Politics & Government

Obama administration ramps up security amid threats

A fully armed Secret Service agent prepares his gear to accompany the Presidential motorcade October 1, 2014 in Washington, D.C.
A fully armed Secret Service agent prepares his gear to accompany the Presidential motorcade October 1, 2014 in Washington, D.C. MCT

The federal government is beefing up security at various U.S. government buildings in Washington, D.C. and other “major” cities and locations across the country as a “precautionary” move, citing the shooting of a Canadian soldier and other threats.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, who announced the decision late Tuesday, gave few details, saying the precise security measures and locations are “law enforcement sensitive” and will “vary and shift” from location to location. He said the measures would be continually reviewed.

He called the move a “precautionary step” to safeguard U.S. government employees, visitors and the buildings and said the measures would be continually reviewed. He said they were prompted by continued public calls by terrorist organizations for attacks on the U.S., and elsewhere, including against law enforcement and other government officials.

He noted recent attacks of government personnel and installations in Canada and elsewhere, noting that “given world events, prudence dictates a heightened vigilance in the protection of U.S. government installations and our personnel.”

The agency is also urging state and local governments and law enforcement personnel, along with critical infrastructure owners and operators, to be “equally vigilant, particularly in guarding against potential small-scale attacks by a lone offender or a small group of individuals.”

The Federal Protective Service, which Johnson has asked to increase security, is responsible for the protection of more than 9,500 federal facilities owned or leased by the General Services Administration, through which 1.4 million visitors and occupants pass daily, Johnson said.

A Canadian soldier at the country’s National War Memorial was killed last week by a man who authorities said had converted to Islam. The gunman was shot to death after he ran into the Canadian capital’s Parliament building. On Tuesday, a Canadian soldier was fatally shot in Quebec by a different man whom law enforcement and government officials described as ‘radicalized.’

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