The chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee is calling for an investigation of the incident involving a gyrocopter pilot who flew into restricted airspace and landed on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.
“I am deeply concerned that someone has the ability to fly for over an hour through the most restricted airspace in our country, past the White House, and land on the lawn of the Capitol. Mr. Hughes has been arrested and charged under the Transportation Act,” Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonA pandemic of hyper-hypocrisy is infecting American politics Sen. Ron Johnson hoping for Democratic 'gridlock' on reconciliation package Republicans' mantra should have been 'Stop the Spread' MORE (R-Wis.) said in a statement.
“I am investigating this incident and I am requesting a full accounting by all federal organizations entrusted with securing the United States from this and similar events,” Johnson continued. “While Mr. Hughes’ guilt or innocence must still be determined by the courts, the apparent details serve as a reminder that the risk to America and Americans is ever present.”
The pilot of the gyrocopter, Doug Hughes, is a postal worker from Florida who wanted to make a statement about campaign finance reform by delivering letters to Congress.
Hughes, 61, had warned on Wednesday he would fly his small gyrocopter to the Capitol to deliver letters in person to lawmakers to demand that they take up campaign finance reform.
The landing of the gyrocopter triggered a brief lockdown at the Capitol while raising new questions about security around the complex.
The gyrocopter set down on the lawn shortly after 1 p.m. It appeared to be adorned with the logo of the U.S. Postal Service.
Reporters and security personnel flocked to the scene, and police later said the pilot of the aircraft had been arrested.
— David McCabe and Vicki Needham contributed to this report.