GAO: Major Security Flaws at Federal Buildings
The Washington Post
The police agency in charge of protecting thousands of federal buildings nationwide has failed to keep bomb-making materials out of several high-security facilities in the past year, according to Congressional testimony provided by Senate aides. In the past year, investigators successfully smuggled bomb-making materials into ten high-security federal buildings, constructed bombs and walked around the buildings undetected, exposing weaknesses in security provided by the Federal Protective Service.
More than one million government employees work in 9,000 facilities guarded by FPS around the country, including at least 350,000 in the Washington region. The revelations come as the Obama administration prepares to reorganize the agency in the coming weeks.
Investigators carried liquid explosives and low-yield detonators — materials investigators note are not normally carried into federal buildings. The GAO said security concerns prevent it from revealing the exact locations or cities of the affected facilities, but that eight of them were government owned, while two were leased. They included offices of a U.S. senator and House member, as well as offices for the departments of Homeland Security, Justice and State, the GAO reported. In one instance, the GAO obtained a building security tape showing an investigator walking through a security checkpoint with bomb making materials.
In the past, security experts have criticized some GAO investigators for publicizing sensational findings or “sting” operations that are not based on intelligence-driven risk assessments. Investigators for the Congressional auditing agency stress however that they followed generally accepted government standards with this round of testing.