The most notorious security guard alumnus is Timothy McVeigh. After serving in Operation Desert Storm, he hooked up with Burns Security in upstate New York. He guarded Calspan Corporation, a firm which conducts research for the Defense Department.

McVeigh's behavior both on and off the job highlights the lack of screening within the industry. According to a former supervisor, Mr. McVeigh, who had often talked about guns and had a licensed handgun for work, came in one day with a sawed-off shotgun and bandoliers slung in an `X' over his chest. `He came to work looking like Rambo,' Mr. Camp recalled.

McVeigh exhibited a pattern of aggressive behavior. His last supervisor at Burns said he wasn't good at dealing with people. `If somebody didn't cooperate with him, he would yell at them,' she said. `It didn't take much to set him off.'

In his off-duty hours, McVeigh peppered local newspapers with angry letters complaining of crime and taxes, warning: Do we have to shed blood to reform the current system? I hope it doesn't come to that. But it might.

A report by AFGE (American Federation of Government Employees) issued in the aftermath of the Oklahoma bombing cited McVeigh's stint as a security guard in questioning the level of security provided to federal employees by private contract guards. The AFGE report states: McVeigh's on-the-job performance should have raised serious questions about his fitness for a security position. ... The fact that McVeigh retained his job in spite of these behaviors suggests serious deficiencies in screening and monitoring private security guards.

CAQ Contents   Subscribe to CAQ   MediaFilter   PoMoWar