'Shocking' Security Breaches at Federal Buildings

It only took 27 seconds for him to smuggle live bomb components through security detail in a federal building. Later, he assembled a bomb in the restroom, and then walked around the facility undetected.

In that instance, it was a congressional investigator testing security procedures. But the investigation into the agency charged with protecting federal buildings revealed security gaps that could prove dangerous if a terrorist group or individual focuses an attack on a federal building.

VIDEO: Video shows investigators taking bomb making materials into buildings undetected.
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Investigators from the Government Accountability Office, Congress' investigative arm, were able to penetrate all 10 of the undisclosed federal buildings it tested across the United States.

Watch the full report tonight on "World News with Charles Gibson" at 6:30 p.m. ET

"Of the 10 Level IV facilities we penetrated, 8 were government-owned, 2 were leased, and included offices of a U.S. Senator and U.S. Representative, as well as agencies such as the Departments of Homeland Security, State, and Justice," according to a preliminary report from the GAO. Level IV facilities are defined as having more than 450 employees and "a high volume of public contact."

"It's stunning. It's shocking," Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., the chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, told ABC News.

"It just says that basically some people have forgotten the lessons of 9/11," he continued.

The Federal Protective Service, a part of the Department of Homeland Security, is responsible for securing more than 9,000 federal buildings and, among other employees, utilizes 15,000 contract security guards.

The GAO has been investigating the service since 2007 for a wide range of reported problems, and says it found serious vulnerabilities during visits to the 10 buildings.

ABC News obtained videos and images from the GAO investigation. Investigators are slated to publish their latest findings in a report later this summer, but Lieberman's staff said he found the information compiled so troubling that he scheduled a hearing for today.

"What troubles me most is that what GAO found indicates systemic problems," Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said at today's hearing. "If GAO had been successful in smuggling bomb components into one or maybe two buildings, it still would have been troubling, especially since these are high-risk, high-security buildings. But the fact that GAO succeeded each and every time is so troubling, and it indicates a pervasive systemic problem."

Security officials say federal facilities -- as the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City demonstrated -- remain a primary target.

"Just think about it. In this case, in this GAO test, 10 different federal buildings in different cities in the country were all compromised," Lieberman told ABC News. "If a terrorist group just did that in two or three federal buildings, it would not only really hurt some people; it would create a real crisis of confidence here in the United States about our homeland security."

FPS Director Takes 'Full Responsibility'

"I take full responsibility, I am the director of the organization," Federal Protective Service chief Gary Schenkel told lawmakers today.

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