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WAR ON TERRORISM Security, surveillance, Sept. 11 scenes



Published: Fri, August 23, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The latest developments in the war on terrorism:

AIRLINE SECURITY

Federal agents arrested at least 60 airport workers, many with access to restricted areas such as planes and runways, who were accused of using false identification at Southern California airports.

The raid Thursday, part of a national sweep started last fall known as "Operation Tarmac," uncovered immigration violations and document fraud, but found no connections to terrorist groups, authorities said.

"It was very low-key," said Ontario International Airport Police Acting Chief David Hanlon. "They talked to the people they were looking for and they took them away."

The workers were employed by private companies as janitors, baggage handlers and maintenance workers at Los Angeles International, Ontario International, Long Beach Municipal and John Wayne airports.

Nationwide, hundreds of workers with access to high-security areas of airports have been arrested in sweeps since Sept. 11.

SECRET COURT

In a rare glimpse into the inner workings of one of the United States' most secretive courts, documents released Thursday show that federal judges have voiced grave misgivings for years about the way the Justice Department has handled classified wiretaps and searches in terrorism cases.

The FBI gave false information in more than 75 requests for top-secret warrants brought in recent years before the special court, which hears cases related to international terrorism and espionage probes, the documents revealed. Known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court, or FISA Court, the panel reviews government requests to spy on suspected foreign agents or terrorists.

The special court was so concerned by Attorney General John Ashcroft's behind-the-scenes efforts to broaden the FBI's spying abilities in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that the court in May secretly ordered Ashcroft to scale back the regulations, the documents showed.

The Justice Department appealed the order Thursday, marking the first time the department has ever initiated such an appeal of a ruling by FISA Court, which is so secretive that it meets in a windowless chamber deep inside the Justice Department, its operations heavily guarded.

AL-QAIDA TAPES

Al-Qaida recorded news coverage of the Sept. 11 attacks in what appears to be a chilling epilogue to a series of terror training videos, said CNN, which aired the final tape today.

The video, titled "American Under Fire" by Al-Qaida, includes footage of smoke billowing from the World Trade Center towers, rescue workers rushing to the scene and a man with a bloodied face describing his escape from the burning towers.

Also today, the network aired several videotapes showing militants fighting or training in Russia, Asia and East Africa -- visual evidence, it said, of Al-Qaida's extensive presence around the globe and its links to other terror groups.

Source: Combined dispatches




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