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Russian Air Force jet flies over the Pentagon, US Capitol and the CIA at low altitude

August 10, 2017

An unarmed Russian jet flew over U.S. landmarks this week at a low altitude, including the Pentagon, the U.S. Capitol, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Joint Base Andrews.

The Wednesday flyover was permitted and known in advance, and is part of the Treaty on Open Skies. The treaty allows U.S. and Russian military aircraft to fly aerial observation flights over the other nation, observing military sites from the air.

A Russian Air Force Tupolev Tu-154 flew at about 3,700 feet over downtown Washington, D.C., as well as over Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, which is home to Air Force One.

The jet was also authorized to enter the secure airspace above the White House, known as P-56.

U.S. Air Force personnel were onboard the flight, CNN reported; someone familiar with the U.S. government-approved flight said the aircraft is capable of a variety of intelligence gathering.

The Open Skies Treaty has existed since 2002. More than 1,200 flights have taken place under the treaty, “which contributes to verification of compliance with arms control agreements,” according to the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency, CNN reported.