The man who crashed a recreational drone on the grounds of the White House this week, causing a brief lockdown and exposing an unresolved security vulnerability at the compound, is a government intelligence worker, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) said Tuesday.
In a statement, the NGA said an employee had reported his involvement in the incident and has been questioned by the Secret Service. The drone, a small “quadcopter,” crashed on the southeast corner of White House grounds about 3 a.m. Monday.
“The employee was off duty and is not involved in work related to drones or unmanned aerial vehicles in any capacity at NGA,” the agency said. The NGA said it is taking the incident “very seriously.”
The NGA, headquartered in Springfield, Va., provides geospatial and mapping information to the Defense Department and intelligence agencies. According to the agency’s Web site, the NGA helped track down al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden at his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where he was killed by U.S. special forces in 2011.
The Secret Service is investigating the crash, which came days after experts warned lawmakers that the Secret Service’s inability to detect and neutralize drone flights in the area was a worrying security gap. It also follows a number of security lapses that have increased scrutiny on the Secret Service.
It was believed to be the first incident in which a drone made it onto White House grounds, but not the first time that drones have flown within restricted airspace near the White House and U.S. Capitol.