Federal authorities believe an employee may have been plotting a mass shooting at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security headquarters.
The employee, Jonathan Wienke, was found with a knife and other items two weeks ago after he was chosen for a random security screening when he arrived for work June 9 at the federal agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., reported WRC-TV.
In addition to the knife, Wienke had brought pepper spray, infrared camera, radio devices and handcuffs with him to work, authorities said.
Security allowed Wienke to go on into the building, but a security team asked him to undergo another screening about 90 minutes later at his workspace, shortly before senior DHS officials met in a nearby conference room.
The security team found a loaded revolver and five hollow-point bullets in the front pocket of his pants, and investigators said they heard Wienke “utter an audible expletive.”
He has since pleaded not guilty to carrying a pistol without a license and was released on bond June 13.
But federal investigators believe Wienke was conspiring with another person, who hasn’t been identified, to commit a mass shooting or some other type of workplace violence against the senior DHS officials directly across from his cubicle.
Investigators said Wienke — who had top-secret clearance in the building — was aware of that meeting.
The DHS said Wienke worked in a non-supervisory role in the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, and he has been placed on administrative leave.
Investigators said Wienke could face potential charges of attempt and conspiracy to assassinate, kidnap or assault a member of the executive branch of the government, false impersonation of a federal officer, and possession of a firearm in a federal facility.
A man who owns a bookstore near Wienke’s home said he rarely saw the DHS employee, who commuted 75 miles to Washington for work, outside his home.
A cached Facebook post apparently made by Wienke in 2012 suggested President Barack Obama and other Democrats were hypocrites for supporting taxpayer funding for PBS while criticizing the top 1 percent — who he said included “Sesame Street” icon Big Bird.
“I find it incredibly ironic that Obama, who constantly rails against the evils of corporate welfare, is currently mocking Romney for wanting to stop giving your tax dollars to this international conglomerate that is obviously in the top 1% of the 1% income-wise, and would have no trouble surviving economically if its federal subsidies were cut off today,” Wienke said in the post.
“I have no quibble with the educational value of Sesame Street, and it’s producers deserve the success they’ve obviously achieved,” he added. “But Big Bird is part of the 1% (and has been for years), and doesn’t need a taxpayer bailout.”