Wrong Exit May Have Led to Deadly NSA Encounter

Reportedly stolen car and cross-dressing men add to the mystery
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2015 9:24 AM CDT
A Maryland State Police cruiser sits at a blocked southbound entrance on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway that accesses the National Security Agency, Monday, March 30, 2015, in Fort Meade, Md.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(Newser) – More pieces of the puzzle are coming together as to why two men reportedly dressed as women rammed an NSA gate yesterday morning, resulting in gunfire and the death of one of the suspects. Police are now speculating that the driver of the stolen Ford Escape may have made a wrong turn and taken a restricted exit to the agency, then panicked because there were drugs inside the car, the Washington Post reports. An NSA officer gave the men instructions on how to get off the campus, an NSA spokesman says, but the driver didn't listen, so barriers were erected, the AP reports; at least one NSA officer started shooting when the car revved up to crash into a police vehicle, the agency adds.

It's not uncommon for drivers to think the off-ramp leading to the NSA security post is just a regular Fort Meade exit, an ex-intel officer tells the Daily Beast. In fact, the source notes, "a large number of immigration law violations" have been culled from the accidental trespassers who couldn't come up with the proper ID once they were stopped by NSA agents. The FBI confirms to the Post it doesn't believe this was a terrorist incident, while an unnamed law enforcement source tells the paper, "This was not a deliberate attempt to breach the security of NSA. This was not a planned attack." (Meanwhile, the White House is having issues in putting up a jumper-proof fence.)

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