from danger room: There are all kinds of stories about how the White House is defended. One urban legend says Stinger anti-aircraft missiles are supposedly perched on the roof. According to this 1998 report by Human Rights Watch, Pennsylvania Avenue may be protected by a laser weapon, meant to ward off 9/11-style suicide attacks…
The latest version is the Compact High Power (CHP) Laser Dazzler, described as a 500 Milliwatt, 532nm Green Flashing Laser. As with the WWII dazzling strobelights, the flashing is said to increase effectiveness and produce disorientation in the target. It is effective out to a one-mile range, and has been urgently requested in Iraq as an alternative to lethal means of stopping drivers approaching checkpoints.
We do not know whether the Secret Service had such lasers to protect the White House on 9/11 – or if they have them now. Beyond the 1998 report, there’s not much evidence. But we do know that in 2001 the makers were touting a bigger version of their Dazzler to the Navy. It was ten times as powerful as the handheld model, and was suitable for use on ships and other in “area defense” situations.
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