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FBI acknowledges plane circling Indiana town, looking for signs of terrorist connections
NJ.com | 2/28/03 11:21 am | The Associated Press

Posted on 02/28/2003 10:05:26 AM PST by freeperfromnj

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) -- An airplane that raised questions in this college town is being used by the FBI to monitor people who might have terrorist connections, agency officials acknowledged.

The FBI denied knowledge of the plane earlier this week after aviation officials disclosed that the aircraft was conducting law enforcement surveillance.

Agent Thomas V. Fuentes said the FBI issued the denial because a reporter asked if the airplane is doing electronic surveillance, which it is not.

Fuentes and agent James H. Davis said the FBI is not aware of any threat to Bloomington or the state, but is watching many foreign nationals.

Besides individuals, they said, the aircraft is monitoring vehicles and businesses -- particularly those open late at night from which faxes or e-mails can be sent.

Residents in this city of 69,000 have seen the white, single-engine Cessna 182 at least since Feb. 19 making passes overhead about noon, in the late evening and after midnight.

Fuentes said the aircraft is conducting surveillance flights over several communities near Indianapolis.

Bloomington is about 40 miles south of Indianapolis and home to the flagship campus of Indiana University, where more than 3,300 foreign students attend.

Several of the university's students have been questioned by FBI agents, university and agency officials confirmed. Agency spokesman Doug Garrison, however, would not say if those interviews were related to national security or the airplane's flights.


TOPICS: Front Page News
KEYWORDS: 2003; 200302; 20030228; amrsabry; bloomington; cessna; cessna182; dirtybomb; fbi; fbiplane; hoosierjihad; indiana; indianau; indianauniversity; iraqiinitiative; isa; islamicsociety; iu; mosque; mosques; sabri; sabry

1 posted on 02/28/2003 10:05:26 AM PST by freeperfromnj
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To: freeperfromnj
I see you are from NJ. Have you noticed all the small private plans that fly around our state?
2 posted on 02/28/2003 10:08:17 AM PST by Calpernia
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To: freeperfromnj
Wondering if this is connected to the Arab flight student who was arrested earlier this week......
3 posted on 02/28/2003 10:10:37 AM PST by EggsAckley (nuke the vegan gay whales for jesus)
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To: Purdue Pete
bump
4 posted on 02/28/2003 10:12:43 AM PST by lucyblue
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To: EggsAckley
There was one in Idaho and one in Washington state. It may be connected. Seems like they're finally sweeping the universities.

5 posted on 02/28/2003 10:15:17 AM PST by freeperfromnj
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To: freeperfromnj
strange, very strange
6 posted on 02/28/2003 10:15:30 AM PST by knak (kelly in alaska)
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To: Calpernia
I haven't noticed any out of the ordinary -- but I'm near the shore and there are a few airports and flight schools down here so we see them all the time.
7 posted on 02/28/2003 10:19:41 AM PST by freeperfromnj
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To: freeperfromnj
I applied to IU many years ago for grad school and visited there. I was told that there were a lot of Iranian students; the guy I spoke with was dating one and was considering moving to Iran to be with her. I don't know if there's still a sizeable Iranian population.
8 posted on 02/28/2003 10:19:54 AM PST by twigs
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To: knak
It is strange indeed -- especially since they lowered the alert status the same day they're trolling for terrorists.
9 posted on 02/28/2003 10:22:25 AM PST by freeperfromnj
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To: Calpernia
Hey guys, it's called General Aviation and it happens everywhere.
10 posted on 02/28/2003 10:23:42 AM PST by dljordan
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To: twigs
I live 40 miles north of Bloomington. Two nights ago I was out late walking the dog anad saw lights way to the south (it was quite clear) and thought at first they were helicopters. However, they moved in a straight line and then banked and circled back. There is usually no air traffic in the direction I was looking.

The news about these planes first surfaced yesterday in The Indianapolis Star. Because of the FR problems yesterday I couldn't ever reply to the article.

LOTS of Arab students and Iranians at IU. Also some Palestinians.

11 posted on 02/28/2003 10:25:24 AM PST by Miss Marple
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To: dljordan
Good grief.
There's a VOR beacon across the river from my house, and if I got wound up over every small plane I saw, I would be a nervous wreck.
12 posted on 02/28/2003 10:25:29 AM PST by Constitution Day
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To: freeperfromnj
Besides individuals, they said, the aircraft is monitoring vehicles and businesses -- particularly those open late at night from which faxes or e-mails can be sent

Isn't it enough to know that it's a surveillance craft? Do we need to let the enemy know which places to avoid?

13 posted on 02/28/2003 10:36:11 AM PST by Mr. Bird
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To: Miss Marple
particularly those open late at night from which faxes or e-mails can be sent.

What do you think that is about? Are you aware of terrorist acitivity there? Does the existence of these flights make you feel more protected, more vulnerable or neither? I'm very curious about people's reaction to the new protective measures taken by the government. Thanks for the info about the nature of the students.

14 posted on 02/28/2003 10:37:20 AM PST by twigs
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To: dljordan
And flight students do lots of circling around airports, with touch and go landings.
15 posted on 02/28/2003 10:37:33 AM PST by expatpat
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To: twigs
Well, we have one of the largest mosques in America in Plainfield, about 20 miles west of me and a straight shot up Highway 67 from Bloomington and Martinsville. Look at this map:

The red star is Plainfield, site of the mosque (Islamic Society of America). You can see Bloomington to the south of Indianapolis. Located between Plainfield and Indianapolis, right at the intersection of I465 and I70, is the Indianapolis Airport, as well as a mail center and a FedEx hub.

Actually, I don't feel more or less secure. I do, however, feel glad that they are montoring questionable types. I wondered how they were going to keep an eye on so many. I guess there are some heavy-duty electronics in those planes.

16 posted on 02/28/2003 10:51:46 AM PST by Miss Marple
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To: twigs
Well, we have one of the largest mosques in America in Plainfield, about 20 miles west of me and a straight shot up Highway 67 from Bloomington and Martinsville. Look at this map:

The red star is Plainfield, site of the mosque (Islamic Society of America). You can see Bloomington to the south of Indianapolis. Located between Plainfield and Indianapolis, right at the intersection of I465 and I70, is the Indianapolis Airport, as well as a mail center and a FedEx hub.

Actually, I don't feel more or less secure. I do, however, feel glad that they are montoring questionable types. I wondered how they were going to keep an eye on so many. I guess there are some heavy-duty electronics in those planes.

17 posted on 02/28/2003 10:52:23 AM PST by Miss Marple
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To: Miss Marple
From a website known as HoosierTimes.com:

February 28, 2003

Bureau agents interviewing international students at IU

By Steve Hinnefeld,

Herald-Times Staff Writer

FBI agents have been in Bloomington questioning Indiana University international students, university officials said Thursday.

A spokesman for the bureau would not say if the work was related to concerns about terrorism or security, nor would he confirm an investigation was taking place.

That's typical policy for the agency, said FBI spokesman Doug Garrison. He said disclosing information about what agents are doing could compromise what they are trying to accomplish.

Garrison also wouldn't say if flights over Bloomington by an FBI surveillance plane were related to any questioning of IU students.

Agents from outside Bloomington have been in town for several weeks, according to Bob Weith, director of residential operations for IU's Residential Programs and Services department. He said they have showed up at several campus apartment complexes to conduct interviews with individuals.

Weith said he didn't know the focus of the talks or how students were chosen to be interviewed.

IU interim President Gerald Bepko said university officials were aware of the FBI's presence on campus and have been cooperating with the agency.

"We know they've been very busy," he said. "What we don't know is if they're doing anything different than they would at any university with a large number of international students."

Federal law enforcement agents have had an increased presence on college campuses since Sept. 11, 2001.

Officials with Islamic and Middle Eastern groups say they have had visits from agents. And last month the FBI began the Iraqi Initiative, a plan to interview all Iraqi nationals living in the United States, including students and visiting scholars.

But there are no Iraqi students currently enrolled at IU, said Christopher Viers, director of IU's Office of International Services. Viers said FBI agents have had no contact with his office.

Judy Griffin, manager of IU's Tulip Tree apartments, where many international students live, referred questions to the university legal counsel office. IU counsel Dorothy Frapwell in turn referred questions to the FBI.

Amr Sabry, president of the Islamic Center in Bloomington, said FBI agents have been visited the mosque and been in touch with its leaders several times in the past year or so. He said the visits were friendly and were apparently intended to establish lines of communication with the Islamic community.

He said an agent called him about a month ago to ask about a particular individual, but he had not heard of the person.

Sabry said agents have interviewed a number of Middle Eastern students over the past year.

He said there have been stories about Middle East residents being temporarily detained at the Indianapolis Airport. And on at least two occasions, he said, younger students have been upset about questioning by law enforcement officers.

"They were pretty shaken when they came and talked to me," he said.

Sabry, an IU computer science professor, said he was not aware of any recent increase in FBI activity in Bloomington.

"If they are doing this, it's in the background," he said.

Reporter Jill Hundley contributed to this story.

Reporter Steve Hinnefeld can be reached at 331-4374 or by e-mail at hinnefeld@heraldt.com.

18 posted on 02/28/2003 11:02:56 AM PST by freedom4ever
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To: Miss Marple
From a website known as HoosierTimes.com:

February 28, 2003

Bureau agents interviewing international students at IU

By Steve Hinnefeld,

Herald-Times Staff Writer

FBI agents have been in Bloomington questioning Indiana University international students, university officials said Thursday.

A spokesman for the bureau would not say if the work was related to concerns about terrorism or security, nor would he confirm an investigation was taking place.

That's typical policy for the agency, said FBI spokesman Doug Garrison. He said disclosing information about what agents are doing could compromise what they are trying to accomplish.

Garrison also wouldn't say if flights over Bloomington by an FBI surveillance plane were related to any questioning of IU students.

Agents from outside Bloomington have been in town for several weeks, according to Bob Weith, director of residential operations for IU's Residential Programs and Services department. He said they have showed up at several campus apartment complexes to conduct interviews with individuals.

Weith said he didn't know the focus of the talks or how students were chosen to be interviewed.

IU interim President Gerald Bepko said university officials were aware of the FBI's presence on campus and have been cooperating with the agency.

"We know they've been very busy," he said. "What we don't know is if they're doing anything different than they would at any university with a large number of international students."

Federal law enforcement agents have had an increased presence on college campuses since Sept. 11, 2001.

Officials with Islamic and Middle Eastern groups say they have had visits from agents. And last month the FBI began the Iraqi Initiative, a plan to interview all Iraqi nationals living in the United States, including students and visiting scholars.

But there are no Iraqi students currently enrolled at IU, said Christopher Viers, director of IU's Office of International Services. Viers said FBI agents have had no contact with his office.

Judy Griffin, manager of IU's Tulip Tree apartments, where many international students live, referred questions to the university legal counsel office. IU counsel Dorothy Frapwell in turn referred questions to the FBI.

Amr Sabry, president of the Islamic Center in Bloomington, said FBI agents have been visited the mosque and been in touch with its leaders several times in the past year or so. He said the visits were friendly and were apparently intended to establish lines of communication with the Islamic community.

He said an agent called him about a month ago to ask about a particular individual, but he had not heard of the person.

Sabry said agents have interviewed a number of Middle Eastern students over the past year.

He said there have been stories about Middle East residents being temporarily detained at the Indianapolis Airport. And on at least two occasions, he said, younger students have been upset about questioning by law enforcement officers.

"They were pretty shaken when they came and talked to me," he said.

Sabry, an IU computer science professor, said he was not aware of any recent increase in FBI activity in Bloomington.

"If they are doing this, it's in the background," he said.

Reporter Jill Hundley contributed to this story.

Reporter Steve Hinnefeld can be reached at 331-4374 or by e-mail at hinnefeld@heraldt.com.

19 posted on 02/28/2003 11:03:33 AM PST by freedom4ever
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To: Miss Marple
I had never paid much attention to mosques before 9/11. Everything has changed. My husband and I like ME food and used to go a lot to a little cafe near our home. Then we noticed that the Muslim owner was getting visits from other Muslims and phone calls that seemed to leave him agitated. My husband went one Friday for lunch and they were closing up to go to Mosque, which we discovered is in a little, nearby town. We like this owner, but we get the uncomfortable feeling there is more there than what is supposed to meet the eye. I don't like being suspicious of people and I don't like the thought of government surveillance. But I like the alternatives even less! Stay safe!
20 posted on 02/28/2003 11:35:55 AM PST by twigs
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To: freeperfromnj
Hasn't anybody noticed the black helicopter?
21 posted on 02/28/2003 11:58:56 AM PST by bruin66
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To: freeperfromnj
they did lower the alert level, but in many places, the security activity has remained the same.

I'm thinking they lowered the alert level as disinformation. Just my paranoid thinking...
22 posted on 02/28/2003 12:18:10 PM PST by appalachian_dweller (Those who sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither.)
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To: EggsAckley
Wondering if this is connected to the Arab flight student who was arrested earlier this week......

Do you have a link to that story? I was wondering the same thing myself.

23 posted on 02/28/2003 12:51:02 PM PST by demnomo
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To: Constitution Day
Good grief. There's a VOR beacon across the river from my house, and if I got wound up over every small plane I saw, I would be a nervous wreck.

OF course, becuase for you, it's nothing out the ordinary. Some places don't see much air traffic, not even little white Cessnas.

24 posted on 02/28/2003 1:15:08 PM PST by El Gato
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To: american colleen; nickcarraway; Salvation; ventana; JMJ333; EODGUY; Romulus; eastsider
My father had a very vivid dream a couple of months before his death - it was of everyone in Indianapolis being killed by something no one could see. He recorded this dream in his journal, and reading this article gives me the chills. I will definitely be praying for divine protection for Indianapolis, Bloomington and the surrounding area.
25 posted on 02/28/2003 1:52:06 PM PST by Siobhan (+Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet+)
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To: Miss Marple
LOTS of Arab students and Iranians at IU. Also some Palistinians.

And very convenient to the US headquarters for HAMAS/ MAYA at nearby Plainfield, Indiana, within an hour's drive of IU/Bloomington.

26 posted on 02/28/2003 1:53:15 PM PST by archy (Keep in mind that the milk of human kindness comes from a beast that is both cannibal and a vampire.)
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To: archy
Too close for comfort. Hubby says I'm paranoid, but they make me nervous. When I drive even close to it, I get a weird feeling. Plainfield is a Quaker settlement, by the way.
27 posted on 02/28/2003 3:42:55 PM PST by Samwise
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To: freeperfromnj
Bump.
28 posted on 02/28/2003 4:53:08 PM PST by aculeus (They also serve who ping and bump.)
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To: Miss Marple
Keep safe. Thanks for the info.
29 posted on 02/28/2003 8:58:07 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: bruin66
I have noticed the black helicopter.Actually,I have seen it at least 3 times.
30 posted on 02/28/2003 9:15:55 PM PST by starfish
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To: freeperfromnj
There is a municipal airport in Greenwood.I see planes all the time here(beautiful in a summer sky).I did notice one a day or so ago that went further north(toward Indy),than I usually notice them flying.The day before the local news was reporting about Camp Atterbury,I seen 4 or 5 choppers heading that way.Some are worried that it could be a terrorist target.I believe anywhere is a target,I feel safer knowing they are here watching and protecting.Actually,I seen a few soldiers tonight while I was out shopping.I had a lump in my throat.
31 posted on 02/28/2003 9:43:50 PM PST by starfish
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To: starfish
I live on the southside of Indianapolis and I have noticed the sounds of quite a bit of non-commercial air traffic late at night. I figured it was the Camp Atterbury choppers. Haven't heard any for the past few nights though. I've also wondered about the Islamic Center in Plainfield and if it is being "monitored" or anything.
32 posted on 02/28/2003 9:53:38 PM PST by arasina (If you stand for principle, it will stand for you.)
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To: arasina
I am just wondering.Does anyone remember a Dunkin Doughnuts(just east of plainfield in INDY).Why did it close?Ever been there?It closed rather quickly around 9/11.There is something else there now.I pulled in there to turn around after it closed,and drove around to the backside,there was clothes and stuff laying around.There was also a big dog laying near the entrance,cardboard signs on the window(which I couldn't read because of the dog).I remember thinking it was strange,that a car with tented windows pulled in after I got to the back of the building.I know the mosque is very near that area,and I have always wondered if there was a connection.
33 posted on 02/28/2003 10:15:35 PM PST by starfish
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To: Samwise
Plainfield is a Quaker settlement, by the way.

As well as being the location of the Indiana State Police Academy after it was moved from Bloomington, back around 1972.

-archy-/-

34 posted on 03/03/2003 8:22:37 AM PST by archy (Keep in mind that the milk of human kindness comes from a beast that is both cannibal and a vampire.)
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To: archy
Seems Athens, Ohio has a nest of 'em. Anything of 'interest' for that area?

We live about 50-60 miles away from there, SE Oh, but air traffic has certainly picked up lately. About the only time there's 'real a.t.', is summer, when the cops are flyin' their choppers looking for the hillbilly 'crops'.

There are small planes, mostly flying at night. And yes, there are many 'black' choppers. Hubby says they look to be military, so the kids have taken to waving at them and giving 'thumbs up'. They're flying low enough that they can probably see the kids. LOL.

35 posted on 03/03/2003 8:36:35 AM PST by mommadooo3
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To: mommadooo3
Seems Athens, Ohio has a nest of 'em. Anything of 'interest' for that area?

On Highway 50, a few miles south of Armitage? Oh yes. But not *terrorists*, or at least not the foreign/Jihadist sort.

-archy-/-

36 posted on 03/03/2003 8:52:45 AM PST by archy (Keep in mind that the milk of human kindness comes from a beast that is both cannibal and a vampire.)
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