Responses of Federal Agencies and Airports We Surveyed About Access Security Improvements
GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASHINGTON DC
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This letter responds to the Subcommittees December 2000 request that we determine what security improvements were implemented by federal agencies and airports as a result of the testimony we presented to the Subcommittee in May 2000 regarding security breaches at selected agencies and airports. Our May 25, 2000, testimony presented our findings with respect to the Subcommittees request that we investigate the potential security risk posed by the use of stolen or counterfeit law enforcement badges and credentials. The concern was that such badges and credentials, which are readily available for purchase on the Internet and from other public sources, could be used by criminals, terrorists, and foreign intelligence agents to gain access to secure government buildings and airports. To address these concerns, Office of Special Investigations agents conducted an undercover operation in April and May 2000 to gain entry into 19 federal sites and 2 commercial airports in the Washington, D.C., area and in Orlando, Florida. At each site, the agents carried bogus badges and credentials, declared themselves as armed law enforcement officers, and gained entry without submitting to magnetometer and x-ray screenings. Our agents were 100-percent successful in penetrating the 21 targeted sites, and at no time were their bogus credentials or badges challenged by anyone. Before the May 2000 hearing, we briefed agency officials on how we gained entry to their facilities.
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