One dead as police fire on car in incident at US spy HQ

Agence France-Presse

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An FBI spokeswoman says the incident at Fort Meade, the NSA's super-secure base in suburban Maryland, was not believed to be 'related to terrorism'

INTEL HQ. The National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland, as seen from the air, January 29, 2010. Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP

FORT MEADE, USA – US police opened fire and one suspect died Monday, March 30, after two men dressed in women’s clothing tried to ram their car onto the grounds of the National Security Agency outside Washington.

One police officer and a second suspect were hurt in the incident, said the National Security Agency’s director for strategic communications, Jonathan Freed.

It was not immediately clear whether the suspects were shot or wounded when their car crashed into a police security vehicle. 

A US official confirmed reports the men were wearing women’s clothing. 

An FBI spokeswoman said the incident at Fort Meade, the electronic eavesdropping agency’s super-secure base in suburban Maryland, was not believed to be “related to terrorism.”

Officials said the drama was quickly contained and NSA headquarters staff were not at risk, but it will inevitably recall similar recent security incidents at federal sites.

According to Freed, a vehicle carrying two individuals was directed to turn back after it made an unauthorized attempt to enter the base.

Instead, the car accelerated toward an NSA vehicle blocking the road. Police opened fire, but the car crashed into the security truck.

“One of the unauthorized vehicle’s occupants died on the scene. The cause of death has not been determined,” Freed said, in a statement.

“One NSA police officer was injured and taken to a local hospital. The incident was contained to the vehicle control point.”

The FBI has taken charge of the investigation and the White House said President Barack Obama had been briefed on the situation. 

News footage from helicopters showed the crash-damaged police vehicle and a civilian vehicle outside a main gate, and an injured person being transferred to an ambulance. 

No terror link seen

The FBI said it has opened an investigation, joining other law enforcement agencies and deploying agents to the scene to gather evidence and interview witnesses.

“The shooting scene is contained and we do not believe it is related to terrorism,” said Amy Thoreson, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s Baltimore office.

“We are working with the US attorney’s office in Maryland to determine if federal charges are warranted,” she said.

About 11,000 military personnel and 29,000 civilians work at Fort Meade, which also houses the headquarters of the US Cyber Command and other military units.

Fort Meade said all personnel and residents on the base were safe.

Security at US federal installations has been under scrutiny in recent months after a number of incidents, including one in which a troubled veteran wielding a knife vaulted a fence and sprinted into the White House.

In another incident, a private civilian drone crashed into the grounds of the executive mansion, leading authorities to ban their use within the capital.

Most of the incidents have proved minor, but in September 2013, a lone gunman stormed a naval command center in the Washington Navy Yard and killed 12 people before he was in turn slain by police.

The NSA specializes in code breaking and electronic surveillance, operating a global network of satellite surveillance, land listening stations and online data collection.

It has been the focus of intense controversy since mid-2013, when former contractor Edward Snowden revealed the huge scope of its eavesdropping in a leak to the media.

Washington has denounced Snowden’s document dump and subsequent flight to Russia, but Obama’s administration has agreed to reform some of rules governing data interception. –

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