Multiple Air Traffic Controllers in New York heard a threat communicated over restricted frequencies on Monday. The unknown persons said “We are flying a plane into the Capitol on Wednesday. Soleimani will be avenged.”
It is unclear who sent the threat. The FBI is investigating, but at this time does not believe the threat is credible. The action is a crime due to making a threat and breaching restricted aviation frequencies. The Pentagon and other agencies were briefed. The FAA sent a note to Air Traffic Controllers reminding them that any plane deviating from its flight path or any threat is to be reported immediately.
Soleimani refers to former Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated in a US drone strike a year ago. Wednesday is the day Congress is scheduled to meet to count Electoral College results, and multiple protests are scheduled in DC that day.
Washington DC already has a permanent airspace restriction of 30 miles from Reagan Airport. Flying drones is illegal within 15 miles of the city without written FAA permission. If the authorities determine the threat is credible, the airspace restriction may be temporarily extended. Air Force Fighter Jets at Andrews Air Force Base are on a standby of no less than 15 minutes to respond to airspace intrusions over DC.
At this time, the threat may be intended to disrupt Congress from certifying the election results.
While possible, without further information this threat does not appear credible.
The E-ISAC will continue to monitor this situation and provide relevant updates when necessary. If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to us at email@example.com or at 202-790-6000.
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