Government worker who crashed drone on White House grounds was drinking: Report

Michael Walsh

A government employee learned an important lesson on Monday: Don’t drink and drone.

The unidentified man, who works for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), was imbibing while operating the drone that crashed on the White House's South Lawn shortly after 3 a.m. Monday, according to a report.

He lost control of his friend’s two-foot-long craft, called a "quadcopter," at an apartment near 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., officials told The New York Times.

He contacted the authorities after his friends told him about the media coverage his slip-up received.

The NGA released a statement Tuesday confirming that one of its employees was operating the drone while off the clock.

“I have confirmed that he was 100 percent off duty at the time,” NGA spokesman Don Kerr told Yahoo News.

His work is not at all related to drones or unmanned aerial vehicles, according to the agency.

“Even though the employee was using a personal item while off duty, the agency takes the incident very seriously and remains committed to promoting public trust and transparency,” the statement reads. 

The Secret Service is investigating the incident.

Kerr, citing the ongoing investigation, declined to comment on the reports of possible intoxication.

Other news outlets picked up on the story, and it went viral quickly. Soon after, people started chiming in with their opinions about drones on Twitter.

President Barack Obama  compared the drone to the kind available at Radio Shack during an interview with Fareed Zakaria of CNN in India.

"We don't yet have the legal structures and the architecture both globally and within individual countries to manage them the way that we need to," he said. 

Obama said he had asked the Federal Aviation Administration and other agencies to examine how we are regulating this new technology.

The commander in chief said drones can be incredibly useful for many different people, citing farmers and wildlife conservationists as examples.

But, he argued, federal agencies need to put an “architecture in place” that ensures drones will not pose of threat to citizens or violate their privacy.

Obama likened the recent progress in drone technology to that of cyberspace — drones “have the capacity to empower individuals in ways we couldn’t have imagined 10, 15 years ago.”