Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Two suspicious Seattle ferry riders were "just businessmen"

Remember those two suspicious ferry riders that the FBI was hunting for? Seattle's KPTV reports:

Two men believed to be acting suspicious on a Washington ferry, thus prompting a terror scare, were just businessmen.

The FBI said the men appeared at a U.S. Embassy two weeks ago to identify themselves. They have since been cleared by officials... The men said they were on business in Seattle last summer, when they took some time out to be tourists and ride a ferry.

While the men took pictures of the area, other riders became suspicious and alerted the FBI.

KPTV dramatically understates the original concerns.

FBI and Department of Homeland Security sources tell me they're concerned about a strange incident in Washington state they fear may indicate terrorists are casing ferries for attacks. The FBI's Seattle division this week made the extremely rare move -- with full approval of the bureau's counterterrorism division in D.C. -- of releasing photos of two men who allegedly have been spotted on up to six different ferry runs...

...The pair, who have not yet been identified or apprehended for questioning, tried to access restricted areas on the ferries, which haul 26 million people a year [and] that the suspects were "taking photographs of doors not seabirds..."

...sources say that the suspicious actions of the men... is disquieting because of the present heightened threat this summer and the unresolved question of who the men are and why they were trying to photograph the ferries' inner workings and procedures. The case has risen to the top of daily intel briefings in recent days, including at the FBI field office in New York, a source said...

And just one question: which embassy did the pair show up in? And is there a reason KPTV failed to report that teensy little detail?

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