Thursday, July 09, 2009

New Report: How Safe are you in a Federal Building?


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Guard Camera  GAO

Guard Camera GAO

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Do you feel safe when you walk into a Federal Building?  Following 9/11 one would think with the Department of Homeland Securities Federal Protective Service was designed to provide high safty standards to Ffederal employees and those who utilize Federal Buildings.  Some on the Hill care calling the agency, "The Federal Unprotecteive Service" 

The GAO Sting captured video of  a guard sleeping at a high level check point while on pain killers,  viewing Adult Web sites and carrying on a porn business on government computers, even more appalling rather then going thrrough proper procedures for getting a baby through a check point, the Security Officer passed the baby through a liuggage type X-ray machine. 

Senatior Susan Collins (R-Me) GAO: Untrained guards mean unprotected Feds

"The Federal Protective Service is a key component of our nation's security. Every day FPS officers and the agency's contracted security guards protect nearly 9,000 federal facilities, the people who work in them, and the visitors who come to them to access vital government services," Sen. Susan Collins, R-Me., ranking member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Issues said yesterday during a hearing on the subject. "In this post 9-11 world that we are now living in, I cannot fathom how security breaches of this magnitude were allowed to occur."

Ten level-four federal buildings were included in the study and these included offices of a senator, a representative, and agencies of the departments of Homeland Security, State and Justice, according to Mark Goldstein, the director of Physical Infrastructure Issues for the GAO. Level four buildings have the most security of all federal office buildings, second only to the White House and the Capitol.

"Our investigators used publicly available information to identify a type of device that a terrorist could use to cause damage to a federal facility and threaten the safety of federal workers and the general public," Goldstein said. "In a number of the locations, three or four of them, the guards were not even looking at the screens that would show the materials passing through. In only one instance did a guard ask about something that our investigator was carrying, a brief explanation and that guard let it go through."

Mark L. Goldstien Responds to Congress

The recent sting by the Government Accountability Office exposed lax security procedures by the Federal Protective Service, the agency tasked with guarding more than 1 million workers at 9,000 federal buildings nationwide.

Mark L. Goldstein, who led the investigation, told lawmakers that his team carried bombmaking materials into 10 high-security federal buildings in the past year. The materials could be purchased in stores or online and cost roughly $150. Once inside, investigators assembled bombs in restrooms and then walked around with them, undetected. In only one instance did a security guard question an investigator carrying suspicious materials.

"One of the concerns we had is that in a number of the locations, three or four of them, guards were not even looking at the screens that would show materials passing through. If a guard had been looking, they would have seen materials not normally brought into a federal building," Goldstein said.

Chairman Sen. Joseph Lieberman, (I-Conn) Told Fox News that he used to feel safe in Government Buildings until he recieved the GAO report.  Lieberman said the GAO's probe included such troubling findings as a report that 73 percent of FPS contract guards lacked valid certifications and a report that one security guard allowed a baby to pass through an X-ray machine -- breaches in security he said make the country vulnerable to terrorist attack.  Lieberman said the guard, who was later fired, filed a lawsuit and won after FPS could not provide sufficient proof that he had been properly trained.  The GAO report found that a vast majority of security guards received no X-ray or metal detection training at all.

Chairman Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., said that in all his years of reading GAO reports, this one represented "about the broadest indictment of an agency in the federal government I've heard."

Testers smuggle bomb parts into buildings; official takes blame

A contrite head of the Federal Protective Service took the blame Wednesday for security lapses that allowed covert investigators to sneak bomb components into 10 federal government buildings.

A GAO report cites lax security in federal buildings after investigators got bomb components past guards.

Plainclothes investigators testing the effectiveness of private contract guards at federal office buildings were able to smuggle in bomb components in all 10 attempts. Only one investigator was stopped and questioned, but he was allowed to pass with the components of a liquid bomb.

Once inside the facilities, the testers assembled the bombs in restrooms, put them in briefcases and "walked freely" into government offices, according to the Government Accountability Office.  


Full Report -  GAO-08-476T Homeland Security:

Video Watch undercover agent smuggle bomb »

Gary W. Schenkel
Director of the Federal Protective Service
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AudioPlayer.embed("ap_1", { soundFile:'', titles:'click here to fast forward', width:278 });

Mark Goldstein
Director of Physical Infrastructure Issues, GAO
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