Feds. still to catch ‘terror threat' suspect
“We intend to go the full course in finding that person”
-- President Jagdeo
December 6, 2006
Operatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) were yesterday still examining a computer in the hope of identifying the sender of the ‘terrorist threat' e-mail, and President Bharrat Jagdeo vowed that the Government intends to go “the full course” in finding the perpetrator.
Investigators confiscated a computer on Monday after tracing the threatening e-mail to the Netsurf .Com Internet café in New Amsterdam , Berbice.
Kaieteur News understands that they were also questioning several people who used the Internet service during the time that the suspicious e-mail was sent to the media, the local US Embassy, and several airline carriers operating in Guyana.
However, contrary to reports in another section of the media, President Jagdeo told a media conference yesterday that the suspect is yet to be arrested.
A senior employee of the Internet café also said that employees gave statements, but they were not detained.
The employee explained that the company does not keep records of persons who use the service.
Local investigators told Kaieteur News that the absence of records would make it difficult for them to identify the suspect.
According to the investigators, the threat appears to be a hoax, but they are concerned because of the panic that e-mails of this nature could cause.
President Jagdeo told a media conference that he was briefed yesterday by the FBI about the ongoing investigation, and he maintained that the initial investigation suggests that the e-mail was a hoax.
The President warned that Guyana has a Terrorism Act, and the sender of the e-mail will face the full force of the law, since the email, he said, was designed to cause public panic.
“We need to send a strong signal so that this does not happen again in the future,” President Jagdeo said.
According to sources, investigators were able to close in on the New Amsterdam café by first tracing the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the Computer from which the email originated.
Every device connected to the public Internet is assigned a unique number, known as an IP address.
Since these numbers are usually assigned to Internet service providers within region-based blocks, an IP address can often be used to identify the region or country from which a computer is connecting to the Internet. An IP address can sometimes be used to show the user's general location.
According to a source, investigators have also managed to establish that the email was sent from a Yahoo address that was created on Friday, the same day that the email was sent.
The email warned of a series of planned releases of very toxic chemicals at US, African, and Caribbean airports, and on board American Airlines, North American and BWIA aircraft which were about to be launched.
Mailed from the email address:firstname.lastname@example.org, the attack is said to be planned by an independent militant group.
Since Friday evening, Guyana has classified the threat level as ‘Alert Condition 3,' which means additional screening of passengers, more stringent access control measures, and additional security checks of baggage and hand pieces.
Kaieteur News was told that two more scanning machines are to be installed shortly at the airport.
In addition, a source said that a mobile medical unit is to be established at the airport to deal with any emergencies.
Stemming from the stepped up security, passengers will not be allowed to carry liquids, gels, aerosols and powders in their hand luggage.
‘Alert Condition 3' is the highest level of preparedness, using a three-point alert system.