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Media Advisory: GSA Continues Heightened Security at Federal Buildings

September 21, 2001

Viki Reath (202) 501-1499
viki.reath@gsa.gov


The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) continues its heightened level of security at Federal buildings across the country. This includes increased patrols, restricted outside parking, increased checks and searches, and other measures. We regret any inconvenience this may cause our tenants and visitors to our buildings.

Using people, technology and intelligence, GSA will do everything reason compels to protect our employees and visitors in public buildings, and at the same time keep them open to the public they serve.

Since the Oklahoma City bombing, we've spent $1.2 billion on security upgrades involving those three ingredients. We've enhanced the visible security presence and increased inspections in and around federal buildings. This activity has caused some inconvenience for the public, and our challenge is to continue to enhance security without succumbing to a bunker mentality and denying the public legitimate access to their buildings.

People

With the support of Congress, GSA has consolidated authority for our Federal Protective Service divisions in one office, which results in improved accountability, consistency and effectiveness.

We've doubled the size of our uniformed security force and contract guards for a combined total of nearly 8,100 security-related personnel.

We've increased training and upgraded standards and qualifications for federal officers and contract guards. We also have strengthened pre-employment standards, testing and training, and quality control.

Technology

Following an interagency review immediately after the Oklahoma City bombing, GSA made more than 8,000 specific improvements, including installation of thousands of additional security cameras, x-ray machines, metal detectors and other devices.

Overall, equipment has become more sophisticated and cost-effective over time. We have smaller, less visible, monitoring cameras with better transmission. Magnetometers and x-ray machines are easier to operate, more reliable and more easily adjustable. In years past, they were big and awkward. Today, when you walk through them they're almost invisible.

We have instituted a mix of visible and invisible security measures that enable us to communicate a sense of protection, while at the same time helping to make buildings more friendly.

We've incorporated security enhancements in the design and construction phases of all new projects.

We've consolidated communication control centers into four, state-of-the art Megacenters.

Intelligence

Since Oklahoma City, intelligence has taken on heightened importance in deterring threats. GSA is a member of the federal intelligence-sharing network.

As we strengthen our focus on reducing threats to the Federal workplace, we prepare for all possibilities, from thefts, the most common, to terrorism, the most rare, and for the threats of workplace violence that fall between the extremes.

We've increased the emphasis on our Threat Identification Program, including participating in the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Forces. The program focuses on decreasing threats through a Regional Threat Assessment Program, which emphasizes greater use of counter-intelligence methods and intelligence sharing among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.