Tidbits for Political Junkies with Short Attention Spans & Hearty Appetites


Wednesday, July 07, 2004


Utterly Amazing

Remember that evacuation of the capitol during Reagan's funeral week? You're not going to believe this:
The top general at the North American Aerospace Defense Command was on the telephone and prepared to order an F-16 fighter to shoot down an unidentified plane that turned out to be carrying the governor of Kentucky to President Ronald Reagan's funeral last month, according to two federal security officials briefed separately about the incident.

On June 9, the Beechcraft King Air was flying with a broken transponder, a device that transmits an identifying signal picked up by ground controllers. After takeoff, the pilot, as required, notified Federal Aviation Administration officials in Ohio about the problem at 2:56 p.m.

But the FAA failed to notify military and homeland security officials, who monitored separate radar displays, about the broken transponder. To everyone but the FAA, radars showed an unidentified intruder entering restricted Washington airspace at 4:24 p.m.

At 4:31 p.m., with the plane a minute or two from downtown Washington, officials ordered the evacuation of the U.S. Capitol, where thousands had gathered to await the arrival of Reagan's coffin.

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