POLITICS: PennAve

Spy-shy: Mugger thwarted by 'NSA intern' on Capitol Hill

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Crime,National Security,PennAve,NSA,Tim Mak

Next time, this thief might want to see proof of a security clearance.

An attempted mugging on Capitol Hill was thwarted Monday night by a quick-thinking victim — one who apparently keeps an eye on national security news.

The victim was walking home to her Capitol Hill townhouse when she was violently confronted by a man in the dark, grassy area between the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Heritage Foundation.

The assailant grabbed the victim's arm and demanded her wallet and phone. "I said the first thing I could think of," the victim, who asked to remain nameless, told the Washington Examiner.

The victim, who weighs a petite 95 pounds, explained to the assailant she was an intern with the National Security Agency. As an intern, she said, she had no cash to fork over (she is actually a staffer at a D.C. nonprofit, and in fact did have cash on her).

About 70 percent of the intelligence community has been furloughed during the ongoing government shutdown, leading former CIA director Leon Panetta to ask reporters exasperatedly this week, "Who the hell came up with that?"

The victim elaborated further, warning the would-be mugger that the phone she held in her hand — complete with a pink-and-blue Lilly Pulitzer case — would be tracked by the NSA if she were to turn it over.

"I told him that the NSA could track the phone within minutes, and it could cause possible problems for him," the victim recounted.

The NSA has been in the spotlight this year due to controversial and far-reaching intelligence-gathering programs it had kept hidden from public knowledge.

Perhaps wary of just how far the NSA would go to keep its assets safe, the assailant just "looked at me and ran away," the victim said.

Despite its proximity to the Capitol and the legions of Capitol Police in the area, the area has been no stranger to crime.

Within 1,000 feet of the attempted mugging, there have been two robberies, one burglary and three thefts in the past month, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.

Earlier this month, a woman was shot to death following a police car chase she led from the White House to the Capitol; in September, a gunman killed a dozen people at the nearby Washington Navy Yard.

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