The Washington Post

War on Terror creates buzz


An aerial rendering of the buzzing building in Vienna, Va. (Hickock Cole Architects/Town of Vienna records)

Today’s heat wave has everyone cranking up the fans and air conditioners. But some Northern Virginia residents are reaching for ear plugs.

Seems people in a Vienna, Va., neighborhood have come to dread summer because it brings the full-scale return of that high-pitched buzzing sound coming from an unmarked, three-story, federal office building.

It sounds like a helicopter hovering about a block away, our colleague Tom Jackman reports Thursday in his blog, The State of NoVa, and it keeps buzzing, 24 hours a day.

Turns out the building houses the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, where they deal with national security data such as the no-fly list. There is likely “a lot of heavy-duty computing going on,” Jackman writes, “which needs to be kept cool while running around the clock.”

The noise comes from 23 air-conditioning units atop the building, each with 10 whirring fans. And it’s been driving residents crazy for the last two years, penetrating homes even with their windows closed and the AC going full-blast.

The neighbors have been complaining mightily, holding meetings, trying to get some relief from local and federal officials, the owner — Goldstar Group of Bethesda — and the General Services Administration. (The former tenant, the CIA, was much quieter.)

A Goldstar representative said Wednesday that they were making changes and were “optimistic” that they would reduce the noise.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Comments
Show Comments
The Republicans debated Saturday night. The New Hampshire primary is Feb. 9. Get caught up on the race.
Highlights from Saturday's GOP debate
Except for an eminent domain attack from Bush, Trump largely avoided strikes from other candidates.

Christie went after Rubio for never having been a chief executive and for relying on talking points.

Carson tried to answer a question on Obamacare by lamenting that he hadn't been asked an earlier question about North Korea.
The GOP debate in 3 minutes
Listen
Play Video
Quoted
We have all donors in the audience. And the reason they're booing me? I don't want their money!
Donald Trump, after the debate crowd at St. Anselm's College booed him for telling Jeb Bush to be "quiet."
Listen
Play Video
New Hampshire polling averages
Donald Trump holds a commanding lead in the next state to vote, but Marco Rubio has recently seen a jump in his support, according to polls.
New Hampshire polling averages
A victory in New Hampshire revitalized Hillary Clinton's demoralized campaign in 2008. But this time, she's trailing Bernie Sanders, from neighboring Vermont. She's planning to head Sunday to Flint, Mich., where a cost-saving decision led to poisonous levels of lead in the water of the poor, heavily black, rust-belt city. 
55% 38%
Upcoming debates
Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

Campaign 2016
State of the race

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.