Monday, December 29, 2003

Beware of Suspicious Reference Books

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, few items have gained as much notoriety or aroused as much suspicion as box cutters. And other previously mundane objects, from crop dusters to the little knives attached to nail clippers, have drawn the concerns of those trying to keep the U.S. safe and inured a wary public to a new way of looking at things. But the latest warning sent to police nationwide by the FBI is nonetheless bound to raise some eyebrows. The Feds issued a Christmas Eve bulletin to about 18,000 law enforcement organizations telling them to be on the lookout for ... almanacs, the catch-all reference books most often consulted for weather trends and the trivia of daily life.

The FBI said members of al Qaeda 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, according to the Associated Press, which obtained a copy of the bulletin. The FBI noted that use of almanacs or maps may be innocent, but that when combined with suspicious behavior, a person with an almanac "may point to possible terrorist planning."

Really officer, it's not an almanac... it's just a book on how to make bombs!

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