The White House and US Capitol building were both put on lockdown after protected airspace over Washington DC was breached. Fighter jets were scrambled and sent into the air to intercept what they believed to be an aircraft shortly before 9am EST on Tuesday morning, according to NBC News. Staff working in both buildings were told to ‘shelter in place,’ and the North Lawn of the White House was cleared. The lockdown on both was lifted again shortly after 9:10am EST. The Pentagon have since said the lockdown was caused by a radar ‘blip’ and that they were unable to find any aircraft after sending jets up. President Trump is believed to be in Washington DC at the time. Fox News originally reported that the alert was triggered by an aircraft moving east across the city, which violated protected air space.
The White House’s briefing room was locked during the drama, according to reporters on the scene. A spokesman for the US Northern Command, which oversees defense efforts, said: ‘Senior officials across the interagency are monitoring the situation on a national event conference call. ‘NORAD Command aircraft are on site and responding. Plane is not considered hostile at this time.’ A Secret Service spokesman added: ‘The White House was locked down this morning due to a potential violation of the restricted airspace in the National Capital Region. ‘The lockdown has been lifted at this time.’ Airspace around Washington DC was dramatically tightened in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, which saw Al-Qaeda terrorists fly a hijacked Boeing 757 into the Pentagon, killing 125.