Graham Questions Why Police Didn’t Shoot Down the Gyrocopter

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Posted April 15, 2015 at 8:06pm

Sen. Lindsey Graham says the gyrocopter that prompted a security scare after landing on the West Front of the Capitol Wednesday should have been taken out while in the air.  

“He should have been subject to being shot out of the sky. I don’t know why he wasn’t, but our nation is under siege. Radical Islam is a threat to our homeland. There are probably radical Islamic cells in our backyard already,” the South Carolina Republican said. “And if somebody is willing to, you know, approach vital government infrastructure, they should do so at their own peril.”  

Graham made his comments during an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt.  

“I don’t know if he’s mentally ill. I’m glad he’s alive in that regard, if he’s mentally ill, but we’ve got to be more serious about our national security,” Graham said.  

Capitol Police confirmed Wednesday that Douglas Mark Hughes of Florida was arrested after landing the gyrocopter on the lawn outside the Capitol building. An assortment of law enforcement agencies are said to be involved in the investigation, including the Secret Service, Park Police and the Postal Inspection Service.  

The incident is the latest to take place amid turmoil within the Capitol Police.  

Speaking more generally about terrorist threats, Graham said “without any doubt” there’s a higher risk of a 9/11-style attack than there was before President Barack Obama took office.  

“There are more terrorist organizations, some large enough to be an army, with more capability, with more safe haven, with more men, equipment and money to attack the homeland than before 9/11,” Graham said. “The nightmare of all nightmares is for a radical Islamic organization to acquire a weapon of mass destruction. The only reason they killed 3,000 of us on 9/11 and not 3 million, Hugh, is they couldn’t get the weapons to do so. And if you’ll let the Iranians go down the nuclear road, I’m afraid they will share that technology with a terrorist organization, and it will be a bad day for America and our allies.”  

Graham is exploring the possibility of a run for the White House in 2016, telling CQ Roll Call earlier this week that he expects to make a decision in late May.  

A clip of Hewitt’s interview with Graham appears below:  

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