Bush taken to bunker after airspace scare

REUTERS

Wed Apr 27, 2005

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush was hustled into an underground shelter on Wednesday amid fears an aircraft had entered the restricted airspace around the White House, officials said. The Secret Service determined minutes later that it was a false alarm.

Vice President Dick Cheney also was moved to a secure location as heavily armed Secret Service agents cleared the area in front of the presidential mansion.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the president was in the underground bunker for a "very short amount of time." He said he believed it was the first time Bush had been taken to the shelter since the September 11, 2001, attacks.

"There were some precautionary measures that were taken. It was quickly learned that it was a false alarm and that all was clear in a very short amount of time," McClellan said. "Everything is fine."

McClellan said the Secret Service was still investigating the cause of the false alarm. "They're looking into exactly what it was," he added.

Secret Service agents wielding shotguns dispersed tourists during the brief security scare.

On heightened alert after the September 11 airplane attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, the White House has had several similar false alarms involving aircraft.