Security Flaws Found at Federal Buildings

By Ed O’Keefe
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Investigators from the Government Accountability Office over the past year successfully smuggled bomb-making materials into 10 high-security federal buildings, constructed bombs and walked around undetected, according to GAO testimony set to be delivered today.

The investigation uncovered critical weaknesses in protection provided to workers by the Federal Protective Service, the agency in charge of safeguarding federal buildings.

More than 1 million government employees work in 9,000 facilities nationwide tha t are guarded by the FPS, including at least 350,000 Washington area workers. The revelation comes as the administration prepares to reorganize the agency.

The GAO said security concerns prevent it from revealing the exact locations of the facilities. They included offices of lawmakers as well as offices for the Homeland Security, Justice and State departments.

In the past, security experts have criticized some GAO investigators for publicizing sensational findings that are not based on intelligence-driven risk assessments, but the GAO stressed that it followed generally accepted government standards.

Staff writer Spencer S. Hsu contributed to this report.