Doug Hughes – the Florida postman who piloted a gyrocopter onto the grounds of the U.S. Capitol Wednesday – was released Thursday after being charged with violating restricted airspace and operating an unregistered aircraft. Meanwhile, Congressional leaders voiced frustration with continued lapses in security in Washington.
The charges against Hughes could mean up to four years in prison for the 61-year-old. Hughes was allowed to return home after appearing in court Thursday, but the Justice Department requested multiple conditions for his release, according to CBS News. The conditions require him to subject himself to GPS monitoring, submit to home detention, abstain from the use of any aircraft, and give up his passport. He will also report to pretrial services in Tampa, Florida, on a weekly basis.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) addressed the media Thursday, stating her dissatisfaction with the level of security in Washington, especially after a string of Secret Service-related security breaches and embarrassments in the past few months.
"It's a stunning thing to think that we have that [exposure]," Pelosi said in a press conference. "I don't know how long that investigation will take, but we certainly need answers.”
The former House Speaker spoke about the difficulty in balancing security and accessibility in the Capitol.
"It's the constant balance of security and freedom — that's something we make a judgment in everything that we do," Pelosi said. "We don't want to be a place where we're saying this is an iron-clad Capitol, and have such restriction as to people [not] having access to it. Nonetheless, we have to ensure the safety of those people."
Pelosi was not alone as other key members of Congress echoed her frustration. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) called for another investigation into the incident, while Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) expressed confusion as to how Hughes could have been allowed to make it to the Capitol.
The gyrocopter landing is still under investigation by the U.S. Capitol Police as well as the House and Senate Sergeant at Arms.