White House Needs Better Defense

Tamara Lackey
This column was written by CBS News Early Show Co-Anchor Harry Smith.
Am I being picky? Am I just being one of those nut job, knee jerk over reactors, or did Hayden Sheaffer and Troy Martin teach us a little something yesterday?

Sheaffer and Martin are the guys from Pennsylvania who flew a single engine Cessna within three miles of the white house. They got a little lost on their way to North Carolina and the next thing you know -- a Black Hawk helicopter and two fighter jets were flying alongside them.

You know that feeling you get when you get pulled over by the state police -- multiply that by about a thousand -- and we might have a clue as to the emotions running through Sheaffer and Martin yesterday.

And hats off to the military for having the cool not to blast them to kingdom come.

Look, most everyone who goes to Washington gets lost. Tourists always do. And most elected representatives do as well. Tell me your congressperson doesn't look dazed and confused when he or she comes home for a visit. They can't wait to get back on the shuttle to Washington -- they like being lost.

But, I digress. Martin and Sheaffer performed an important public service. They showed that a couple of guys -- even guys who are clueless -- can get within spitting distance of the White House in a small plane. Now what if that plane were loaded with you know what? And was being piloted by you know who? Even I know that's not good.

We spend a lot of money on homeland security. A recent report says a lot of that money has been wasted. No we can't bubble wrap the White House, but we ought to be able to do better.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many CBS Radio News affiliates across the country.

By Harry Smith