MARCH 06, 2006
The Department of Homeland Security claims to have a high-level strategic plan that will lead the unified national effort to secure America and deter terrorist attacks, but ironically it can’t seem to secure its own Washington headquarters.
The private guards in charge of protecting the agency’s complex, located in a residential area only miles from the busy streets that house the Capitol, FBI and Treasury Department, have admitted that security is dismal and officials are vulnerable to a terrorist attack.
Among the problems are that the guards have no training in responding to attacks with weapons of mass destruction; chemical-sniffing dogs have been replaced with ineffective equipment that falsely indicates the presence of explosives; vehicle entrances to Homeland Security’s complex are lightly guarded; guards with radios have trouble hearing each other, or have no radios, no batons and no pepper spray.
Homeland Security officials don’t seem terribly concerned and say that they have little control over the guards’ training since the company, Wackenhut, is responsible for it.
A few years ago, the Energy Department inspector general concluded that Wackenhut guards had thwarted simulated terrorist attacks at a nuclear lab only after they were tipped off to the test and that guards improperly handled the transport of nuclear and conventional weapons. Eye on Wackenhut has documented the company’s problems through the years and even has a whistle blower page.
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