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Friday, 22 February 2019

Several hurt in shooting near U.S. National Security Agency

Reuters , Wednesday 14 Feb 2018
A patrol car blocks the road to the scene of a shooting outside the National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland, U.S. February 14, 2018 (Photo: Reuters)
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Several people were injured in a shooting incident on Wednesday when a car tried to drive onto the campus of the U.S. National Security Agency near Washington, although the secretive government body said none of them appeared to have been wounded by gunfire.

The incident occurred about 7 a.m. ET (1200 GMT) when the black sports-utility vehicle tried to drive into the U.S. Army installation at Fort Meade, Maryland, where the NSA is located, just off a busy suburban highway commonly used by commuters.

The NSA, one of the U.S. government's main spy agencies, did not say whether guards at the facility or people in the car did the shooting and also did not say who was injured. Officials at the NSA and Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is investigating the incident, did not respond to questions about who fired weapons.

"Weapons were discharged in the course of the incident, which remains under investigation," the agency said in a statement. "Preliminary reports do not presently indicate that there are injuries attributable to gunfire."

It said several people were taken to hospitals from the facility about 30 miles (48 km) northeast of Washington.

The incident did not appear to be linked to terrorism, said a federal official familiar with the investigation.

Police earlier had searched a black sport utility vehicle with what appeared to bullet holes in its windshield, video from the scene showed. Items apparently removed from the vehicle were strewn on the ground and checked by a police dog.

Earlier media reports said as many as three people had been wounded at the base, which also is home of the U.S. Cyber Command and Defense Information School.

The National Security Agency/Central Security Service focuses on using technological tools, including the monitoring of internet traffic, to monitor the government's adversaries.

A White House spokeswoman said President Donald Trump had been briefed on the shooting.

Fort Meade is located just off a major Washington-area highway and motorists occasionally unintentionally take the exit that leads them to its gates, which are manned by armed guards.

In March 2015, two people tried to drive through the NSA's heavily guarded gate. Officers shot at the vehicle when they refused to stop, killing one of the occupants. The people in the vehicle may have taken a wrong turn after partying and taking drugs, according to news reports.

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