FBI Issues Alert Against Almanacs


December 30, 2003, 06:06 PM
Didn't see this posted yet.


FBI Issues Alert Against Almanac Carriers
By TED BRIDIS, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - The FBI (news - web sites) is warning
police nationwide to be alert for people carrying
almanacs, cautioning that the popular reference books
covering everything from abbreviations to weather
trends could be used for terrorist planning.

In a bulletin sent Christmas Eve to about 18,000
police organizations, the FBI said terrorists may use
almanacs "to assist with target selection and
pre-operational planning."

It urged officers to watch during searches, traffic
stops and other investigations for anyone carrying
almanacs, especially if the books are annotated in
suspicious ways.

"The practice of researching potential targets is
consistent with known methods of al-Qaida and other
terrorist organizations that seek to maximize the
likelihood of operational success through careful
planning," the FBI wrote.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the bulletin
this week and verified its authenticity.

"For local law enforcement, it's just to help give
them one more piece of information to raise their
suspicions," said David Heyman, a terrorism expert for
the Washington-based Center for Strategic and
International Studies. "It helps make sure one more
bad guy doesn't get away from a traffic stop, maybe
gives police a little bit more reason to follow up on

The FBI noted that use of almanacs or maps may be
innocent, "the product of legitimate recreational or
commercial activities." But it warned that when
combined with suspicious behavior — such as apparent
surveillance — a person with an almanac "may point to
possible terrorist planning."

"I don't think anyone would consider us a harmful
entity," said Kevin Seabrooke, senior editor of The
World Almanac. He said the reference book includes
about a dozen pages out of its 1,000 pages total
listing the world's tallest buildings and bridges but
includes no diagrams or architectural schematics.
"It's stuff that's widely available on the Internet,"
he said.

The publisher for The Old Farmers Almanac said Monday
terrorists would probably find statistical reference
books more useful than the collections of Americana in
his famous publication of weather predictions and

"While we doubt that our editorial content would be of
particular interest to people who would wish to do us
harm, we will certainly cooperate to the fullest with
national authorities at any level they deem
appropriate," publisher John Pierce said.

The FBI said information typically found in almanacs
that could be useful for terrorists includes profiles
of cities and states and information about waterways,
bridges, dams, reservoirs, tunnels, buildings and
landmarks. It said this information is often
accompanied by photographs and maps.

The FBI urged police to report such discoveries to the
local U.S. Joint Terrorism Task Force.

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December 30, 2003, 06:12 PM
This is remarkably stupid. Excuse me while I run down to B&N to buy an Almanac for my dashboard.

Sean Smith
December 30, 2003, 06:51 PM
Duplicate topic.


Highland Ranger
December 30, 2003, 07:48 PM
I heard that they are on the lookout for toilet paper too.

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