False Alarm Led Bush to Underground Shelter
President Bush was rushed from the Oval Office to an underground shelter and Vice President Dick Cheney was taken to a secure location Wednesday on fears that an unidentified aircraft had entered restricted space near the White House. Officials said it was a false alarm.
The brief scare lasted only a few minutes before officials determined there was no threat, White House counselor Dan Bartlett said.
Some White House staff members were moved out of the West Wing and tourists were rushed from the East Wing and sent to the far side of a park across the street from the compound. Gun-toting Secret Service uniformed officers took up positions around the White House compound.
“There was an indication that an aircraft has entered the no-fly zone,” White House press secretary Scott McClellan said. “There’s an investigation to determine what it really was.”
“There was a report of a possible violation of restricted air space which has since been cleared and closed,” said Lorie Lewis, a spokeswoman for the Secret Service.
McClellan said Bush was working in the Oval Office at the time. Bush was taken to the underground bunker. He was there “a very short amount of time,” McClellan said.
President Bush was hustled into an underground shelter on Wednesday amid fears an aircraft had entered the restricted airspace around the White House, officials said. The Secret Service determined minutes later that it was a false alarm.
Vice President Dick Cheney also was moved to a secure location as heavily armed Secret Service agents cleared the area in front of the presidential mansion.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the president was in the underground bunker for a “very short amount of time.” He said he believed it was the first time Bush was taken to the shelter since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
“There were some precautionary measures that were taken. It was quickly learned that it was a false alarm and that all was clear in a very short amount of time,” McClellan said. “Everything is fine.”
Better safe than sorry.