Magazine article National Defense

Lack of Funding Leads to Federal Building Security Failures

Magazine article National Defense

Lack of Funding Leads to Federal Building Security Failures

Article excerpt

In a covert intrusion test, General Accountability Office investigators successfully penetrated 10 government facilities revealing widespread disorganization, and fundamental security failures within the Federal Protective Service (FPS).

The service, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, is responsible for the security of 9,000 government facilities. FPS employs approximately 15,000 security personnel who monitor all entry points and operate x-ray and surveillance equipment.

The GAO investigators were able to bring bomb components into all 10 facilities undetected, construct the improvised explosive devices in restrooms, and then carry them around the buildings in briefcases. The buildings were all ranked level 4 facilities on a scale from 1 to 5, with level 5 facilities being the most secure. Level 4 facilities security systems are second only to the White House, CIA headquarters and the Capitol.

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"FPS is essentially an agency in crisis ... A lack of resources has hampered them in not only having enough staff but in having enough ability to improve the technology component of risk mitigation as well," the GAO's Mark Goldstein told the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. …

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