An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), or drone, landed on the White House lawn at approximately 3 am on Monday morning.
Woah - WH confirms that a drone device was found on the White House grounds by the Secret Service. A new threat to worry about. — Eamon Javers (@EamonJavers) January 26, 2015
Following the incident, there was a great deal of speculation over who was responsible.
BREAKING: Drone lands on White House lawn. Obviously @barackobama's @pizzahut order is in. — Terry Finisterre (@terryfinisterre) January 26, 2015
Whichever hipster crashed his drone on the White House lawn was at least not so stoned he decided to climb the fence to retrieve it. — Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) January 26, 2015
Drone Found on White House Lawn. A toy? A test by terrorists? Or Amazon got the wrong address? — #Respeto #Respect (@x1Mmejor) January 26, 2015
Ultimately, the drone didn't pose any threat whatsoever. Nope, it wasn't al-Qaeda that crashed the drone onto the White House lawn, it was a drunk off-duty employee of the government.
The individual in question was drinking at an apartment not far from the White House that night. At some point during the evening, he evidently decided it would be a great idea to try out his friend's drone.
The inebriated man eventually lost control of the drone, and it disappeared.
Conscious of the fact that he might have inadvertently flown the drone onto the White House lawn, he decided to do the responsible thing: He texted his friends and passed out.
Who can blame him? It was really late.
The next morning, his friends alerted him that a drone had, in fact, crashed onto the lawn of the leader of the free world. He immediately contacted his employer, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and then got in touch with the Secret Service.
One can only imagine how fun this must have been in addition to what was surely a brutal hangover.
Twitter users immediately weighed in on this news.
Drinking & landing a drone on the White House lawn? Seriously? #BucketList pic.twitter.com/0KXtyDRBs6 — ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) January 27, 2015
Whatever your struggles. Whatever your secret sorrows. You didn't drunk-fly a drone onto the White House lawn. pic.twitter.com/RuzHRdUSUc — pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) January 28, 2015
Jon Stewart also joined in on the fun, aptly stating,
Friends don't let friends drone drunk.
On a more serious note, the incident also poses a new set of questions for the Secret Service, which is already under a great deal of scrutiny following several embarrassing incidents over the past year.
As the use of this technology continues to expand, how will it protect future presidents from potential attacks?
Drones will inevitably be used in both recreational and commercial capacities, yet the Federal Aviation Administration will not release drone regulations until 2017.
Accordingly, President Obama came forth and stated,
These technologies that we're developing have the capacity to empower individuals in ways that we couldn't even imagine 10-15 years ago. We don’t really have any kind of regulatory structure at all for it.
Perhaps a more concerted discussion on this topic could also inspire this administration to address its own unfettered use of drones in counterterrorism operations.
This is unlikely, but then again, who would've thought a drunk guy could end up crashing a drone on the White House lawn?