Theft Ring Targets Government Offices

More
As anyone who works at an office building with badge or fob access controls know, most people tend to let anyone follow them in who wears an identification tag and looks respectable -- even if they don't know the person. A psychologist could do experiments as to why people do this, even in the face of persistent and often posted warnings to the contrary. 

A  sophisticated cadre of criminals is using the badge-swiping culture of Northern Virginia to steal from office buildings there, including some that house sensitive government facilities.

A series of thefts attributed to the group has triggered a joint investigation by the U.S. Secret Service, the Diplomatic Security Service and the Arlington County Police Department.

One of the buildings broken into included a State Department office that contained classified materials, although it is not clear whether the classified documents were the target.

According to a Defense Department memo, the thieves outfit themselves with laminated badges hung off lanyards. 

They loiter near building entrances that require card key or fob access and follow other employees in. "The thieves then enter unoccupied offices and steal property, especially cash and credit cards," the memo says.

There are at least 100 buildings in Northern Virginia that include sensitive government facilities. 

A Pentagon official called it a "major counter-intelligence problem."
Jump to comments
Presented by

Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In