Downing Aircraft

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The Homeland Security Department is considering whether to seek authority to shoot down errant planes around the nation's capital.

That's according to an internal memo obtained by The Associated

The issue arose at a meeting of Homeland Security officials that focused on this month's brief scare when a lost Cessna flew into restricted airspace. The plane was intercepted by U-S Customs helicopters and military fighter jets before it turned away -- even as officials discussed shooting it down.

Hundreds of general aviation aircraft mistakenly enter the restricted zone every year. But some Customs helicopters don't have the authority to fire warning or disabling shots, while some US Coast Guard aircraft already do.