Three in custody after crashing car at US spy agency - FBI

The National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland, is seen from the air. (File Photo: AFP)
Updated 15 February 2018
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Three in custody after crashing car at US spy agency - FBI

FORT MEADE: Three people who tried to drive onto the campus of the U.S. National Security Agency near Washington, drawing gunfire from guards, were taken into custody on Wednesday in an incident the FBI said had no link to terrorism.
At least three people, including the driver, were injured.
The motorists, who were not identified, drove a black sport utility vehicle to a gate of the secretive government body in Fort Meade, Maryland, shortly before 7 a.m. EST (1200 GMT). Armed guards fired on the vehicle after it violated NSA security rules, officials said.
"There is no indication to think that this is anything more than an isolated incident," said Gordon Johnson, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's special agent in charge for Baltimore, told a press conference. "We have no reason to believe that there is any nexus to terrorism."
The vehicle had what appeared to be bullet holes in its windshield and extensive front-end damage after crashing into a concrete traffic barrier, according to video of the scene.
"It looks like the gunfire was directed onto the vehicle," Johnson said, declining to say if weapons were found in the car. No one appeared to have been shot, he said.
Two of the people arrested were in the NSA's custody while the third, the driver of the vehicle, had been taken to a hospital with undisclosed injuries, Johnson said. An NSA police officer and a civilian bystander also suffered injuries that were not life-threatening, he said.
The NSA, one of the U.S. government's main spy agencies, is headquartered at a U.S. Army facility about 30 miles (48 km) northeast of Washington. The base also is home of the U.S. Cyber Command and Defense Information School.
The National Security Agency/Central Security Service focuses on using technological tools, including the monitoring of internet traffic, to spy on adversaries.
A White House spokeswoman said President Donald Trump had been briefed on the shooting.
Johnson said it was not clear why the three men had driven onto the campus.
Fort Meade is located just off a major Washington-area highway and motorists occasionally unintentionally take the exit that leads them to its gates, which are manned by armed guards.
In March 2015, two people tried to drive through the NSA's heavily guarded gate. Officers shot at the vehicle when they refused to stop, killing one of the occupants. The people in the vehicle may have taken a wrong turn after partying and taking drugs, according to news reports.


Over 400 Afghan women aim to break male stranglehold on Parliament

Updated 18 October 2018
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Over 400 Afghan women aim to break male stranglehold on Parliament

  • Of 2,691 candidates vying for seats in Afghanistan's parliament, more than 400 are women
  • Their aims are to encourage a consensus among female members of Parliament and to end the reliance on factional leaders and strongmen with power and wealth

KABUL: For women in Afghanistan’s Parliament, what a difference a year makes.

Last December, the government proposed 12 candidates for ministerial positions; only one was female, and she failed to win enough votes.

Now hundreds of women aim to be agents of change by standing for Parliament in elections on Saturday.

More than 400 of the 2,691 candidates are women. Their aims are to encourage a consensus among female members of Parliament and to end the reliance on factional leaders and strongmen with power and wealth.

“The young and new candidates are a powerful tool to make Parliament exercise its rights as stipulated in the constitution,” said Zahra Nawabi, 28, a candidate from Kabul who has two master’s degrees.

“Our priority should be women, first and foremost addressing their health. Parliament should not become a source of shame for the nation.”

The practice of wealthy figures and men with power supporting their own choice of female nominees was a greater threat to Afghan democracy than the threatened attacks on the election process by Taliban insurgents, she said.

“The government needs to intervene to stop this, otherwise the next Parliament could be worse than the current one.”

Shinkay Karokhail, who was elected as an MP in 2005, was re-elected in 2010 and is standing again, admitted that female MPs had failed to form a powerful bloc in Parliament. Some of them regarded themselves “as extra-ordinary,” she said, and it was too early to say whether any of the new batch of candidates would be an improvement.