An unidentified car attempted to ram the entrance gate at the NSA's Fort Meade headquarters this morning, with shots fired in the wake of the collision. Authorities say one person is dead and two men (a 20-year-old and 44-year-old) have been airlifted to a Baltimore trauma center with serious injuries. CNN is reporting that two assailants were involved in the attack — one killed, the other wounded — citing a federal law enforcement official who had been briefed on the matter.
That's consistent with the aerial footage of the scene, which shows two damaged vehicles outside the entrance gate: a white NSA police car and a black SUV that is still unidentified. Other shots show what appears to be a dead body outside the driver's side door of the black SUV. Further footage showed a uniformed officer being loaded into an ambulance. Local police confirmed to The Washington Post that the incident occurred on the NSA side of Fort Meade, and according to local law enforcement, NSA police are taking the lead in investigating the case.
Soon after the attack, the the FBI said it did not believe the attack was related to terrorism. Instead, it appears the drivers of the car may have taken a wrong turn, and possibly accelerated through a police checkpoint because there were drugs present in the stolen vehicle. The Washington Post reports that three men met in Baltimore on Sunday night, before driving to a motel. When one of the men woke up, the other two had disappeared, stealing his car in the process. The car — a Ford Escape — later took a restricted exit while heading south on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. Police opened fire when the vehicle failed to stop after ignoring commands. A law enforcement official said that the incident "was not a deliberate attempt to breach the security of NSA," and "was not a planned attack."
Widespread concern over the NSA's surveillance program has led to increased wariness at the agency's Fort Meade headquarters. The FBI took a suspect into custody earlier this month for firing bullets at Fort Meade from a distance, although no one was injured in the attack. Entrance gates are seen as particularly vulnerable after a tragic attack outside CIA headquarters in 1993, which left two dead and three others wounded.
Update March 30th, 11:25PM ET: Story updated with reported details about the car's occupants and their motivations.