2 Released After Driver Tried to Enter NSA Campus

The FBI believes there is no link to terrorism, a representative said

What to Know

  • Three people are hurt after a driver tried to enter the National Security Agency's secure campus in Maryland, the FBI says.
  • Someone opened fire, but officials say they do not believe the injuries resulted from gunfire.
  • The FBI says they believe there is no link to terrorism.

Two of three people who were in an SUV that was stopped and fired upon when it tried to enter the National Security Agency campus without authorization have been released, an FBI Spokesman said Thursday.

NSA police turned over the other person to the Howard County Sheriff's Office, because he was wanted on allegations of being behind on child support payments, said Dave Fitz, the spokesman for the FBI's Baltimore field office.

Fitz says the FBI investigation is ongoing to determine why the black SUV carrying the three people tried to enter a top-secret intelligence site at Fort Meade. 

Investigators are considering the theory that the vehicle made a wrong turn and ended up at the NSA gate. 

"The FBI continues to believe that yesterday's encounter was an isolated incident," Fitz said in a statement. "Our investigation continues and we do not see a nexus to terrorism.''

Three people, including a police officer, were injured after the SUV tried to enter the secure campus Wednesday morning. Although gunshots were fired during the incident, officials say they do not believe any of the injuries resulted from gunfire.

As of 10:30 a.m. Thursday, FBI investigators have cleared the scene and returned to the Baltimore field office.

"I cannot emphasize enough that we believe there is no indication that this has a nexus to terrorism," Gordon Johnson, the special agent in charge of the FBI's Baltimore field office, told reporters near the site of the incident.

Johnson said the three people injured were the driver of the vehicle, an NSA police officer and a civilian onlooker. He would not give any details about how they were injured or who opened fire. The injuries suffered by the police officer and the onlooker did not appear to be life-threatening, he said. He did not have any information about the driver's injuries.

While Johnson declined to give details about who opened fire, he said preliminary indications are that all gunfire was directed toward the vehicle.

The vehicle had a New York license plate, and Johnson said it was believed to be a rental car, but he said it was unknown exactly where the vehicle came from.

"We are working through that," Johnson said. "We believe that it was a rental car, but we're still working that as part of the ongoing investigation."

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. Fort Meade, a United States Army installation, is home to approximately 10,000 military personnel. More than 51,000 military, civilian and contract employees work at the installation.

Despite prominent highway signs, drivers occasionally take the wrong exit and end up at the tightly secured gates. Most motorists then carefully follow the orders of heavily armed federal officers and turn around without getting into more trouble.

But in early 2015, two people were shot at by NSA police when they disobeyed orders outside the heavily secured campus. One driver died at the scene after NSA police opened fire on a stolen sports utility vehicle. Authorities later said they had stolen a car from a man who picked them up for a party at a motel.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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