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.
Mary Ann Akers
July 8, 2009; 1:28 PM ET
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