Congressman wants hearing in wake of Texas attack

The congressman whose district is home to a Texas office building attacked via plane on Thursday wants a hearing to examine security risks facing federal buildings.

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), through his spokesman, on Friday called for an official inquiry conducted by the House Homeland Security Committee to explore how better to protect federal buildings, partially with regards to threats posed by aircraft. McCaul sits on the homeland security panel.

“[The] Homeland Security [Committee] should look into this issue,” McCaul’s communications director Mike Rosen told The Hill.

A Texas software engineer named Joseph Andrew Stack, 53, crashed a small, single-engine aircraft into a seven story building in Austin, the state capital, which contains Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offices.

A suicide note from Stack appeared on the Austin Statesman website Thursday afternoon, which contains some anti-tax outbursts that specifically criticized the IRS.

Officials deemed the incident an intentional attack but did not indicate that it was an act of terrorism.

Rosen said it is important to consider the threat posed by private planes but said that the focus of the inquiry would center on federal buildings and not general aviation.

"We have absolutely no intention to regulate general aviation as a result of this incident,” Rosen said.

A Democratic aide said that the committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) is withholding judgment on whether or not to hold a hearing until an official request is made.

The aide said that the panel usually conducts annual inquiries into the Federal Protective Service (FPS), which guards federal buildings but that the agency does not typically address threats from aircraft. 

He also said that a the panel held a hearing into general aviation last July.

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