The White House drone crash was likely caused by a drunk intelligence agency worker

white house drone crash linked to drunken intelligence agency worker
Early on Monday morning, some guy messing around with a DJI Phantom quadcopter close to the White House lost control of his flying machine, sending it crashing down onto one of the most famous lawns in the world.

Following widespread news coverage, the drone operator contacted officials to let them know his behavior had had no sinister intent, and that he was simply flying his toy recreationally.

What didn’t quite add up was the fact that the incident took place at 3am, not the usual time to crank up a drone for a quick fly-by of the president’s official residence. On Tuesday, however, the story became a little clearer, though no less odd.

Plastered government worker

According to the NY Times, flying the quadcopter was an off-duty government intelligence agency worker. A drunk one.

The inebriated individual was reportedly operating the drone from an apartment a short distance from the White House. He apparently didn’t know it’d gone down in the grounds of the president’s home, though texts sent to friends immediately afterwards suggested he feared that it had.

Still, instead of going out to look for the remote-control copter, he decided to hit the hay and worry about it later. The next morning, possibly following a sleep filled with nightmares about multiple news shows reporting on a mysterious drone breaching White House security, he awoke to multiple news shows reporting on a mysterious drone breaching White House security. Keen to do the right thing, after having done the wrong thing, he called the authorities to own up to the act.

The NY Times said officials described the incident as “nothing more than a drunken misadventure,” though it has of course raised concerns about security at the White House as the two-foot-wide quadcopter evaded radar and wasn’t spotted until it was well inside the perimeter fence.

With officials keenly aware that terrorists could potentially use the diminutive flying machines to launch some kind of attack, research is taking place to find ways to detect incursions by small remotely operated aircraft and bring them down quickly. Perhaps this drone-hunting drone might help.

Obama comments

In an interview with CNN on Tuesday [video], President Obama touched on the incident, saying the drone was the sort “you buy at RadioShack.”

Discussing the technology, Obama admitted the government has been slow to act on launching a framework for the use of drones, and that the situation needed to change so that “we get the good and minimize the bad.”

The Federal Aviation Administration is currently working on drawing up regulations for the flying machines, though its failure to move more quickly on the matter has frustrated a number of companies – Amazon among them – that want to use the technology in their business.

As for the man at the center of Monday’s incident, it’s not known if any action will be taken against him, though presumably he’ll be looking for an open field well away from the White House for his next quadcopter adventure.


Millions of health records may be at stake in ransomware attack

LabCorps revealed that it was a victim of a data breach, and the FBI confirmed it was notified of a ransomware attack. With millions of health records at stake, it's still unclear what information, if any, the attackers accessed.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in July 2018, from ‘Coco’ to ‘Jurassic Park’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, subdued humor, or anything in between.
Emerging Tech

Strike while the iron is hot: DJI’s best drones are dirt cheap during Prime Day

If you've been biding your time and waiting for drone prices to drop, then you should definitely check out the deals that DJI is offering during Amazon Prime Day this year
Emerging Tech

Prisons are fighting back against contraband-dropping drones. Here’s how

The threat of people smuggling contraband into prisons via drone is a genuine threat here in 2018. This anti-drone surveillance system is designed to help solve the problem for good.

Microsoft stops a Russian attempt at hacking 2018 midterm elections

Microsoft discovered that the Russian GRU military intelligence agency attempted to hack the 2018 U.S. midterm elections using similar phishing tactics previously employed to hack the 2016 presidential election.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix in July, from ‘Arrested Development’ to ‘Mad Men’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.

Congressman says we should be banned from mining, using cryptocurrency

Congressman Brad Sherman believes the government should prohibit U.S. citizens from mining and using cryptocurrency. As a medium of exchange, cryptocurrencies facilitate narcotics trafficking, terrorism, and tax evasion.
Movies & TV

The '80s are alive as first 'Stranger Things' season 3 teaser goes to the mall

With a sophomore season as strong as its first, Stranger Things is now moving on to season 3. Here's everything we've learned so far about the Netflix series' upcoming third season.
Home Theater

The best Dolby Atmos movies for your home theater sound as good as they look

If you've got your hands on some sweet Dolby Atmos gear, the next step is to find films that take advantage of it. These are our picks in every genre for the best Dolby Atmos movies currently available on Blu-ray and streaming services.

Aston Martin flying concept brings style and luxury to the skies

Aston Martin has joined the list of companies racing to deploy flying taxis above the world's most crowded cities. The Volante Vision concept previews a hybrid aircraft with vertical take-off and landing capability.
Emerging Tech

Pilot’s sneaky puff on his e-cigarette causes chaos on passenger plane

A relaxing smoke turned out to be anything but for an Air China pilot last week. An effort to prevent the vapor from reaching the cabin ended up causing chaos on the jet, with the incident ultimately costing the pilot his job.
Movies & TV

‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ director James Gunn fired for offensive tweets

Guardians of the Galaxy franchise director and writer James Gunn has been fired by Disney after pundits unearthed several offensive tweets posted by the director almost a decade ago.
Movies & TV

15 epic sci-fi novels you should read before they become blockbuster films

You can get ahead of the next crop of science-fiction movies coming out of Hollywood by picking up the books that inspired them. We compiled a list of books you can add to your reading list now to get a glimpse of the future.

Ex-Apple engineer pleads not guilty to stealing autonomous car trade secrets

The FBI arrested a former Apple engineer named Xiaolang Zhang after he downloaded confidential files from the firm's self-driving car division. Zhang admitted that he planned to provide them to Chinese startup Xiaopeng Motors.

FCC begins accepting petitions to deny the T-Mobile and Sprint merger

T-Mobile and Sprint are hoping the third time is the charm for a merger. It comes just months after the carriers cited an inability to find common ground, extending yet again the long dance between the two telecom giants.
Emerging Tech

DARPA’s latest endeavor is a tiny robotics challenge called the SHRIMP Olympics

DARPA is seeking proposals for tiny robots, weighing less than a gram and smaller than one cubic centimeter, to compete against one another in a series of Olympic-themed competitions.
Emerging Tech

Prototype ‘smart bandage’ can detect infections and auto-apply antibiotics

Researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have developed a smart bandage that's capable of checking whether a wound is infected, and treating it with antibiotics if it deems that it is.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

Blue Origin reaches a big milestone, lands rocket booster and crew capsule

Jeff Bezos' space endeavor Blue Origin recently completed its most important test -- a live separation of its crew capsule from its rocket booster. More than 20,000 people tuned into the livestream.
Emerging Tech

Bright idea: Keep your gadgets juiced up with these stellar solar chargers

Looking for a gizmo that can help you charge your phone while on the go? Here, we've outlined the best solar chargers on the market, whether you're looking to charge your phone once, twice, or three times over.
Emerging Tech

Geologists discover a quadrillion tons of diamonds that are impossible to reach

Researchers have discovered that there may very well be a quadrillion tons of diamonds buried 100 miles below Earth's surface. The bad part? Sadly, they're impossible to reach right now.
Emerging Tech

Genetically modified bacteria may be the key to plants that fertilize themselves

Scientists from Washington University in St. Louis have developed genetically engineered bacteria capable of pulling fertilizer out of thin air. Here's why that's such a potential game-changer.