'Substantial' Federal Security Lapses Revealed

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A shocking report on the security of America's federal buildings reveals facilities have "substantial security vulnerabilities" to attacks.

Following an undercover investigation, the Government Accountability Office  (GAO) released a video showing that --in just 27 seconds-- a congressional investigator managed to pass through a security checkpoint inside a federal building with live bomb-making materials.

"Our investigators used publicly available information to identify a type of device that a terrorist could use to cause damage to a federal facility," said Mark Goldstein of the GAO.

Investigators added that similar situations happened 10 times in four major cities.  Now, the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee wants answers.

CBN News Terrorism Analyst Erick Stakelbeck gave insight on the potential danger surrounding these security lapses.  Click play for his comments.

"How could this have been allowed to happen in an agency with such critical homeland security responsibilities?" asked Sen. Joe Lieberman, who chairs the committee.

Other findings in the undercover operation include a Federal Protective Service guard sleeping on the job, another guard accidentally firing his weapon while practicing pulling it out in the bathroom and a third guard so distracted that he ran a baby in a carrier through a security x-ray machine, which --had the machine been powered on-- could have harmed the child.

"Is it a failure of management at the top level? Is it a failure of supervised or supervision at the regional or building level?" Lieberman continued.  "[Or] is it simply that we are not demanding enough from the private security firms that we are hiring to protect federal buildings?"

FPS authorities say they've taken steps to address the problems uncovered in the investigation.

"We have all worked very hard and were taken aback upon receiving this disturbing news," said FPS official Gary Schenkel.  "We knew we had challenges ahead of us and coincidentally, we have also noted and initiated corrective action to address these short-comings."

Meanwhile, new details on a "cyber attack" of government Web sites during the holiday weekend were also revealed, Wednesday.

Officials now confirm that several government Web sites, including the White House, Secret Service, Pentagon and State Department, were all affected by the computer breach.  South Korean Web sites were also targeted.

Authorities believe North Korea or pro-North forces are responsible for the attack, which is being called the most widespread cyber offensive in recent years.

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Efrem Graham

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Efrem Graham is an award-winning journalist, who comes to CBN News from the ABC owned and operated station in Toledo, Ohio.  He received his master's degree from the Columbia University Journalism School. He also holds a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.  Follow Efrem on Twitter @EfremGraham and "like" him at Facebook.com/EfremGrahamCBN.