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Man who crashed drone on to White House lawn after date (and two glasses of wine) won't be charged

white house drone
The drone crashed onto the White House lawn on 26 Jan (Picture: Secret Service handout/AP)

The man who crashed a small drone into the grounds of the White House in January won't be charged by federal prosecutors, the US attorney's office has confirmed.

A Secret Service investigation found that Shawn Usman hadn't been in control of the device when it landed in the early hours of the morning.

According to Slate, the 31-year-old, an employee of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, had borrowed the small quadcopter from a friend and was flying it in the early hours of the morning after going on a date and having "pizza and two glasses of wine".

Usman told investigators that he had been controlling the drone from his apartment window when it suddenly shot into the air and he lost control.

Because it was low on battery, Usman assumed it would soon fall back to earth and so decided to go to bed before launching a search in the morning.

However, after waking up and seeing news reports that it had crashed on to the White House lawn he rang the Secret Service.

It was literally the worst place on the planet it could have landed. Flying it out the window was in retrospect a bad idea, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine this would have happened.

  • Shawn Usman

According to the Wall Street Journal, while he will not face criminal charges, the Federal Aviation Administration, which has banned drone flights in Washington DC, is still reviewing the incident and may decide to issue a fine.

Either way, Usman's drone has exposed a vulnerability at the White House in what the New York Times describes as yet another "embarrassing security breach" following several similar incidents in recent months.


More: Another man jumps White House fence, kicks attack dog in face

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