DHS, GSA want feds to 'say something'

Wednesday - 12/8/2010, 8:09pm EST

WFED's Jared Serbu

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By Jared Serbu
Reporter
Federal News Radio

The Homeland Security Department has developed a more refined version of its See Something, Say Something campaign -- this one with a message targeted to the federal workforce.

DHS, along with the General Services Administration and the Federal Protective Service, announced Wednesday that all federal buildings owned or managed by GSA will have their walls adorned with posters and signs pushing not only the See Something, Say Something message, but a special toll free number that connects to a call center staffed by Federal Protective Service agents.

When federal workers report suspicious activity to the number (877-437-7411), dispatchers will either send FPS' own agents to investigate or notify local law enforcement, said retired Air Force Gen. Eric Patterson, FPS director.

"We can supplement the efforts of the Federal Protective Service, which works around the clock to protect federal facilities," said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. "This is particularly important, because as we know, federal facilities have been the target of attacks in the past."

GSA Administrator Martha Johnson said the agency did not intend to provide special training to federal workers to help them recognize suspicious activity, because most are already very capable of recognizing potential threats.

"We have a fair amount of faith in the federal worker," Johnson said. "They're involved in and focused on government activities and it's sort of in their consciousness already. It's about being a community together. We certainly emphasize communities a great deal."

GSA is taking other steps to secure buildings and offices occupied by federal workers. Bob Peck, the commissioner for the Public Building Service, told Federal News Radio in an interview that GSA was updating its standards for leased commercial space and working with agency tenants to better indentify offices that meet federal security needs.

He said his agency also needed to do more work to make building security more consistent across GSA's buildings and facilities.

"We're working with agencies about being a little more uniform on our access procedures into federal buildings because right now there are a lot of different rules at a lot of different buildings," Peck said. "We're thinking that for various reasons we need to get together better on those."

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