Fedweek

Garnet, MT - June 2019: Rusting Bureau of Land Management sign offers warning to trespassers.

Federal employees in the four public lands agencies face dangers ranging from telephone threats to attempted murder, but the number of actual threats and assaults is unclear and may be higher than what those agencies report, GAO has said.

It said that from 2013-2017:

ADVERTISEMENT


* The Bureau of Land Management reported 88 incidents of threats and assaults, including “an individual harassing a BLM law enforcement officer by repeatedly swerving and cutting off the officer on the highway, an individual making threats against a BLM employee on [social media], and an incident during which an employee was stabbed outside a federal building.”

* The Fish and Wildlife Service reported 66, including “an officer who was assaulted while arresting an individual driving under the influence and an officer who received a death threat during an arrest.”

* The Forest Service reported 177, including personal threats and “threatening graffiti written on a law enforcement officer’s personal residence.”

* The National Park Service reported 29, including “an individual ramming an employee’s patrol vehicle and a death threat left on an employee’s personal cell phone.”

Underscoring the seriousness of the threats is that “the FBI initiated under 100 domestic terrorism investigations into potential threats against federal land management agencies. The majority of these investigations involved BLM and individuals motivated by anti-government ideologies.”

However, GAO said that employees may not even report all of such threats “because they consider them a part of the job.”

Further, while all four agencies have completed some facility security assessments as required and thus “may not identify the risks their facilities face or identify the countermeasures—such as security cameras or security gates—they could implement to mitigate those risks.” Officials of the agencies told GAO “that either they do not have the resources, expertise, or training to conduct assessments agency-wide.”