Gyrocopter Landing on Capitol Lawn Exposed 'Vulnerability,' Says Homeland Security Chair

Rep. Mike McCaul said authorities ready if aircraft came closer to Capitol.

Hughes was met by Capitol police officers, who quickly arrested him.

“Had it got any closer to the Capitol, they were prepared to shoot down the aircraft,” McCaul said.

Hughes told reporters Sunday he expected to be stopped along the way to the Capitol, but McCaul said the gyrocopter was missed by radar monitoring the secured airspace.

“I think part of the problem is these small, ultra-light aircraft are very difficult to detect, can fly under the radar as this one did … That is the real threat,” McCaul said. “I think it exposed a vulnerability … that the terrorists, I think, can exploit.”

“He said something big was going to happen. He was plotting to attack a military installation, possibly in Texas,” McCaul said. “What's most significant about this case -- it's the first foreign fighter case we've seen of an American citizen traveling to Syria, training with al Qaeda, al Nusra, and then returning to the United States under instructions by al Qaeda operatives to conduct a terrorist attack on American soil.”

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