Week ahead: Agencies face grilling over gyrocopter

The gyrocopter that evaded security and landed on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol will be the focus of a heated congressional hearing on Wednesday.

Furious with the security breakdown in their own backyard, lawmakers will grill the Secret Service, U.S. Capitol Police and Federal Aviation Administration for answers.

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The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing will provide an opportunity for lawmakers to consider whether new regulations are needed to close loopholes in security exploited by the gyrocopter.

House Oversight Chairman Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzCongress's latest hacking investigation should model its most recent Fox News Audio expands stable of podcasts by adding five new shows The myth of the conservative bestseller MORE (R-Utah) has said that Doug Hughes, the postman who piloted the gyrocopter, “should have been blown out of the air.”

“He’s lucky to be alive, because he should have been blown out of the air and very well could have been,” Chaffetz told reporters.

Chaffetz criticized the security agencies for not doing more to stop the gyrocopter before it reached the Capitol lawn. In a briefing with lawmakers, the Secret Service and Capitol Police said they were tracking the flight, but did not want to shoot it down above a populated area where it could have injured people on the ground.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), the committee’s top Democrat, called it a “wake-up call.”

The lawmakers said at the very least they should have been notified about the security threat, even though officials decided not to shoot it down.

Hughes, a postman, flew the gyrocopter to the steps of Congress to deliver letters about campaign finance reform to lawmakers.

According to reports, Hughes notified authorities of the trip in advance.

In other news, the Supreme Court on Tuesday will hear arguments in what could be a landmark ruling on gay marriage. The justices are considering the constitutionality of state bans on same-sex marriage and whether states are required to recognize same sex-marriage licenses from other states under the 14th Amendment.

 

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