Stolen Plane Crashes on White House Lawn

Frank Eugene Corder died after the Cessna plane crashed two floors below the presidential bedroom.
5:24 | 09/22/14

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Transcript for Stolen Plane Crashes on White House Lawn
The White House the good news as President Clinton and his family are safe from Selma Blair tonight. The better news as they were sleeping across Pennsylvania Avenue at Blair house early this morning when White House security was penetrated. I don't think there's any question that there was a failure of security. And -- craft landed on the White House grounds. Now it turns out that the aircraft was not carrying explosives. In the apparent intention of the pilot was just to land. On the White House grounds. But if we had. The different event in which a terrorist were carrying. High explosives on that says the ones have -- two and his intention was to crash into the White House has a suicide bomber. And blow -- up. -- we would have had a major tragedy. This morning's events began with the theft of a Cessna airplane from a small airport north of Baltimore about sixty miles northeast to Washington. 38 year old frank corder stole the plane and headed south. Flying low and slow avoiding detection by the Washington area's military and civilian airport radar systems. And entering the aircraft exclusions all -- supposed to seal off the heart of America's capital city. Corder flew south along seventeenth street just above treetop level. Buzzing Blair house before hooking -- And descending directly over formal gardens and temporary bleachers although the White House south law. The suspect came down fifty feet short of the White House tearing up grouse and shattering against a 160. Year old magnolia tree. Builds of the plane scratched White House walls. Cracked a window and came to rest just two floors below the presidential bedroom. Dressed for his early morning dark the president briefly -- the wreckage and then later somberly reporters that the nation. We take this incident seriously because -- White House is the people's house. And it's the job of every president who lives here. To keep it safe and secure. Treasury undersecretary Ron noble through the army enviable task of telling the White House news media what -- -- twelve hours after the amount. Which was -- much so as noble predictive. He probably didn't get frustrated. You -- -- know today things that I don't have the answer to him and sure enough someone -- want the answer to the ultimate question. Can you tell us the best of your knowledge. -- -- -- That's precisely the sort of question I can't answer -- You know -- I can take anything. What went wrong one expert suspects human error because of the surface to air missile that was never fired. The stinger missile most probably would have -- the nose of the aircraft and destroyed the aircraft on impact their capital -- fallen. Short of the White House far shorter of the white out and actually did. Lot of other expert thinks the failure may be more systemic. -- -- tech threat defeating high -- White House security operations. Fair prepared to deal with the -- intruders but of a much higher technological sort. They do have surface to air missiles to deal with them they do have electronic. Detection systems. But all of those were designed for a much higher level of threat. The nightmare wrote nightmares says cannistraro. Is that a -- could deliver high tech explosives. A lot of terrorist groups do. Have access to this kind of explosive technologies. Because they work for states that sponsor terrorism and these states have made these. Explosives available. To the groups to carry out terrorist actions. The official records -- frank Eugene -- show no signs of terrorist intent. -- had been in trouble with police for drunk driving drug possession and left. He dropped out of Aberdeen high school after the tenth -- His army career lasted just nine months and his attempts to -- deploy -- harper county airport were shot down by his instructor Joseph -- Who'd been warned quarter have a drug. -- eight talked far out he was -- -- and it sort of he -- Champagne taste with -- Coca-Cola Walt -- brother John said Franken but -- by the recent death of their father and the breakup of his marriage. We're gosh how could you know we create the -- you know on this comic dramatic way to do things moment. You got half a guy gets really want to be on top -- I guess she's into -- out on top dog -- remembered something else about his brother. Which may be a clue to what happened this morning one time the mention about the -- -- in Red Square. Know how that guy made a big name for himself from everything land and in Red Square in the Kremlin. But to -- routes that troubled German teenager penetrated the Kremlin's billion rubles security system. Frank quarters terrorist credentials are no better but he too was forced all the world security experts to confront the uncomfortable fact. No president no White House can ever be perfectly protected. I'm Dave Marash for Nightline in Washington.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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