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FEDERAL BUILDING SECURITY

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 24, 1996

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,

SUBCOMMITTEE ON PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND ECONOMIC

DEVELOPMENT

COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE

Washington, DC. The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 8:33 a.m. in room 2253, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Wayne Gilchrest (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.

Mr. GILCHREST. The Subcommittee on Public Buildings and Economic Development will come to order. Good morning, everybody. Today the subcommittee is meeting to review issues pertaining to Federal building security. Approximately 1 year ago today, a devastating event took place in Oklahoma City when a car bomb exploded outside the Murrah Federal Building, killing 168 persons and destroying 10 buildings and damaging 320 others. This tragic event prompted quick and decisive action by the Federal Government. The President established a task force composed of representatives from the United States Marshals Service, Department of Justice, the General Services Administration, the Department of State, the Secret Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to review Federal building vulnerability.

The report was issued on June 28, 1995, which called for several improvements to building security. The committee passed an 11(b) resolution directing GSA to recommend ways to replace the Federal building, and to look at security in Oklahoma City. Congress appropriated $105 million for expenses specifically related to the Oklahoma City tragedy, and GSA has spent $32 million for security for Federal buildings nationwide.

On October 19, 1995, the President created the Interagency Security Committee, chaired by the Administrator of the General Services Administration. This Security Committee is charged with establishing Government-wide policies for building security, implementing appropriate security measures in Federal buildings, and developing a centralized Government security base. Other issues under consideration for the long term include collocation of agencies with sensitive or critical mission responsibilities with agencies accomplishing routine Government activities; design; construction and renovation standards, and enhanced risk assistance methodology to address new levels of threats.

This morning we will hear from representatives of the agencies involved in addressing and implementing these security measures, who will provide us with an update on the changes that have oc

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curred in the course of the year. Joining us this morning are the Acting Administrator of GSA and representatives of the FBI, the United States Secret Service, and the United States Marshals Service.

I would like to conclude with a heartfelt thank you for all those people who participated in this past year to bring about a better environment for those Federal employees, the vast majority of whom are hardworking people who contribute a great deal to this Nation, and my thank you goes out to those agencies that have looked for ways to make their jobs more secure for themselves and for their children. So this committee and this Congress are very grateful.

Mr. GILCHREST. I now yield to the ranking member, Mr. Traficant.

Mr. TRAFICANT. I want to thank everyone for being here today, and certainly to echo the comments of Mr. Gilchrest. Having just recently read about an incident down there in the 4th Circuit Court, where they overturned the conviction of a man-I think his name was Hamrick-who threatened the life of Ronald Reagan, among other things, and sent a mail bomb to the U.S. Attorney who had convicted him. The 4th Circuit Court, a three-judge panel, ruled that they overturned the conviction because they said that this bomb that he sent did not detonate and was faulty, and therefore not dangerous.

As a former law enforcement officer, sometimes I wonder if some of these judges sometimes on some of these security issues get their degree from Sears and Roebuck.

I really empathize with what you're doing. I think we on the committee here have to have your recommendations, and I think that where at all possible, we should try to enact those recommendations which are sound and lend to good security. I know it's impossible to stop everyone who attempts to maim or hurt or cause a terrorist act or prove to be a security risk, but I think we have to reduce the potential for those types of problems. The only way we do it is by getting good, factual information from you and trying to place that into some legislative initiative that encompasses those goals that you present. That's what I will try to do. I want to thank the chairman for calling this meeting, and I look forward to hearing your testimony.

Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Mr. Traficant.

Mr. Duncan?

Mr. DUNCAN. I have no statement, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. GILCHREST. Ms. Johnson?

Ms. JOHNSON. I will file a statement, Mr. Chairman. Thank you. [The prepared statements of Ms. Johnson, Mr. Traficant, and Mr. Oberstar follow:]

Opening Statement

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Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)
Subcommittee on Public Buildings and Economic Development
April 24, 1995

Mr. Chairman, I commend you and your staff on holding this important hearing this morning. I must say that it is very unfortunate that this country had to have a tragedy such as the one in Oklahoma in order for us to realize that we must reevaluate our security system for federal agencies and its employees. The Department of Justice has suggested that each federal facility should be enhanced with a minimum set of security standards based on its specific security needs and requirements.

As a Member of Congress, I can assure you that I will work hard and diligently to see that our federal agencies and employees are safe at all times while working for this government. Mr. Chairman, I look forward to

working with you and this committee to ensure that our federal security

system is more than adequate and sufficient.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

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