FBI Rules out Terrorism in Shooting at NSA Headquarters

FBI Rules out Terrorism in Shooting at NSA Headquarters

Wednesday, 14 February, 2018 - 18:30
An undated aerial handout photo shows the National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters building in Fort Meade, Maryland. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
The FBI ruled out on Wednesday terrorism as a motive when a motorist tried to drive into the headquarters of the US National Security Agency in Washington.

Several people were injured when an unauthorized motorist tried to drive into the NSA campus, prompting guards to open fire on the vehicle, officials said.

"There is no indication that this has a nexus to terrorism," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Gordon Johnson.

Three people were arrested after their vehicle crashed at the entrance to the ultra-secret US spy agency in Fort Meade, Maryland, Johnson said.

One of the three was injured and sent to a hospital, and the other two are in custody. Two other people -- an NSA police official and a bystander -- were also injured and sent to hospital, he said.

The motorist, who was not identified, drove a black sport utility vehicle to a gate of the government body at about 7 a.m. EST (1200 GMT). Armed guards typically secure the gate and the NSA said in a statement that shots were fired during the incident, although it did not say whether guards or the suspect fired a weapon nor who was injured.

The vehicle had what appeared to be bullet holes in its windshield and extensive front-end damage after crashing into a concrete traffic barrier, according to video of the scene.

“A vehicle attempted to enter the NSA’s secure campus in Fort Meade, Maryland, without authorization,” the agency said in a statement. “Weapons were discharged in the course of the incident, which remains under investigation.”

The NSA said several people were taken to hospitals from the facility, located at a US Army facility about 30 miles (48 km) northeast of Washington.

Earlier media reports said as many as three people had been wounded at the base, which also is home of the US Cyber Command and Defense Information School.

The National Security Agency/Central Security Service focuses on using technological tools, including the monitoring of internet traffic, to monitor the government’s adversaries.

A White House spokeswoman said President Donald Trump had been briefed on the shooting.

Fort Meade is located just off a major Washington-area highway and motorists occasionally unintentionally take the exit that leads them to its gates, which are manned by armed guards.

In March 2015, two people tried to drive through the NSA’s heavily guarded gate. Officers shot at the vehicle when they refused to stop, killing one of the occupants. The people in the vehicle may have taken a wrong turn after partying and taking drugs, according to news reports.

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