By Kim Hart - 04/07/10 10:54 PM EDT
The Federal Communications Commission was evacuated Wednesday because of an apparent bomb threat, forcing staffers to linger outside the building in 90-degree heat for over two hours.
The building in Southwest Washington was evacuated around 9:30 a.m., according to FCC spokesman David Fiske. He said employees returned to the building around 11:30 a.m.
Throughout the afternoon, speculation in the media mounted that the FCC headquarters was evacuated because of a bomb threat. Fiske did not confirm that a bomb threat was the cause of the evacuation and referred inquiries to the Federal Protective Service.
Hillicon Valley was unable to reach the FPS for comment. But sources confirmed to the industry website Television Broadcast that a bomb threat was the cause.
The evacuation comes just one day after a federal court ruled the FCC does not have the jurisdiction to regulate broadband service provider's network management practices. The decision was a major blow to the FCC's top priority of enacting net neutrality regulations, and also puts some measures of its National Broadband plan at risk.
While the timing of the incident is peculiar, there is so far no indication that the evacuation was related to the court ruling. After all, bomb threats in federal buildings are not uncommon in Washington.
Being stuck outside did not get in the way of work for FCC staffers. Some held meetings on the grass and on benches outside the building. Others tapped away on their BlackBerrys. And the nearby Starbucks, we are told, had quite a busy morning.