Wednesday, July 8, 2009

GAO Smuggles IED Materials in Federal Buildings, Citing Security Gaps

Via FoxNews -

Government investigators smuggled bomb-making materials into federal buildings past the police agency charged with protecting those buildings and found numerous other gaps in security, according to a congressional report.

The Government Accountability Office said investigators carried bomb-making materials past security at 10 federal buildings. Security at these buildings and a total of about 9,000 federal buildings around the country is provided by the Federal Protective Service, a target of the probe.

Once GAO investigators got the materials in the buildings, the report said, they constructed explosive devices and carried them around inside. For security reasons, the GAO report did not give the location of the buildings.

The report was made available to The Associated Press in advance of a hearing scheduled Wednesday of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.


GAO-09-859T - Preliminary Results Show Federal Protective Service's Ability to Protect Federal Facilities Is Hampered By Weaknesses in Its Contract Security Guard Program (PDF)

Here are some of the juicy highlights which I found interesting....
  • A guard was caught using government computers, while he was supposed to be standing post, to further his private for-profit adult website.
  • A guard failed to recognize or did not properly x-ray a box containing semi-automatic handguns at the loading dock at one federal facility we visited. FPS only became aware of the situation because the handguns were delivered to FPS.
But the details of the covert IED testing show the real threat...
We identified substantial security vulnerabilities related to FPS’s guard program. Each time they tried, in April and May 2009, our investigators successfully passed undetected through security checkpoints monitored by FPS’s guards, with the components for an IED concealed on their persons at 10 level IV facilities in four cities in major metropolitan areas.

The specific components for this device, items used to conceal the device components, and the methods of concealment that we used during our covert testing are classified, and thus are not discussed in this testimony. Of the 10 level IV facilities we penetrated, 8 were government owned and 2 were leased facilities. The facilities included field offices of a U.S Senator and U.S. Representative as well as agencies of the Departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Health and Human Services, Justice, State and others. The two leased facilities did not have any guards at the access control point at the time of our testing.

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