WASHINGTON -- President Bush was rushed from the Oval Office to an underground shelter, and Vice President Dick Cheney was taken to a secure location yesterday on fears that an unidentified aircraft had entered restricted space near the White House. Officials said it was a false alarm.
The brief scare lasted a few minutes, before officials determined there was no threat, White House communications adviser Dan Bartlett said.
The incident was sparked by a blip on a radar screen, but no aircraft entered restricted air space, said Brian Roehrkasse, a Homeland Security Department spokesman. Helicopters scrambled to investigate confirmed the lack of errant aircraft, he said.
Secret Service spokesman Jonathan Cherry said: ''There was a report of a possible violation of restricted air space, which has since been cleared."
Some White House staff members were moved out of the West Wing, and tourists were rushed from the East Wing and sent to the far side of a park across the street from the compound. Gun-toting Secret Service uniformed officers took up positions around the White House compound.
White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Bush was working in the Oval Office at the time and was taken to the underground bunker. The president was there briefly, McClellan said.
Cheney was taken from the White House to a secure location, McClellan said, and was brought back inside the compound minutes after the situation was resolved. The last known time Bush was taken to the underground shelter was the night of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.