Pelosi: We 'need answers' on gyrocopter

Pelosi: We 'need answers' on gyrocopter
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Wednesday's gyrocopter landing on the Capitol grounds was a "stunning" breach, and Congress needs to know how it happened, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday.

The House minority leader was careful not to jump ahead of the ongoing investigations into the incident, but suggested Congress will ultimately play an oversight role in an effort to secure the campus. 

"It's a stunning thing to think that we have that [exposure]," Pelosi said during a press briefing in the Capitol. "I don't know how long that investigation will take, but we certainly need answers." 


Pelosi acknowledged the difficulties facing both lawmakers and law enforcers as they straddle the divide between keeping the Capitol both safe and accessible to visitors.

"It's the constant balance of security and freedom — that's something we make a judgment in everything that we do," Pelosi said. "We don't want to be a place where we're saying this is an iron-clad Capitol, and have such restriction as to people [not] having access to it. Nonetheless, we have to ensure the safety of those people."

Piloted by a Florida postman, the gyrocopter landed on the Capitol's West Lawn Wednesday afternoon, scrambling law enforcers, captivating reporters and tourists, and triggering plenty of questions about how a rogue aircraft was able to navigate restricted airspace without being intercepted. 

Jeh Johnson, head of the Homeland Security Department, suggested Thursday that the gyrocopter was simply flying too low to be detected.

"[It] apparently literally flew in under the radar," Johnson said, according to The Associated Press.

Pelosi is hardly the only lawmaker seeking answers. 

Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGraham: Trump will 'be helpful' to all Senate GOP incumbents Partisan headwinds threaten Capitol riot commission Cruz hires Trump campaign press aide as communications director MORE (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said he plans to launch a separate investigation. And Sen. Charles SchumerChuck SchumerHillicon Valley: Biden signs order on chips | Hearing on media misinformation | Facebook's deal with Australia | CIA nominee on SolarWinds House Rules release new text of COVID-19 relief bill Budowsky: Cruz goes to Cancun, AOC goes to Texas MORE (N.Y.), the third-ranking Democrat in the upper chamber, is also scratching his head.

"How the heck did it happen?" Schumer told reporters Thursday. "Just saying it was a little helicopter, or it's one person, or it was harmless does not answer these questions, and we need to know what happened." 

Pelosi said she works well with Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew Boehner Cruz hits back at Boehner for telling him to 'go f--- yourself' John Boehner tells Cruz to 'go f--- yourself' in unscripted audiobook asides: report Cancun fallout threatens to deal lasting damage to Cruz MORE (R-Ohio) on issues of Capitol security, and that any congressional oversight will transcend the partisan environment that practically defines the politics of Capitol Hill.

"We'll be working … in a non-partisan way," Pelosi said. "The Speaker and I have always valued [and] understood our responsibility [in] protecting the Capitol."