Have you seen these men?

The FBI is asking for your help in locating either of these two men:

ferry_suspects.jpg

They were last seen in Washington, acting strangely on a ferry:

The FBI is asking for the public’s help to identify two men who have been seen acting strangely aboard Washington State ferries recently.

According to federal agents, passengers have seen the men on several occasions exhibiting unusual behavior. The FBI did not say precisely what that unusual behavior entailed.

FBI spokeswoman Robbie Burroughs said the men have been reported by by passengers on several ferry runs and, while the behavior may have been innocuous, investigators would like to talk to the men.

Burroughs said the men appeared to be taking an unusual interest in the workings of the boat, but she would not elaborate.

Passengers and crew members on different runs on separate dates reported the men to authorities.

Anyone who knows the men or there whereabouts are asked to call the FBI at (206) 622-0460.
Also added as information was that ferry employees were warned to be on the lookout for unusual or suspicious behavior after someone took “out-of-the-ordinary” photos and were not acting like commuters or tourists. That incident took place last month and is still under investigation.

Michelle Malkin reminds us that terrorists considering using ferries for the next attack is nothing new:

Groups of men, including one tied to a federal terrorism investigation, have videotaped Washington ferry operations, prompting federal authorities to conclude the system has been under surveillance as a possible target for an attack.

U.S. Attorney John McKay, officials in the U.S. Coast Guard and other members of Seattle’s Joint Terrorism Task Force all share in that conclusion.

“We may well be the target of preoperational terrorist planning,” McKay said.

A confidential FBI assessment of the threat to the state ferries is partly behind an increase in security for large-capacity ferries nationwide, McKay and others say.

The state ferry system is the nation’s largest, carrying 26 million passengers last year. It began implementing new security requirements — including tripling the number of cars screened for explosives — this weekend.

For its assessment, the FBI gathered 157 incidents on or near ferries that law-enforcement officers, ferry workers and passengers have reported as suspicious since Sept. 11, 2001. The Seattle Times obtained a document detailing those incidents.

The agency ranked the incidents according to the perceived threat, with most deemed a low or moderate risk. Many involved reports of passengers who appeared to be Middle Eastern and were simply using a camera or cellphone. Other reports gave such little detail that they were difficult to investigate.

But the FBI determined 19 incidents were highly likely or extremely likely to involve terrorist surveillance of the ferries, with individuals asking probing questions about ferry operations or taking photos of stairwells, car decks and workers going about their jobs.

Three incidents involve one man who is a known subject in an FBI terrorism investigation.

In the spring, a team of Navy and Marine officers, as part of a military graduate-school assignment, scouted targets in San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle that could be vulnerable to terrorists. The officers concluded terrorists could attack all three cities, and likely could detonate bombs and cripple as many as five ferries simultaneously in Puget Sound’s frigid waters.

Since that exercise, the ferries have boosted security to meet new federal mandates, but the system likely remains vulnerable, said the class instructor, who presented the group’s findings to local law enforcement and ferry officials in a closed meeting last spring, and again to U.S. mayors in Washington, D.C., last week.

If terrorists successfully attack the system, casualties could be high. Ferries with a full load of passengers don’t have enough lifeboats or rescue platforms for everyone aboard. And while there are several rescue slides on each car deck, an explosion could disable them or make them unreachable.
That story was published in the Seattle Times in 2004.

Al-Qaeda has used ferries before, in February of 2004, when a man boarded a ferry carrying 1,747 passengers bound from Manila to Bacolod in the Philippines. He had eight pounds of TNT on board with him, which he left on board before he jumped ship. About an hour later, an explosion killed over 100 people. A man was arrested who admitted to the bombing and has known ties to Al-Qaeda.

You can find more information on maritime-related terrorist attacks here. Michael Richardson, who wrote the piece, notes that while maritime attacks are less common and overshadowed by air attacks, the list of both failed and successful attacks over the last decade is significant. He also notes that maritime attacks haven’t seemed as significant because the suicide bombers were using cruder explosives — but noted that this is changing as better weapons fall into the hands of terrorists.

The Seattle P-I has refused to run the photos, claiming that neither man is a suspect or has been charged with anything. None of the 19 men who hijacked four planes on September 11 were suspects or charged with anything on September 10, either. And of course, being aware and alert of what’s going on around you is considered “racial profiling” by leftists, those bastions of fairness and tolerance they are. They aren’t as concerned with keeping innocent Americans safe and alive as they are with not hurting anyone’s feewings (but then, they’d also probably claim that we aren’t really innocent).

Remember to keep your eyes peeled for these men and any other kind of suspicious behavior you may see. If you need a refresher on why, re-read Michelle Malkin’s John Doe Manifesto. CAIR will try to bully the American people into keeping silent — don’t. The sixth anniversary of 9-11 approaches. Remain alert and aware.

Others following this story: Michelle Malkin, Moonbattery, The American Pundit, Ace of Spades, The Jawa Report

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