Tags: Terrorists | Still | Loose | U.S. | FBI | Fears

Terrorists Still Loose in U.S., FBI Fears

Tuesday, 18 September 2001 12:00 AM

U.S. warplanes and a surveillance aircraft were visible Tuesday over the nation's capital and its Maryland suburbs. Reagan National Airport remained closed, with authorities saying it was too near the nation's nerve centers in case of another hijacking.

One security official in Washington said a screen at the Capitol Hill Police command center was rolling constantly with alerts. Two of the alerts were for specific Middle Eastern men and their vehicles. The men are considered "armed and extremely dangerous," the security official said, "so dangerous that we were told not to approach them" but to notify the special units instead.

Capitol Hill police had moved concrete barriers onto roads surrounding congressional offices Tuesday and were searching vehicles and examining IDs before letting congressional employees through. One of the officers, staring at traffic still moving on Independence Avenue, a main thoroughfare to Capitol Hill, said much of the area around Congress may eventually have to be sealed off.

"I have a pocketful of alerts from yesterday," the officer said.

Also Tuesday, the Hart Senate Office Building and Capitol Hill Police headquarters were emptied after someone pulled a fire alarm in each building. Both alarms turned out to be false.

The Justice Department itself was emptied for about an hour after a bomb threat Monday. Employees were let back in after bomb-sniffing dogs from the nearby FBI searched the grounds around the building.

The FBI is had committed 4,000 of its special agents to the investigation, the largest in U.S. history. The agents are being aided by 3,000 FBI support personnel. An additional 400 FBI lab personnel are sifting through debris at the crash sites in New York City, rural Pennsylvania and the Pentagon.

Attorney General John Ashcroft has also committed large elements of the U.S. Marshals Service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Ironically, the DEA may gain some advantage in its anti-drug war from a U.S. strike against Afghanistan, if the investigation determines that renegade Saudi millionaire Osama bin Laden was behind last week's attacks.

Robert Weiner, who was the spokesman for drug czars Barry McCaffrey and Lee Brown during the Clinton administrations, issued a statement Tuesday saying bin Laden and the Taliban regime, which is shielding him in Afghanistan, should be held responsible for the heroin traffic in that country.

"Afghanistan is the world's largest producer of the opium poppy, the crop refined into heroin," Weiner said. "According to the State Department, Afghanistan's poppy cultivation area has quadrupled since 1990."

The FBI has identified the 19 hijacking suspects it believes took over four airliners Sept. 11. Their names and some of their personal information is accessible from the bureau's Web site, fbi.gov, as well as a toll-free hotline and other avenues for reporting information.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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U.S. warplanes and a surveillance aircraft were visible Tuesday over the nation's capital and its Maryland suburbs. Reagan National Airport remained closed, with authorities saying it was too near the nation's nerve centers in case of another hijacking. One security...
Terrorists,Still,Loose,U.S.,,FBI,Fears
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2001-00-18
Tuesday, 18 September 2001 12:00 AM
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