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Rep. Burton Feeling Vindicated By Fed Security Breaches

Sarah Palin had her "told ya so" moment. And now Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) is having his.

The Sleuth and others lampooned Burton a few weeks ago for trying to offer a measure that would analyze the benefits of building a protective shield around the House chamber "so that somebody can't throw a bomb down on the floor and kill a lot of us."

As we reported at the time, Burton laid out a detailed scenario to the House Rules Committee of how terrorists could blow up the House chamber. "Members of the committee stared at Burton dumbfounded, according to sources in the room, as if wondering to themselves how to delicately explain to the Indiana Republican that he may be more in need of Xanax than Plexiglas," we wrote.

But today Burton is feeling vindicated. He cites a shocking new federal watchdog report detailing how investigators easily smuggled bomb-making materials into high-level security federal buildings around the country.

The Post's Federal Eye reports the Government Accountability Office found frightening security lapses by the Federal Protective Service, which is in charge of security at federal buildings nationwide.

"I think we would be able to say that FPS is simply an agency in crisis," said Mark L. Goldstein, who led the GAO investigation. As The Eye first reported last night, Goldstein's team carried bomb-making materials into ten high-security federal buildings in the last year. The materials could be purchased at stores or on the Internet and cost roughly $150, Goldstein said. In only one instance did a security guard question a GAO investigator carrying suspicious materials.

Congressman Burton's spokesman, John Donnelly, e-mailed the Sleuth today pointing out that "GAO investigators basically pulled off the very scenario that concerned Congressman Burton."

"But this really isn't an 'I told you so' moment," Donnelly said. "It's an important call to reject complacency in Federal security matters."

It's fair to say you can expect Burton will be re-introducing his amendment to next year's legislative appropriations bill, or perhaps sooner.

By Mary Ann Akers  |  July 8, 2009; 1:28 PM ET
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That's ten high security federal buildings out of how many tested? Specifically what was the supposed bomb they were smuggling in supposed to be made of?

It is almost certainly true that, after years of neglect under the Bush administration, where ALL government, especially security sections, were not particularly valued, and every time a Bush department head thought he could contract out security he tried, but that still doesn't scale the results of this investigation very well.

Were those Federal Buildings Federal Courts Building kind of security, or Federal weapons plant level of security, or NSA level of security? All qualify as "high" security. If it is the Federal Courthouse level, perhaps a fuller detail of how many attempts were made, where they were made, (in general, like Oklahoma City, or Denver, or Rosslyn, Va, would give us a better idea of how unsecure we really appear to be.

Perhaps the real problem is the small army of mid level Bush special appointees running the various security details so tested.

Since we have no context, we have no way to make a judgment.

When you get the whole story out on the street, come tell us.

Meanwhile Dan Burton's paranoia is hardly reason to beware of anything.

Remember, the Puerto Rican gang that shot up the Senate caused Congress to address Burton's paranoia more than fifty years ago.

Posted by: ceflynline | July 8, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Oh! Good, I get to correct myself before others gleefuly do it to me.

The Puerto Rican gunmen shot up the House, not the Senate. I had that suspicion as I posted, hit the wrong button, then went and checked.

Meahwhile, running errands, I got "the rest of the story."

Those ten buildings were the only ten tried, but the FPS personell that they caught were, well, rent-a-cops. Contractors employees, mostly not trained to the standards the Contractors were supposed to have had them trained to. Security on the cheap, and we got what we paid for.

NEVER contract out security where it might actually make a difference. The money that might have gone to hiring better security people, training them properly, and keeping them motivated went to the company owners instead.

If the guards at the Capitol are that kind of Rent-a-cop, maybe Burton is right to be afraid.

Better, of course, would be to hire security people directly and pay them properly, and be able to appeal to their pride in serving the people.

Posted by: ceflynline | July 8, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Burton has been on a free pass since it had been disclosed that he had an affair, and is the father of an illegitimate child.

Recent pictures of Burton indicate that he had turned blonde, had a possible face lift, new capped teeth. (hair is now back to normal)
Burton was exposed by Larry Flynt along with Henry Hyde and Bob Livingston. It is no wonder that Sanford, Vitter and Ensign will not step down.

Posted by: scac1 | July 9, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

The nature of a bomb is not to blow-up every person within its wake, thats called 'Collateral Damage', the purpose of a bomb is to cause as much physical, i.e. property, business, home, as possible. It would be unlikely that a terrorist would target the Capitol, because they know that no one owns it;

Posted by: edtroyhampton | July 9, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

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