From: Otis Willie
Subject: FBI Will Monitor July 4 Festivities
Organization: The American War Library
NNTP-Posting-Date: Wed, 19 Jun 2002 21:35:39 EDT
Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 01:35:39 GMT
FBI Will Monitor July 4 Festivities
(EXCERPT) Wed Jun 19, 6:06 PM ET, by CHRISTOPHER NEWTON, Associated
WASHINGTON (AP) - The FBI ( news - web sites) is putting together a
major national operation to monitor and protect July Fourth parades
and festivities because of concern that terrorists might attack,
officials said Wednesday.
The FBI is not reacting to any specific threat or intelligence, the
officials said. But the interrogation of detainees at the U.S. naval
base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has revealed a general interest in the
day as a possible target, one of the officials said, commenting on
condition of anonymity.
The agency is requiring its 56 field offices to create plans for
monitoring events in their regions. The monitoring will probably
include several forms of electronic surveillance as well as a heavy
presence of field agents, both apparent and undercover, the officials
Parades and festivities in downtown areas near subways or other
mass-transit systems are of special concern, the officials said. Those
activities would be more susceptible to a biological or chemical
attack because of the large number of people packed into a small area.
The government has not put out a public warning or advisory for
Americans to be more cautious specifically on July Fourth.
But the Bush administration's Homeland Security office has advised
government personnel at many levels that security staffing should
remain at normal levels.
"It's important not to reduce the number of guards simply because it's
a national holiday," said spokesman Gordon Johndroe. "All sections of
government must maintain vigilance. For the government, July Fourth
will be just another day at the office."
Joe Valiquette, spokesman for the FBI field office in New York,
acknowledged the office was creating plans to monitor July Fourth
"New York has been the media capital of the world for some time and
has been targeted for terrorism long before Sept. 11," Valiquette
said. "We will not be doing anything that is unusual for major
gatherings and holidays in New York. But we will be ready."
Cheryl Mimura, a spokeswoman for the FBI field office in Los Angeles,
said agents were still evaluating what events were planned. Local
authorities were also being encouraged to take precautions to monitor
In Chicago, FBI field office spokesman David Brown said the
preparations would keep agents from being caught by surprise. "We know
that terrorists use significant dates and large gatherings as a
platform. We want to keep everyone safe," Brown said.
FBI and Justice Department ( news - web sites) officials have said
they believe there are al-Qaida operatives awaiting a chance to
conduct more terrorist attacks.
Dozens of public and private precautions have been taken by the
government over the past several months. Some have been linked to
perceived threats against certain targets — the Orlando, Fla., water
supply, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Liberty Bell.
Officials believe terrorists have made a point of striking near
Richard Reid, 28, a British citizen who authorities allege was trained
in Afghanistan ( news - web sites) by the al-Qaida terrorist group, is
accused of trying to blow up American Airlines ( news - web sites)
Flight 63 during its trip from Paris to Miami just before Christmas.
Reid was overpowered by passengers and crew. Authorities said his
shoes contained plastic explosives.
The FBI also heightened security last Thanksgiving, closely watching
parades in New York and Washington.
"We are aware that holidays could be targeted," said FBI spokesman
Bill Carter. "We are taking precaution based on that."
-- DEA Watch
The Voice of the Drug Enforcement Agent
American Victims of Substance Abuse Memorial