Skip to comments.U.S. security memos warn of little things (are we in a PoliceState ?)
Posted on 05/26/2003 6:57:25 PM PDT by follow the money
U.S. security memos warn of little things
FORT WORTH, Texas - Fidgeting while standing in line at a grocery store. Pushing a baby carriage through a crowd.
A blank stare.
These common human acts would have received little attention until America went on constant watch after the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
But now the federal government has been telling local law enforcement agencies to watch for simple things such as body language - a scratch here, a twitch there - that could give away a would-be terrorist attempting to blend into everyday American life while planning an attack.
In a recent memo to police, the Homeland Security Department said local officers should watch for anyone who "may show arrogance and hatred toward Americans through bragging, expressed dislike of attitudes and decisions of the U.S. government, superiority of religious beliefs and difficulty tolerating proximity to those he hates."
"E.G., Waiting in a grocery store line becomes intolerable."
Federal bulletins, recently obtained by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram from a local police source, offer a glimpse of how officers are being prepped in their new role as protectors of national security.
Some of the notices, produced by Homeland Security's Risk Assessment Division, state what seems to be obvious.
One suggests that an officer confronting a terrorist should "make physical contact with the suspect to distract his attention and physically impede his forward movement."
Other bulletins are disturbing.
"The potential for anti-U.S. terrorist groups to use suicide/homicide bombing tactics against a VIP motorcade, principals dining out at a restaurant ... or (people at) a crowded public venue, cannot be discounted," warns one federal message to police around the country.
The department's messages say that the material is "law enforcement sensitive," warranting the need to "minimize dissemination to only those within the law enforcement community."
But Rachael Sunbarger, a spokeswoman for Homeland Security headquarters in Washington, said the public release of material in the bulletins does not threaten national security.
Much of the information, Sunbarger said, is also passed on to potential terrorist targets in the private sector, including chemical and oil companies and trucking enterprises.
The alerts are designed to keep local police plugged into what federal authorities are learning in Washington.
"Police officers and other first responders are on the front lines in the war against terrorism and we want to provide them with the best intelligence information we have," Sunbarger said.
But Fort Worth Police Chief Ralph Mendoza said the bulletins are often "very broad and not very specific," leaving local officers wondering just how much of a risk is posed to the immediate region.
The federal government's efforts to keep local police informed are noble, Mendoza said, but "I think it needs a little tweaking," including doing away with some of the colors in Homeland Security's system of alerts.
That system went from an "elevated yellow" to a "high orange" last week, and a bulletin told police Tuesday, "The U.S. intelligence community believes that al-Qaida has entered an operational period worldwide, and this may include attacks in the U.S."
The directive quotes Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge as saying: "For all Americans, we recommend that you continue with your plans for work or leisure. However, your vigilance at large public events, or other locations where crowds gather, can help us disrupt terrorists' plans."
Recent bulletins urge police, who are traditionally drilled to use force as a last resort, to move quickly - even before asking questions - when they meet a potential terrorist.
"Insure physical control before questioning, especially of hands and arms," one federal memo says.
A terrorist, Homeland Security officials wrote, may be detected by his "Pale face from recent shaving of beard," or by "No obvious emotion seen on the face" or "May appear to be in a 'trance.'"
Bulletins have also told police to be on the lookout for "explosive filled 'suicide' vests and belts."
The memos offer scenarios similar to the Sept. 11 attacks, when thousands of people died when two hijacked planes rammed into the World Trade Center in New York and the two buildings collapsed.
It "cannot be discounted," an April 23 alert says, "for terrorists to employ multiple suicide/homicide bombers in which the first attack is designed to cause casualties and draw first responders to the scene specifically to expose them to a second suicide/homicide bomber attack."
It is also believed, the federal messages say, that terrorist groups may increasingly be recruiting female operatives, both to secure financial transactions and to carry out surprise attacks.
"A female suicide/homicide bomber may disguise an explosive device under clothing in a fashion that makes her appear pregnant," one directive says. "An explosive device could also be concealed in an innocuous fashion such as in a baby carriage.
"Male bombers may also dress as females in order to discourage scrutiny," the directive says.
Some of the government's advice for police may seem simplistic or bizarre, but it is crucial to keeping officers on their toes, said Bob Taylor, chairman of the criminal justice department at the University of North Texas and a counterterrorism expert for the Justice Department.
The reports are a constant reminder, Taylor said, that officers now have to search for more than just common criminals. They must also be vigilant for fanatics - usually raised in deprivation - who believe they are at war and are willing to die for their cause, he said.
Mike Johnston, executive chief deputy of the Tarrant County Sheriff's Department, agrees.
"Traditionally, law enforcement has looked for drunk drivers, burglars, the criminal element that is out there on the streets," Johnston said. Since 9-11, police are also being told they may have to one day deal with a terrorist "intent on dying, and taking you with him," he said.
Homeland Security bulletins have described just how determined a terrorist might be, saying he "will engage in 'private rituals' within hours of the bombing that have religious and symbolic meaning, such as bathing, fasting, shaving of body hair, perfuming and increased praying."
"These acts reinforce the meaning of his suicide bombing, steel him to the task, and keep him focused on the larger cause."
Then, the bulletin adds, "Just prior to detonation, suspect may hold his hands above his head and shout a phrase; or suspect will place his hands and head close to the bomb to obliterate post-mortem identification."
The alerts have reminded police that a domestic terrorist attack can come from a U.S. hate group just as easily as from a foreign fanatic, noting as an example Timothy McVeigh, the Persian Gulf War veteran executed for planning and carrying out the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, which killed 168 people, including 19 children.
On April 16 of this year, three days before the 10th anniversary of the federal government's raid on the Branch Davidian religious compound near Waco, Homeland Security officials told police to be on heightened alert.
"Although right wing extremists have not carried out a major terrorist attack in recent years," the bulletin says, "they continue to engage in nationwide recruitment, organization and, in some cases, paramilitary training."
The alert says that on April 10, authorities in Tyler found an "arms cache apparently destined for distribution to militia groups," as well as "documents on the production and use of poisonous gases and booby traps."
I was at a Memorial Day service today at a public building with military significance, and you better believe that I was conscious of the people and situation around me. I wasn't paranoid--just aware.
Fans of "La Femme Nikita" know what that's all about. Perfect cover for a terrorist.
Like the one that came in from Canada to blow the space needle in Seatle????? Dayamn!!! I thought Janet Reno was out of the DOJ!
One huge difference: Israel isn't bothered with PC liberal claptrap. They look for terrorists, not weapons. In other words, racial profiling.
We would be wise to employ a similar strategy......
Wait till Hollywood hears about this
We should see lots of islamonazis freeping if this is the case.