Vehicle Rams NSA Gates at Fort Meade

FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) -
A Maryland State Police cruiser sits at a blocked southbound entrance on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway that accesses the National Security Agency, in Fort Meade, Maryland, Monday. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
A Maryland State Police cruiser sits at a blocked southbound entrance on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway that accesses the National Security Agency, in Fort Meade, Maryland, Monday. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Two men dressed as women smashed a stolen car into a police vehicle after they disobeyed commands at the closely guarded gates of the nation’s spy agency on Monday, prompting police to open fire.

One of the men died, the other was injured and a police officer also was taken to a hospital. Initial images from the scene showed emergency workers loading the uniformed officer into an ambulance. Nearby were a dark-colored SUV and an SUV emblazoned with “NSA Police,” both heavily damaged. It was not known why the men wound up at the gate at Fort Meade, a sprawling military post that houses the National Security Agency, or why they did not obey orders from NSA police. Fort Meade is just off I-295 between Baltimore and Washington.

An agency officer gave the driver “routine instructions for safely exiting the secure campus,” but the driver disobeyed them, the release said. The driver then accelerated toward a police vehicle blocking the road, and police then opened fire.

An FBI spokeswoman said earlier in the day that the incident was not believed to be linked to terrorism. The NSA said the incident was contained to the perimeter of the secure campus.

The car that rammed the police vehicle had been stolen Monday morning from a hotel in Jessup, Maryland, said Mary Phelan, a spokeswoman for the Howard County Police Department. She declined to name the hotel, citing the ongoing investigation, or release any further details, referring all questions to the FBI.

A strip of hotels, motels and other businesses is less than 10 miles from Fort Meade in Jessup.

The FBI is investigating and working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Maryland to determine if federal charges are warranted, FBI spokeswoman Amy J. Thoreson said in an email.

It’s not the first time someone has disobeyed orders at an NSA gate. In July, a man failed to obey an NSA officer’s command to stop as he approached a checkpoint. The man drove away, injuring an NSA officer and nearly striking a barricade. He was later arrested.

Earlier this month, police captured a man accused of firing at a building on the NSA campus. The man, who was also accused of shooting at vehicles, told police he heard voices.

Fort Meade also is home to the Defense Information Systems Agency and the U.S. Cyber Command. About 11,000 military personnel and about 29,000 civilian employees work on the property.

The NSA’s presence is clearly visible in the area, with large satellite dishes and glass and steel buildings rising from the tree line. Chain link fences marked with restricted access signs and topped with barbed wire run along the perimeter of the campus.