Look What The Wind Blew In...

(CBS)
Sharyl Attkisson is the Capitol Hill Correspondent for CBS News.
Post-9/11, it doesn't take much to get security riled up on Capitol Hill.

This morning, it was a parachutist.

The parachutist (later described by police as a "blimp", though I saw a man hanging from a glider type parachute) was floating silently toward the Capitol building where Capitol police went on alert.

Was it a bird? A plane? Would he fly over the Capitol? Would he try to land on the grounds? Would he try to light on the Capitol building itself?
What was he carrying? Could he be dangerous?

Sharp shooters who are perpetually stationed at the Capitol would've been ready...if it was necessary.

But it wasn't.

Police determined he may have been powering his floater with a small fan, that he may have been carrying a camera, and that he may have been trying to take aerial photos of nearby RFK stadium.

The whole thing blew over.

This did bring up another topic of discussion, though.

Will police ever be able to really avert a terrorist attack before it happens? If the parachutist had come too close to the Capitol, if police weren't able to determine who he was, what he was doing and whether he was dangerous...should they shoot?

They probably wouldn't.

And if he turned out to be strapped with a hidden bomb, we'd all just be out of luck.

But if they did shoot and he just turned out to be a nut, or somebody off course, the fall-out would be unimaginable.

The Capitol police sometimes feel as though they're between a rock and a hard place. When split seconds count and tough decisions have to be made, which decisions will really be made?

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    Sharyl Attkisson is a CBS News investigative correspondent based in Washington.

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