Officials Defend Actions After Plane Strays Into Washington Airspace - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

5/12/05- Washington, D.C.

Officials Defend Actions After Plane Strays Into Washington Airspace

Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge is praising the government's response to a small plane that strayed into restricted airspace above the nation's capital.

Appearing on N-B-C's "Today" show, Ridge called yesterday's operation a success. He says the system detected a potential threat that was averted by a "successful intervention."

He notes officials saw the small plane for what it was and took the proper action.

Ridge says evacuations at the White House and other government buildings occurred out of an "abundance of caution."

A spokesman for NORAD tells A-B-C there would have been time to shoot the plane down, if necessary -- even though it was only a minute or two away from the White House.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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