about two feet in diameter.

"Even though the employee was using a personal item while off duty, the agency takes the incident very seriously and remains committed to promoting public trust and transparency," the NGA's statement continued.

The Secret Service is conducting interviews to corroborate the man's story and is reviewing all other investigative leads.

The incident was the latest in a string of White House security breaches that have led to questions about Secret Service effectiveness.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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