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Thread: Be Alert For Bogus Officials

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    Be Alert For Bogus Officials

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    Deparments Warned on Terrorist Threats from 'Within'
    Jersey Officials Investigate Attempt to Buy Ambulance

    LARRY CELONA
    Courtesy New York Post


    NEW YORK --- Fire and police brass are on alert for a new and especially insidious threat - terrorists bearing bombs in replica cop cars, ambulances or firetrucks.

    Fears of such a tactic were fueled this month when two unidentified Middle Eastern men tried to purchase a replica ambulance from a company in north Jersey, law-enforcement sources told The Post.

    The two men tried to pay in cash, then fled when company employees began grilling them on their motives, the sources said.

    The employees alerted their local cops, who passed word along to New York's state Office of Public Security - which, in turn, alerted NYPD and FDNY officials, the sources said.

    "There's concern that official vehicles, meaning ambulances, police cars or a firetruck, could be used to deliver some kind of bomb," said one source.

    Feared most are these two scenarios:


    A lookalike ambulance or other official vehicle is loaded with explosives, and passes easily into the sensitive areas surrounding a hospital, a power plant or a government or justice complex - particularly during an existing emergency.
    A terrorist disguised in an official cop, fire or EMT uniform uses the lookalike vehicle to gain access to a sensitive building, or for some other nefarious purpose, including the theft of radioactive materials from a hospital, the planting of an explosive, or an other act of sabotage, the sources said.
    Meanwhile, the White House was briefly evacuated and military jets were sent scrambling shortly after 8 last night when a small plane flew through restricted airspace near the executive mansion.

    The Cessna aircraft landed in Richmond, Va., without incident, and law-enforcement officials said it appeared to be simply a case of a pilot who got lost.

    President Bush had returned just 20 minutes earlier from a Republican fund-raiser when some staffers and reporters were ordered to leave the building.

    Bush himself remained in the White House, but was protected by unspecified security measures.

    Authorities were interviewing the Cessna pilot, who had flown from a small airport in Massachusetts, and had not made required radio contact as he approached Washington, officials said.

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    Attempt to Buy Ambulance Spurs Fear

    Attempt to Buy Ambulance Spurs Fear

    WAYNE PARRY
    Associated Press Writer

    NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- An attempt by two Middle Eastern men to buy a fake ambulance spurred authorities to issue warnings that terrorists may seek to use bogus emergency vehicles as weapons, authorities said.

    About two weeks ago, two men walked into Movie Time Cars Inc., a Lyndhurst company that rents replicas of ambulances and police cars to TV and film producers. The men offered to pay cash to buy a replica ambulance, said Joe Sargo, the company's owner.

    ``They said they had cash and wanted to buy an ambulance,'' he said. ``I was suspicious because most of my clients don't walk in and offer cash to buy ambulances. I told them we couldn't do that, and they left.''

    An employee jotted down the license plate number of the delivery truck they were driving and called police, Sargo said.

    Sandra Carroll, a spokeswoman for the Newark FBI office, said the FBI does not believe the incident was linked to any terrorist activity.

    Nonetheless, Carroll said, the information about the incident from Lyndhurst police ``was combined with some intelligence that ambulances or police cars may be a target.'' She declined to elaborate.

    Alerts were sent to Bergen County, N.J., and New York City police and rescue agencies to be on the lookout for anyone trying to obtain an emergency vehicle or look-alike.

    The FBI knows who owns the truck, Carroll said, but has not yet determined the identities of the two men. The men, whom Carroll described as Middle Eastern, are being sought for questioning, she said.

    Movie Time does not have actual ambulances or police cars, but the replicas are authentic enough that they can pass for the real thing, Sargo said.

    ``For all intents and purposes, what they wanted looked like an ambulance,'' he said.

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    FBI Warns of Fuel Tank Attacks

    FBI Warns of Fuel Tank Attacks

    CHRISTOPHER NEWTON
    Associated Press Writer

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- The FBI is advising law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for terrorists who possibly are plotting to use fuel tankers to attack Jewish neighborhoods and synagogues, a federal law enforcement official said Friday.


    This official, who asked not to be identified, said the warning was sent out to local police agencies Friday.

    Another official, also speaking on grounds of anonymity, said the warning was not based on a specific threat, but on interviews with captured al-Qaida and Taliban fighters who indicated such a plot had been discussed. The interviews with detainees did not reveal a target city or time, this official said.

    ``Even if unconfirmed, we analyze incoming information as quickly as possible and if we think there is any chance it could be helpful, we make the decision to send it,'' one official said.

    A Bush administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the warning concerns potential attacks against U.S. interests in America or abroad.

    The notice to law enforcement agencies also said: ``Law enforcement agencies are encouraged to make contact with appropriate Jewish community representatives and officials and trucking and fuel delivery facilities that operate fuel tanker trucks or commercial fueling stations and emphasize the need to report suspicious activities or persons.''

    Bush administration officials stressed that the information is as unspecified and as uncorroborated as intelligence that led to similar alerts concerning shopping malls and banks in recent weeks.

    The nation's overall alert status is still unchanged from code yellow, which is the third-highest stage of alert.

    Since Sept. 11, administration officials have struggled to strike a balance with the alerts. They have been accused of both withholding information from the public and giving so many warnings that Americans might let down their guard.

    The law enforcement official said the latest advisory was sent across the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System, an electronic system that allows the FBI to send alerts or messages to police in all 50 states simultaneously.

    The Homeland Security office approved the message before it was sent, according to the official. The FBI's 56 field offices also were made aware of the advisory.

    The United States believes al-Qaida has used fuel tankers as weapons before.

    In Tunisia, a man named Nizar Naouar is believed to have blown up a gas truck near the historic Ghriba synagogue last month. Eighteen people were killed, many of them German tourists.

    Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, accused of masterminding the Sept. 11 attacks, is suspected of ties to the bombing, a U.S. official has said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    The FBI has initiated several nationwide efforts to disrupt possible terrorist plots in recent weeks.

    FBI agents have been contacting hundreds of scuba diving shops out of concern the next wave of terrorist attacks could be carried out by divers.

    The FBI said it is looking into whether al-Qaida operatives have been taking scuba training in order to blow up ships at anchor, power plants, bridges, depots or other waterfront targets.

    Also, a maintenance worker who said he wanted to buy a replica ambulance for tool storage triggered an FBI warning in two states that terrorists might try to use emergency vehicles in an attack. After interviewing the man, the FBI found he had no such plan.

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