Russian surveillance plane soars over the Pentagon, Capitol and other Washington sights

Katrina Barker
August 12, 2017

A Russian air force spy plane flew from Moscow to the US on Wednesday, buzzing over the nation's capital before making a pass over Bedminster, New Jersey, where President Donald Trump is now vacationing at one of his golf resorts.

The flight passed over downtown Washington at an altitude of 3,700 feet and then moved on to the Maryland base where Air Force One is based.

According to sources who spoke to CNN, the aircraft was also scheduled to visit the New Jersey town of Bedminster, where Donald Trump is now on vacation.

According to the Open Skies Treaty of 2002, 32 countries are aloud to fly, unarmed over the participating countries territories.

In 2014, military newspaper Stars and Stripes reported on USA military flights over Moscow and other parts of Russian Federation to take photos of military installations and equipment. The DTRA would not confirm Wednesday's Russian flights but said a typical mission conducted under the treaty has multiple flights taking place over several days.

The Russian flights, first reported by CNN, were conducted under the Open Skies Treaty, signed by 34 countries, including the United States and Russia.

In late July, a Russian spy plane was pictured flying a reconnaissance mission over one of Britain's top naval colleges, in another Open Skies flight.

US military personnel were allowed on the plane for observation and the plane has the capability of gathering intelligence, one person familiar with the flight told CNN.

The Pentagon says that before the flights, each state is given the flight plan of the mission and an escort team flies aboard the aircraft to make sure it complies with the treaty.

Jack Straw, who was British foreign secretary in 2002 when the treaty was signed, said: 'This is a reciprocal treaty which allows us to fly over Russian Federation.

Josh Schmidt is an editorial intern and is a native of the Washington D.C Metropolitan area.

"The treaty is created to enhance mutual understanding and confidence by giving all participants, regardless of size, a direct role in gathering information through aerial imaging on military forces and activities of concern to them", according to the State Department. The flights are meant to foster transparency about military activity, reduce mistrust or misunderstandings and help monitor arms control and other agreements.

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