A bizarre attack on the NSA access gate has left at least one person dead and two more wounded, after guards opened fire on an SUV attempting to crash through the barriers. Initial news reports say that two men dressed as women attempted to force their way into Fort Meade, and the gunfight ensued:
The Hill says one has died in the attack:
One person was killed and two injured in a shooting at the headquarters of the National Security Agency on Monday, according to reports.
Police on the scene reportedly opened fire after an SUV apparently tried to ram the gates and enter the secured grounds.
NBC Washington was initially a little more cautious on the death toll, but its update confirmed the fatality:
One person is dead after a security guard exchanged gunfire with two men who tried to enter the facility dressed as women, NBC News reports.
The guard got into an altercation with the men outside the gate for the NSA side of the Maryland Army installation just before 9 a.m. Monday.
Gunfire was exchanged, and it is believed that the guard shot at least one of the men.
At least one gun and drugs were found in the stolen Ford Escape the men were riding in, according to NBC News.
Why were they dressed as women? The ruse seems rather ill-advised if the perpetrators planned to bluff their way through the gate.
Fox News’ report notes that there are a number of classified activities at the massive Army base near Baltimore:
Earlier this month, police arrested a man for a series of shootings, including shots taken near the NSA:
Police recalled the D.C. sniper shootings that terrorized the region for more than three weeks in October 2002 in discussing the arrest of a suspect in a series of shots fired incidents that started last week, but they credited strong police work for making a quick arrest after Tuesday’s incidents on the Intercounty Connector and near the NSA at Fort Meade.
“As soon as we learned the possibility these might be linked, we kicked into overdrive,” Anne Arundel County Police Chief Timothy Altomare said Wednesday afternoon.
Hong Young, 35, of Beltsville, Maryland, is charged with attempted first-degree murder and other charges in the shootings in Anne Arundel, Prince George’s and Howard counties. From 2012 until his resignation in May 2014, Young worked as a correctional officer at a Jessup facility, according to Maryland Secretary of Public Safety Stephen Moyer. Nothing significant was found in his file, Moyer said.
It seems very doubtful that the two incidents would be connected, but it’s useful to note that the NSA attracts some attention from fringe elements of every kind. So far, authorities are tight-lipped about the attack today and its possible motivations, but by definition it’s not a lone-wolf attack if two men were involved in a deception to access Fort Meade. We’ll have more as the story develops, but don’t expect explanations too soon.
Update: The Washington Post reports some confusion over jurisdiction:
Marci Miller, a spokesperson with the NSA public affairs office, said there was an incident near the campus but could not release further details at this time.
“It is an ongoing investigation and the FBI has the lead,” Miller said.
But officials at the FBI’s Baltimore office said they are on the scene but are not the lead agency and referred inquiries to the NSA.
Does the NSA have any jurisdiction for investigations at all? Since this happened at an Army base inside the US, the lead agency should either be the FBI or the Army’s Criminal Investigations Division (CID). I suspect we’ll see that clarified soon.