TERROR CONCERNS AND ARRESTS BRING ‘ADJUSTMENTS’ TO PUBLIC AGENCIES AND PRIVATE COMPANIES
The Chicago Bears adjusted the list of items not allowed Bears games at Soldier Field to create the safest environment possible as recommended by the NFL. The adjustments are implemented about two weeks after two bulletins were sent to police departments on Monday, September 21, 2009 on concerns regarding terrorist’s desires to attack stadiums, entertainment complexes and hotels. The two bulletins apparently followed similar warnings regarding mass transit facilities.
The warnings came amid an investigation centering on Najibullah Zazi, 24, a Denver airport shuttle driver who authorities say received al-Qaeda explosives training in Pakistan and was found entering New York City two weeks ago with bomb-making instructions on his computer. Zazi claimed he accidentally downloaded the bomb-making instructions when he were searching for religious information on the Internet. Backpacks and cell phones were seized in raids on apartments Zazi visited in New York. Federal authorities allege Zazi, 24, tried to make explosives from beauty supply products purchased at Denver-area stores. Zazi reportedly told an inquisitive beauty store clerk he needed a large amount of cosmetic chemicals because he had “lots of girlfriends.” The clerk had a gut feeling something wasn’t right, but did not report anything to police.
The new items that are banned or scrutinized as part of the adjustments include the following effective October 4, 2009:
Any size backpack
Fanny packs/Hip packs/’man bags’
Purses larger than 12″ X 12″ X 12″
Non-fitting, oversized camera cases
All other types of bags, regardless of size
Allowed after inspection:
Purses smaller than 12″ X 12″ X 12″
Diaper bags (with related items)
Clear zip-lock bags for personal food
Clear Bears Pro Shop bags with merchandise from stadium
Cameras (6″ lens max) and binoculars in fit-to-size case
Above items must fit into 12″ X 12″ template box at gate
Here is the full list of prohibited items listed on the official website of the Chicago Bears — chicagobears.com on October 4, 2009 …
Backpacks of any size
Bags, cases and purses larger than 12” x 12” x 12”
Balloons and beach balls
Cameras with lenses longer than 6”
Cans, bottles or other beverage containers
Clothing or signage with offensive or vulgar language
Fireworks, smoke bombs
Laser pens and pointers
Noise-making devices (i.e., horns, whistles, etc.)
Poles to display banners or flags
Video or movie cameras
Any other items deemed to be dangerous or inappropriate
Items permitted into the stadium, but subject to inspection include:
Extra-clothing bags – clear plastic only
Small Camera/binocular cases
No Direct Threat, Police Nationwide More Proactive, Too
Counterterrorism officials have advised police departments to be on the lookout for any possible bomb-making at self-storage facilities. Terrorists have used self-storage facilities to build bombs.
In New York police presence has increased at transit agencies and police have extra officers with bulletproof vests, rifles and dogs assigned to spots such as Grand Central Terminal. At hotels, plainclothes officers handed out fliers with bold headers: “If you suspect terrorism, call the NYPD.”
Major Cities Police Chiefs Association Endorse iWatch
Los Angeles police Chief William Bratton and Police Cmdr. Joan McNamara have developed a 21st century version of Neighborhood Watch, known as iWatch, which is endorsed by police chiefs from 63 of the largest police departments in the United States and Canada. McNamara affirms that iWatch would have provided a systematic and valid way for that Colorado store clerk and others to report suspicious activity so police could launch investigations sooner. iWATCH is a community awareness program created to educate the public about behaviors and activities that may have a connection to terrorism. The program has compiled a list of (1) examples of suspicious behaviors and activities to report and (2) important places to watch.
Suspicious Behaviors and Activities
People drawing or measuring important buildings.
Strangers asking questions about security or building security procedures.
Briefcase, suitcase, backpack, or package left behind.
Cars or trucks left in No Parking zones in front of important buildings.
Intruders in secure areas where they are not supposed to be.
A person wearing clothes that are too big and too hot for the weather.
Chemical smells or fumes that worry you.
People asking questions about sensitive information such as building blueprints, security plans, or VIP travel schedules without a right or need to know.
Purchasing supplies or equipment that can be used to make bombs or weapons or purchasing uniforms without having the proper credentials.
Important Places to Watch
Mass-gathering locations—parades, fairs, etc.
The alerts come at a time when anti-terrorism experts held an emergency meeting to discuss a new method of terrorism revealed August 28, 2009 — a bomb hidden in terrorist’s intestines. Abdullah al-Asiri, an al-Qaeda terrorist and one of Saudi Arabia’s most wanted men, offered to give himself up to Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef, the head of Saudi Arabia’s counter terrorism operations. Asiri also offered to urge other terrorists to surrender. During a conversation between the prince and the terrorist, a bleep was heard between two identical phrases repeated by the bomber and an apparent militant he was claiming to help surrender on the other end of a cellphone connection. The keypad sound or text message may have activated a short fuse on the bomb that exploded 14 seconds later, according to security experts. The explosion blew Asiri to pieces and left his left arm embedded in the ceiling, but did not kill Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef. The issues regarding detection of this type of explosive terrorism have security experts alarmed.