From the Pentagon to governor officers to thumb drives, law enforcement, private security and Homeland Security officials are reacting to escalating threats, primarily from Americans angry at federal, state and local governments and officials.
Pentagon officials announced new security measures last Thursday that include more random screening of visitors and Defense Department workers, a wider security perimeter and more lighting around the building’s main entrance, after a shooting incident there last month that left the gunman dead and two police officers injured. The changes will be most noticeable at the busy southeast side of the building near the Metro station, according to the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, which has installed more lighting and positioned police officers closer to the station’s escalators. “We’ve had a lot of things in place here since 9/11, but the March 4th incident and other incidents have caused us to really look at this,” the PFPA Director said in reference to the March shooting and last year’s massacre at Fort Hood, Texas, in which 13 people were fatally shot.
A federal intelligence note is warning police that an anti-government group’s call to remove dozens of sitting governors may encourage others to act out violently. A group that calls itself the Guardians of the free Republics has a plan to “restore America” by peacefully dismantling parts of the government, according to its Web site. As of last Wednesday, more than 30 governors had received letters demanding they leave office within three days or they will be removed, according to an internal intelligence note by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, which was obtained by The Associated Press. Investigators do not see threats of violence in the group’s message, but fear the broad call for removing top state officials could inspire others to act out violently.
In addition, the military services are working out security policies for thumb drive use. The Air Force does not expect to have a policy governing the use of flash media such as thumb drives in place until October and will allow their use only under carefully controlled circumstances, the service’s team leader responsible for flash media said. The Army and Navy could not provide a date when their flash media policies would go into effect, but spokesmen for both services emphasized they are taking a slow and deliberate approach, evaluating technical as well as financial issues. The Strategic Command, which has responsibility for cybersecurity throughout the Defense Department banned the use of flash media on military computers and networks in November 2008 because adversaries had found ways to use gadgets such as thumb drives to infect Defense networks with software containing malicious bugs. In February, STRATCOM revised its policy to allow flash media as a “last resort for operational requirements.” The revised policy required the services to develop their own guidelines.More information on protecting government buildings at www.securitymagazine.com