Navy Yard Shooting Prompts Review of Security at Federal Facilities

(NBC News) Questions about the safety and security of federal buildings around the country were addressed on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

A Senate hearing focused on the Washington Navy Yard shooting back in September and whether other federal facilities have the security they need to prevent a tragedy.

Homeland Security officials say they're addressing the problems, but admit there are no easy or cheap solutions.

September's deadly shooting exposed a critical security flaw.

Government buildings are designed to keep intruders out but not protect against an attack by cleared employees.

"We have thousands of buildings that I can't put law enforcement folks in every building," said Federal Protective Service Director Eric Patterson.

Homeland Security officials told a Senate committee they protect nearly 10,000 federal buildings with 13,000 security guards.

But this is more than a money and manpower problem said Department of Defense's Stephen Lewis.

"Screening every single employee would be disruptive to getting the work done. That's the balance."

A balance the government has struggled to find since the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

"I think we still have a long way to go, sir," warned Mark Goldstein of the Government Accountability Office.

Government security guards still aren't trained to hunt down active shooters.

And critics question their training in basic front-line defenses like metal detectors.

"We're working on it or yes, we're concerned about it doesn't cut any more - especially when we're talking about safety, democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota said at today's hearing.

They are safety concerns for a massive federal work force that extends far beyond the nation's capital.

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