WASHINGTON - 10 August 2017: A low-flying Russian spy plane was spotted Wednesday over parts of Washington, D.C., and Bedminster, New Jersey, where US President Donald Trump is vacationing at his Trump National Golf Course - but the flight had been approved under a long-standing global treaty, officials said.
The Russian spy plane, Tupolev Tu-154M, flew near the golf resort at 4,000 feet, and then climbed to 5,000 feet before flying into New York airspace, two US defense officials told Fox News.
One of the officials said the Russian jet flew through the Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) airspace that was established around the golf club.
The plane was permitted to fly through the TFR under the Open Skies Treaty, which allows unarmed observation flights over the entire territory of all 34 member nations, of which Russia and the US are both signatories.
"There would have been action taken if the Russians were not allowed to be there," said one official who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with the media.
There have been more than 1,200 Open Skies flights since the treaty became enforced in 2002. According to the Pentagon, the flights are conducted by unarmed observation aircraft equipped with certain types of film and sensors that are certified under the treaty.
The Pentagon said 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. After each flight, the host nation gets a copy of any imagery taken by the observation aircraft.