Federal Eye: Eye Opener: Violence at federal facilities

Happy Friday! Last night’s shooting at the main entrance of the Pentagon is the fourth attack or security scare at a federal facility this year.

A gunman opened fire and shot two police officers at the main entrance to the nation’s largest federal building on Thursday night. John Patrick Bedell, 36, calmly pulled a gun from his coat pocket and shot without saying a word before he was seriously wounded in a flurry of return fire, according to the civilian Pentagon Force Protection Agency. He died of his injuries early this morning.

Here’s information on the other isolated, unrelated attacks on federal buildings this year:

January 3: The Federal Bureau of Investigation reported that nine envelopes nine envelopes containing powder and a threatening letter were sent to congressional offices throughout Alabama. No lawmakers handled the letters or came anywhere near them. Investigators later
concluded the letters contained a fructose sugar substance.

January 4: A gunman opened fire in the lobby of the Lloyd D. George U.S. Federal Courthouse and Office Building, killing a security officer before he was fatally shot by federal officers. The building also housed local offices for Sens. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and John Ensign (R-Nev.)

February 18: A low-flying small plane crashed into an office building that housed Internal Revenue Service employees in Austin. The crash killed the pilot and one IRS employee and was the latest in a series of attacks on IRS facilities and workers.

A House panel will hold a hearing later this month to assess federal security measures — a conversation that will in part follow up on last summer’s Government Accountability Office report that revealed serious gaps in federal building security.

If you’re a federal worker, do you feel safe at your place of work? If you work or live near a federal facility, do you think it’s well protected? Do you think there are security gaps at your office?

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