D.C. Scare Proves to Be Effective Test of Alert System

Former DHS Secretary Ridge says security response was fast, appropriate


"They were navigating by sight and were lost," Justice Department spokesman Kevin Madden said. The men were identified as Hayden Sheaffer of Lititz, Pa., and Troy Martin of Akron, Pa., who were on their way to an air show in Lumberton, N.C.

Homeland Security officials said the alarm marked the first time the public has been told that terror alert levels were raised to red.

At the White House, the Secret Service raised the alert level to red for eight minutes, starting at 12:03 p.m., as the Cessna moved within 10 miles, presidential spokesman Scott McClellan said. Vice President Dick Cheney, first lady Laura Bush and former first lady Nancy Reagan, overnighting at the White House for a special event, were moved to secure locations.

Capitol Police put the Capitol on red alert at 12:04 p.m. Lawmakers, tourists and reporters raced out of the building, dodging the speeding motorcades of Latin American leaders who had been meeting with members of Congress. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., was hustled to a secure location. Police, rushing to get House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi out of the building, lifted her out of her shoes.

At the Supreme Court, guards told some people to leave the building while others were shepherded into the underground parking garage. Neither the Defense nor State departments were evacuated.

Ridge said individual judgments were made at each of the federal facilities. "The appropriate buildings were evacuated," he said.

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Associated Press writers Mark Scolforo in Harrisburg, Pa., Erin Gartner in Denver and Mark Sherman in Washington contributed to this report.