WASHINGTON, DC-The General Services Administration postponed a groundbreaking ceremony for a new headquarters building for the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms two days after terrorist attacks destroyed the World Trade Center in New York and severely damaged the Pentagon here. “It’s a tough time to be celebrating anything,” GSA’s Alan Zawatsky told GlobeSt.com. Although the groundbreaking for the building, which will accommodate 1,200 workers was delayed, as far as Zawatsky knew, the construction on the project is proceeding.
However, what is not so clear is whether federal buildings or leases managed will have significant improvements in security. Zawatsky declined to comment on the status of security. According to the agency’s Web site, the Office of Federal Protective Services provides security to GSA managed properties. The site also has comments by acting assistant commissioner for FPS Richard Yamamoto about security, updated September 7, just days before the terrorist attacks. Addressing the issue of threats posed at federal facilities, the statement reads, “These threats range from the most catastrophic, but least probable–terrorism–to the most probable, but least catastrophic–larcenies–with workplace violence falling at the center of this continuum.”Yamamoto’s statement goes on to say that security is made up from a variety of sources including “highly trained” law enforcement and security officers, but also contract security guards. Yamamoto and at least two other GSA representatives did not immediately respond to GlobeSt.com’s requests for comment.Property managers of private buildings with government tenants were equally tight-lipped about security. Boston Properties, for example, owns at least three major buildings in the District with the federal government as the sole tenant. Along a stretch of E Street SW, the firm owns the headquarters of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency at 250 E, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration headquarters at 300 E, and the International Trade Commission headquarters at 500 E. Regional vice president David Boone declined to give information on the security procedures in those buildings, but did tell GlobeSt.com those procedures are handled by the federal government and not Boston Properties.