Terror threat hunt continues
December 7, 2006
THE heightened security alert (Condition 3) activated at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport at Timehri last Friday, in the wake of a chemical terror threat against certain airlines, is expected to be lowered today, officials said yesterday.
Acting Police Commissioner Edward Wills yesterday said the FBI and local Police were continuing to follow leads that could nail the person who sent the terror threat email that triggered the tighter security measures at the airport.
The Guyana Chronicle understands that the Threat Assessment Team at the airport that met Tuesday, based on the information available at that time, decided to retain the security measures necessary for Alert Condition 3, and will be meeting again today.
A senior official at the airport yesterday indicated that the Condition 3 alert is “almost certain” to be lowered at today’s meeting because nothing has happened since the threat was made and with investigations indicating that it may be a hoax.
The lowering of the Alert Condition would allow passengers to carry certain items temporarily banned since the threat was made.
The Alert Condition 3 requires Maximum Security Measures including:
* Additional screening of passengers
* More stringent access control measures
* Additional security checks of baggage/hand pieces.
The official, however, assured that the Threat Assessment Team will continue to monitor the situation closely and do a continuous evaluation.
On Tuesday, President Bharrat Jagdeo indicated that the email threatening a chemical terror attack on airlines flying from here to the United States was quickly turning out to be nothing but ‘a hoax’, based on investigations so far by the FBI and local law enforcement officers.
Mr. Jagdeo told reporters the FBI agents deployed to probe the terror threat briefed him that day on the current status of the investigations.
While indications are that the threat may be a hoax, he remained vehement in his condemnation of the act, saying whoever is found culpable will face the full brunt of the law under the Terrorism Act.
“I met the FBI (Tuesday) and they gave me a briefing on the issues and so far it seems as though there was a hoax, based on the initial investigations. But we intend to go the full course in finding that person,” President Jagdeo said.
Referring to the Terrorism Act that is in place, he said the person found culpable of sending the threat will be charged under the act since the email was “designed to cause public panic”.
“We are going to be hunting down that person; we need to send a very strong signal so that this does not happen again,” the President stressed.
Guyana Police and United States FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigations) agents Monday morning swooped on the Netsurf.com internet café on Asylum Street, New Amsterdam, Berbice and seized the CPUs for four computers.
This newspaper has learnt that the terror threat email was sent at 17:03 h Thursday to the U.S. embassy, airlines operating the U.S. routes, and newspapers here.
It was sent from terminal number three of the seven terminals in the internet café and a man who used that terminal was among those held and questioned Monday.
The email said that starting last Friday, some American Airlines, North American Airlines and BWIA flights transporting American citizens from the U.S. to Britain, the Caribbean and African destinations and returning flights will be under serious chemical attack from an “independent militant group.”
The email was sent by M. Atayuv from firstname.lastname@example.org.