There is an ongoing investigation involving three people who have reportedly been shot outside NSA headquarters.
Three people, including a police officer, were hospitalized Wednesday in a bizarre incident at the super-secret National Security Agency after officers apparently opened fire on a black SUV carrying three men as it breached the main gate, the FBI said.
While authorities have not determined why the car crashed through the entrance before ramming a concrete barricade, FBI Special Agent in Charge Gordon Johnson told reporters the bureau does not believe the incident was terrorism-related.
“There is no indication to think this is anything more than an isolated incident,” he said.
The FBI said authorities arrested the two passengers and the car’s driver, who also was injured and hospitalized. Two others — a civilian and a police officer — sustained non-life threatening injuries in the ordeal that unfolded at 6:55 a.m.
The FBI said they believe none of the injuries was from gunfire.
It was unclear why the car, believed to be a rental with New York tags, was traveling on the road that leads exclusively to the NSA facilities, located on the grounds of Fort Meade between Washington and Baltimore.
“We are trying to talk to them to understand why they were here,” Johnson said. It does not appear that any law enforcement agencies were chasing the vehicle before it reached the security gate, he added.
“This vehicle did come onto the NSA’s compound unauthorized,” Johnson said. “NSA police responded accordingly.”
Although an NSA spokesman said earlier Wednesday that weapons were discharged in the incident, Johnson declined to speculate, pending a conclusion of the investigation. Photos of the car show bullet holes in the windshield that appeared to be from shots fired from outside the vehicle, rather than from inside.
Video footage by a chopper from WRC-TV shows police surrounding a handcuffed man sitting on the ground near the SUV.
The incident shut down traffic along a stretch of Route 32 by the campus, preventing NSA workers who use that route from entering the facility.
The NSA collects, processes and disseminates intelligence information from foreign electronic signals for national foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes. It also oversees code-breaking and monitors federal government computer networks to counter cyberterrorism.
Despite prominent highway signs, drivers occasionally take the wrong exit and end up at the tightly secured gates. Most motorists then carefully follow the orders of heavily armed federal officers and turn around without getting into more trouble.
In 2015, two people were shot by NSA police when they disobeyed orders outside the heavily secured campus. One driver died at the scene after NSA police opened fire on a stolen sports utility vehicle. Authorities later said the two people had stolen the car from a man who picked them up for a party at a motel.
In 1993, a gunman opened fire outside the entrance to the Central Intelligence Agency in Virginia, killing two CIA employees in their cars and wounding three others. After a four-year manhunt, the gunman, Pakistani national Aimal Kasi, was tracked down in Pakistan by a joint CIA-FBI team and returned to the U.S. He was founded guilty of first-degree murder and executed in 2002.
Contributing: Associated Press