The man piloting the unmanned drone that crashed on the White House lawn Monday morning had been drinking, authorities told the New York Times on Tuesday.
The government employee, whose name has not been released, turned himself into authorities after seeing news reports about the incident, which led to a lockdown at the White House and of nearby government buildings.
The newspaper reported the employee thought the drone might have touched down on the White House lawn – and told his friends - but then went home to sleep it off. The next morning he woke up to his friends telling him his drone had been on the news. The man then turned himself in to his employer, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and called the Secret Service to confess.
Even though the particular remote-controlled aircraft posed no real threat to the president, the event reignited debate on the danger of drones and their threat to national security.
President Obama used the incident to call for new regulatory measures around small unmanned aircraft.
Though the Federal Aviation Administration has rules on the books applying to small, piloted drones the agency lacks the enforcement and manpower to go after offenders, leaving public safety – for now – in the hands of local law enforcement.