- WASHINGTON (APBNews.com)
-The FBI has canceled its popular public tours of the J. Edgar Hoover Building
indefinitely, citing unspecified threats against the nation's top investigative
force, federal officials said today.
- Parking around the downtown headquarters also was restricted
- An FBI representative said the bureau's actions are precautionary
to safeguard employees and visitors.
- "Business will be as usual. People are still coming
to work," the official told APBNews.com.
- In a statement, the FBI said it is making "security
enhancements" to heighten the safety of both visitors and employees.
- The State Department says it has implemented no new precautions
at its Washington headquarters or at any embassies for the past several
- "We're always in a heightened level of security
here," the representative said.
- Federal buildings victim to attacks
- Security in the nation's capital has long been a troubling
issue, particularly after several high-profile attacks on federal buildings.
- In President Clinton's first term a man crashed a small
airplane into the south side of the White House near the first family's
- A few months later an Army veteran opened fire on the
West Wing with a Chinese SKS semiautomatic rifle. High-velocity bullets
smashed into a wall outside the White House pressroom and through a pane
of glass near the press secretary's office.
- After the truck bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma
City, and at the urging of the U.S. Secret Service, Clinton closed several
blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House, generating controversy
over the ensuing traffic problems.
- The United States temporarily closed six embassies in
Africa in June after learning they were under surveillance by suspicious
individuals. The closings followed indication that Osama bin Laden, an
exiled Saudi suspected of leading a terrorist organization, was in the
final stages of planning a terrorist attack.
- Anniversary of Capitol shooting
- Exactly one year ago this Saturday, deranged gunman Russell
Weston Jr. charged into the U.S. Capitol building, fatally wounding Capitol
Police officers Jacob Chestnut and John Gibson. Gibson was killed in an
exchange of gunfire with Weston just inside House Majority Whip Tom DeLay's
- The FBI has allowed visitors to take a brief tour through
the investigative agency's tiny museum since 1937. Until recent years the
popular tourist jaunt ended with a special agent demonstrating a gangster's
tommy gun, blasting one of the fully automatic weapons inside a firing
range on the other side of a glass partition.
- The bureau has canceled public tours a few times in past
years, including during World War II, during the 1968 riots following the
assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and during Operation
- On past April 19 anniversaries of the Oklahoma bombing
and the fire at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, the FBI has
tightened security around the Hoover Building's perimeter.
- The FBI building is a large concrete complex -- one of
the largest federal buildings in the city. Concrete tree planters intended
to prevent a possible truck bomber ring the site. The planters are approximately
20 yards from the building on busy Pennsylvania Avenue. ____________
- James Gordon Meek is an APBNews.com staff writer in Washington