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Reported Airspace Violation That Locked Down White House Was False Alarm, NORAD Says

By Rachel Brooks

Tuesday’s reported airspace violation that locked down the White House has been flagged as a false alarm. A NORAD spokesperson spoke with NBC, stating, “Upon further investigation, we found there was no aircraft.” 

Further citing NBC, the alarm may have been triggered by a flock of birds or a weather balloon in the White House’s immediate airspace. This caused the White House and the Capitol to go on temporary emergency lockdown until the trigger cause could be examined with succinct detail.

The McClatchy Washington Bureau added detail to this report. The airspace false alarm triggered a 30-minute evacuation notice for the White House. This was due to the initial report that a small aircraft had entered the flight zone unauthorized. The Secret Service and NORAD then responded to the media’s questions stating that birds might have been the trigger. One spokesman confirmed this while another could neither confirm nor deny it.  There was also a report that an aircraft may have been present in the airspace but was deemed as not hostile, citing EHA News. Once NORAD and USCG determined there was no hostile aircraft in the vicinity, they reached the conclusion regarding birds. EHA News has also released real-time video footage of local police response to the incident. The DC Police Department has not publicly commented on the incident or the temporary evacuation notice. 

Fox News spoke with security officers in the surrounding area. They said quote, “We don’t know what the hell it was.” They only knew that the object was hovering at “knots” speed. Some were fearful that it was a drone, while others continued with the theories of birds or weather anomalies. The incident flagged an “Air Con Orange” which is the code for suspicious aircraft in the immediate White House airfield. There was some further concern when the Air Con Orange alert was not degraded after a few minutes, as is the usual protocol. Personnel waited 30 minutes before being allowed to reenter the White House campus. 

The USCG faithfully guards sea and air as seen in this image from 2007, Public Domain

The White House has not commented publicly on this incident. Congress broke for the Thanksgiving holiday late last week, citing White House Twitter.  Also citing White House Twitter, operations at the White House have been effectively suspended due to the left-wing impeachment inquiry. These facts suggest that the personnel in the White House and Congress area would have been unlikely targets of the alleged early Tuesday incident. 

NORAD has responded publicly to the incident via a Twitter post. The event in question took place in the Special Flight Rules area yesterday morning. NORAD promptly directed the United States Coast Guard’s rotary-wing aircraft to conduct a routine investigation of the area. There were no reported incidents. The USCG has not released any public statements regarding their investigation. Even so, they followed through with the motto that defines them as a US defensive unit. Semper Paratus___“Always prepared”

Screen capture of the NORAD Command public response to the D.C. incident

Capitol Hill has been fraught with tension as of the last few weeks. The Impeachment hearing process has perhaps left the nation somewhat hypervigilant. The media has given this incident some heavy attention, which suggests and underscore of nervousness among the American people. This is cause for an even greater appreciation of the USCG and NORAD’s service to the people as a whole.

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