Dennis Bernstein catchs up with Cynthia McKinney

Thursday March 13, 2008

Dennis Bernstein of KPFA's Flashpoints welcomes Green Party presidential candidate and former congresswoman Cynthia McKinney

(17 Minutes - 5.27 Meg)

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Off Topic: NORAD

Plane Flies Too Close to Capitol in D.C.

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A single-engine airplane violated restricted airspace around the nation's capital Wednesday and got to within six miles of the U.S. Capitol building before being diverted, the Federal Aviation Administration said. The airspace violation prompted security officials to temporarily raise the threat level from yellow to orange and order personnel in the Capitol building to prepare to evacuate, but the incident was resolved before an evacuation was ordered.

A propeller-driven Cessna 177, which had taken off from Carroll County airport in north-central Maryland, entered restricted airspace 30 miles north of Washington at 12:12 p.m. EDT at 1,800 feet with no radio, FAA spokesman Hank Price said. The intruding aircraft reached a point six miles northwest of the Capitol building before being diverted and escorted by interceptor aircraft to Leesburg, Va., airport where it landed at 12:44 p.m.,

Capitol Police Sgt. Kimberly Schneider said the pilot was being interviewed at the Leesburg facility. Michael Kucharek, a spokesman with North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, said two F-16s were scrambled to intercept the plane as it headed south from Maryland.

A Coast Guard helicopter also was involved in the intercept and escort of the Cessna, according to Lt. Gene Maestas, spokesman for the guard's Mid-Atlantic region. NORAD also used a laser system that visually warns pilots they are in a restricted area, Kucharek said. The pilot turned west and landed at an airport in suburban Leesburg, Va., while under escort from the fighter jets.

The Capitol was not evacuated, but tourists were turned away for a time. The threat level was soon returned to yellow, or elevated and later, green - or low threat - according to police and other officials. White House press secretary Dana Perino said the White House was notified. "There was an aircraft that entered into the airspace that there was some concern about, but the aircraft turned around," she said. "We are at normal security levels here at the White House." -

--Associated Press Writer Michael J. Sniffen contributed to this report.



"A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves" – Edward R. Murrow


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