Sunday, August 31, 2014

Archive of Criminalizing Dissent Stories that are Disappearing

LOU SABOTER--Just to preserve history. Enjoy.

Criminalizing Dissent

Miami Probes Police Crushing of Trade Protests
Fri January 16, 2004 02:19 PM ET

By Michael Christie
MIAMI (Reuters) - A civilian panel, facing mistrust among activists, promised an unbiased investigation as it opened a probe of police brutality and infringements of civil rights during protests last year outside a regional free trade meeting in Miami.

The Civilian Investigative Panel of the City of Miami held its first hearing on Thursday night, and heard from activists who said police arrested without cause, fired rubber bullets indiscriminately and kept people in handcuffs for 12 hours during the Nov. 17-21 Free Trade Area of the Americas meeting.

But many activists said they would not cooperate because of mistrust, and demanded a panel member resign because he had praised Police Chief John Timoney for saving Miami from the riots that marred the 1999 Seattle world trade talks.

"The AFL-CIO, the entire labor movement and I am personally committed to making sure this brutality never happens again," said Fred Frost, head of the South Florida AFL-CIO, a trade union federation with 13 million members nationwide.

"I hope this panel restores my faith and my civil rights."

More than 200 people were arrested during the FTAA meeting, at which trade ministers from the Americas failed to make much progress in creating what would be the world's biggest trade zone.

The bulk of the arrests came on Nov. 20, when a mass rally organized by trade unions, environmentalists, civil rights activists and others turned into street skirmishes.

Ranks of riot police fired volleys of rubber bullets, tear gas and pepper spray to drive away largely peaceful marchers.

Police say they reacted, with restraint, when "anarchists" began to throw stones and other missiles.

Protester Nikki Hartman told the investigative panel she was shot several times, and wounded in the head.

"I can't tell you who shot me. I can't tell you because they weren't identified. And I can't tell you because my back was turned," Hartman said.

Others told of elderly Holocaust survivors thrown to the ground and kneed in the back before being handcuffed. They had been trying to find their way back to buses that police had initially agreed to allow into town but then barred.

The AFL-CIO and the American Civil Liberties Union told the panel they would be filing lawsuits against Miami.

The panel's next session is scheduled for Feb. 5, when it will hear from police.

© Reuters 2004. All Rights Reserved.

Web-hosting firm gives Feds hard drives
By T.A. Badger, Associated Press
SAN ANTONIO — A Texas Internet company said Friday it gave U.S. government officials the hard drives from a pair of its Web servers leased to online journalists and others.
San Antonio-based Rackspace Managed Hosting said it turned over the equipment after receiving a court order under an international treaty governing investigations of crimes such as terrorism, kidnapping and money laundering.

Officials from the Independent Media Center, whose London office leased the Web servers for affiliates in more than two dozen countries, says it has been kept in the dark about what the U.S. investigators might be looking for.

"We don't know what court made the order or why, and we don't know the (federal) agency involved," said Hep Sano, an IMC spokeswoman in San Francisco.

The IMC, better known as Indymedia, is a loosely organized collective of online journalists and others posting information to Web sites.

Indymedia describes itself as "a democratic media outlet for the creation of radical, accurate and passionate tellings of truth."

Its central Web site on Friday included stories about a lesbian activist's murder in Sierra Leone, protests against welfare reform in Germany and last weekend's march in Washington against the Iraq war.

The hard drives surrendered in London hosted Internet sites for a disparate group of Indymedia outlets. Most were based in Europe, but a few were from South America and one is in western Massachusetts.

Officials from the U.S. Justice Department in Washington did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment.

Rackspace says the Indymedia investigation did not arise in the United States, and that the company is "acting as a good corporate citizen" and that the court order it received prohibits further comment.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press.

Police Log Confirms FBI Role In Arrests
Group Detained, Questioned During D.C. War Protest

By Carol D. Leonnig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 3, 2007; B01

A secret FBI intelligence unit helped detain a group of war protesters in a downtown Washington parking garage in April 2002 and interrogated some of them on videotape about their political and religious beliefs, newly uncovered documents and interviews show.

For years, law enforcement authorities suggested it never happened. The FBI and D.C. police said they had no records of such an incident. And police told a federal court that no FBI agents were present when officers arrested more than 20 protesters that afternoon for trespassing; police viewed them as suspicious for milling around the parking garage entrance.

But a civil lawsuit, filed by the protesters, recently unearthed D.C. police logs that confirm the FBI's role in the incident. Lawyers for the demonstrators said the logs, which police say they just found, bolster their allegations of civil rights violations.

The probable cause to arrest the protesters as they retrieved food from their parked van? They were wearing black -- a color choice the FBI and police associated with anarchists, according to the police records.

FBI agents dressed in street clothes separated members to question them one by one about protests they attended, whom they had spent time with recently, what political views they espoused and the significance of their tattoos and slogans, according to interviews and court records.

The revelations, combined with protester accounts, provide the first public evidence that Washington-based FBI personnel used their intelligence-gathering powers in the District to collect purely political intelligence. Ultimately, the protesters were not prosecuted because there wasn't sufficient evidence of trespassing, and their arrest records were expunged.

Similar intelligence-gathering operations have been reported in New York, where a local police intelligence unit tried to infiltrate groups planning to protest at the Republican National Convention in 2004, and in Colorado, where records surfaced showing that the FBI collected names and license plates of people protesting timber industry practices at a 2002 industry convention.

Several federal courts have ruled that intelligence agencies can monitor domestic groups only when there is reason to believe the group is engaged in criminal activity. Experts in police conduct say it is hard to imagine how asking questions about a person's political views would be appropriate in a trespassing case.

The Washington case centers on activities that took place April 20, 2002 -- a day of three cacophonic but generally orderly rallies that drew an estimated 75,000 people to the Mall. They included groups demonstrating against the prospect of war in Iraq, numerous supporters of the war, and Palestinians and others rallying for an end to U.S. aid to Israel and for peace in the Middle East.

The police logs for that day show how events developed: Secret Service agents had some concern about a group near the JBG Co. building's garage at 1275 K St. NW just after 5 p.m.

"Intell 53 advises that five members of the anarchist group have entered a parking garage," reads an entry from 5:12 p.m.

Ten minutes later, an entry notes the FBI's role.

"FBI, JOCC advises that an FBI intell team is responding to area of 13th and K/L Streets regarding a report of alleged anarchists in the vicinity," it reads. "There are reportedly 15 anarchists at 13th and K being interviewed. The subjects reportedly had a passkey to a building, but it's unknown how they came to be in possession of it."

The entry notes that D.C. police also were at the site. The protesters were detained at the garage for more than an hour, logs show, until police decided to arrest them for alleged unlawful entry.

D.C. police officials acknowledged in 2003 that the department had a secret intelligence unit that infiltrated and monitored protest groups in the Washington area, even if authorities had no evidence of criminal activity. The practice drew complaints from the D.C. Council, and police promised to develop guidelines.

The Partnership for Civil Justice, a civil liberties group, helped 11 protesters sue D.C. police in 2003 and the FBI last year, alleging that the questioning and detentions violated their civil rights.

In response to the suit, D.C. police at first said that no police intelligence officials were involved in the arrests. Last year, city officials revealed under additional questioning that five members of the police intelligence unit were present.

The plaintiffs argue that the newly released police logs make clear that the FBI, working hand in hand with local police, is engaged in a concerted effort to spy on and intimidate U.S. citizens who are lawfully exercising their free-speech rights. They contend that this is a national effort that abuses the FBI's broad counterterrorism powers and equates political speech with a risk to national security.

"It really is a secret police: This is an effort to suppress political dissent," said Mara Verheyden-Hilliard of the Partnership for Civil Justice. "If this was happening in another country that the U.S. was targeting, U.S. officials at the highest levels would be decrying this as a violation of human rights,"

FBI spokeswoman Debbie Weierman said the agency stands by its assertion in court filings that it maintains no records of the incident.

A law enforcement official familiar with joint operations during protests said it would be typical for the FBI to hand over records of questioning to the lead agency -- in this case, the D.C. police.

D.C. police said authorities only recently found the logs of police responses to that day's events. That discovery came after three years of police assurances in federal court that no such records or logs existed showing the FBI's role.

The records turned up on the eve of a deposition in which a police records technician was to be questioned about the existence of a routine log that his office is responsible for maintaining during any mass protest in Washington.

Sgt. Joe Gentile, a D.C. police spokesman, referred questions to the D.C. attorney general's office.

Traci Hughes, a spokeswoman for the attorney general's office, said the city's lawyers never intentionally misrepresent evidence to the court and come forward when discrepancies turn up.

"We have to rely upon information that the client gives us," Hughes said, adding that police turned over the log as soon as they learned it existed.

In November, as the Partnership for Civil Justice continued to try to get police records of the event, the FBI officials argued that the lawsuit against the agency should be dismissed. They said that the bureau had no relevant records and that if the FBI ever had any records, they had been disposed of when protesters' arrest records were expunged, or "they remain unidentifiable for other reasons." Justice Department attorneys noted, however, that questioning people in a criminal investigation was not improper.

In their lawsuit, the partnership and protesters said the FBI's political and religious questioning was "wholly unrelated to any legitimate activities of law enforcement" and violated their free speech rights under the First Amendment. They noted that some of the protesters had parked their van in the garage and were merely retrieving food.

Staff researcher Meg Smith contributed to this report.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company

ACLU Seeking FBI Files on Activist Probes
Associated Press Writer

9:49 PM PST, December 1, 2004

WASHINGTON — The American Civil Liberties Union is seeking information from the FBI on why bureau task forces set up to combat terrorism also looked into anti-war, animal rights and environmental groups.

Dozens of organizations have been subjected to scrutiny, according to the ACLU, which was filing Freedom of Information Act requests with the FBI on Thursday to try to find out why.

"We think it's clear that the public is interested in the possible return of FBI spying on political and religious groups," said Ann Beeson, the ACLU's associate legal counsel.

The FBI denies singling out individuals or groups for surveillance or investigation based solely on activities protected by the Constitution's guarantees of free speech.

Officials say agents adhere strictly to Justice Department guidelines requiring evidence of criminal activity or indications that a person may know something about a crime.

"Any investigation conducted by the FBI is done under the attorney general's guidelines and in full compliance with the guidelines," FBI spokesman Bill Carter said.

There are terrorism task forces in 100 cities and with more than 3,700 members, including at least 2,000 FBI agents, state and local police, and other federal law enforcement officials. More than half of the task forces were formed after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The ACLU was seeking FBI files on a broad range of individuals and groups that have been interviewed, investigated or subjected to searches by the task forces. The requests also seek information on how the task forces are funded, to determine if they are rewarded with government money by labeling high numbers of cases as related to terrorism, Beeson said.

"What we're afraid is happening is that these cities and towns can get federal anti-terrorism money by identifying local groups as threats in their areas," Beeson said.

The ACLU provided a list of examples, including the Quaker-affiliated American Friends Service Committee that had been monitored by Denver police and was listed as an "active case" by a local terrorism task force.

Others who contend they were improperly monitored or investigated include Rocky Mountain Animal Defense, the Washington-based Campaign for Labor Rights and a number of peace and environmental activists.

The information requests were being filed with FBI headquarters in Washington as well as field offices in Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Oregon, New York, Virginia and Massachusetts, Beeson said. ACLU affiliates in California and New Jersey have previously filed lawsuits seeking similar information.

If the FBI declines to turn over the information, the ACLU can sue in federal court.

* __

On the Net:

American Civil Liberties Union:


Judge Orders D.C. to Release Report on IMF Arrests

By Carol D. Leonnig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 12, 2003; Page B01

A federal judge called upon District Mayor Anthony A. Williams and Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey yesterday to publicly admit that police wrongfully arrested as many as 400 people during demonstrations at a downtown park last year.

"The mayor and the chief of police should step up to the plate and tell the citizens what they did wrong that day in Pershing Park," U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan said during a hearing on four lawsuits filed by many of those caught up in the mass arrests.

"If the city has gone so far as to investigate this matter and recognize it was wrong when hundreds of people were arrested . . . I think the citizens need to know what happened," Sullivan said.

The judge's remarks were the latest development in a controversy that began Sept. 27, 2002, when riot police surrounded the park, at 15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, and then arrested people in the crowd during antiwar and anti-globalization demonstrations.

The lawsuits allege that, on the first morning of tense protests against the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, police surrounded protesters as well as uninvolved bystanders, blocked them from leaving the park, and arrested them without first giving an order to disperse.

The arrests were for failing to obey a police order. The plaintiffs are accusing D.C. police and U.S. Park Police of civil rights violations.

During the hearing, Sullivan repeatedly asked the District government's attorney about news accounts that an internal police investigation had found violations of arrest procedure and possible violations of free speech rights by authorities.

The District's attorney, corporation counsel lawyer Thomas Koger, acknowledged that the report found that the arrests violated general police orders.

Williams (D) has not released the report, dated Jan. 25. He and Ramsey did not attend the hearing.

Yesterday, Sullivan ordered the city to deliver a copy of the report to him and to all attorneys in the case by noon today. The judge said he will consider any requests by the city to keep parts of the report confidential.

"Why shouldn't the public know what you concluded in your investigation?" Sullivan asked Koger. "Think about the lack of public confidence if the mayor and chief say, 'We investigated, we were wrong, but we're not going to tell you what we did wrong.' "

In an interview later, Williams said he wants to be "cooperative and helpful" but said he disagreed that the city has failed to accept responsibility for any mistakes.

"We have acknowledged the seriousness of the situation," Williams said, adding, "We want to learn the lessons from this experience."

D.C. Council member Kathy Patterson (D-Ward 3) publicly summarized some of the report's findings in late February, saying they confirm allegations made by protesters and legal-aid groups. Among other things, Patterson said, the report revealed that police never intended to scatter the crowd but had planned to make arrests.

Patterson has criticized the mayor for not making the report public. She has said that it is up to Williams to release the findings.

Tony Bullock, Williams's spokesman, said the mayor will deliver the report to the judge promptly. But he said the city cannot release some of the report's sensitive information to the public, such as details about police personnel disciplined by the department's Office of Professional Responsibility as a result of the findings.

"To say the entire event was improper would be a mischaracterization," Bullock said. "But we're not saying there's no wrongdoing."

Ramsey said yesterday that he will be happy to provide the judge with the internal report. He declined to comment on the findings because the matter is now the subject of litigation.

"I just hope the judge hasn't made up his mind yet in an ongoing case," he said.

Last fall, Ramsey asserted that police "gave [the people arrested in the park] all the warning we feel we needed to give them." After Patterson went public with some of the report's findings, Ramsey acknowledged that it was unclear whether police gave the crowd an order to disperse, but he maintained that there was adequate reason to arrest the protesters.

He said he was offering no apologies and added, "Here are folks that come in and say they want to take over the city."

Patterson, whose Judiciary Committee is investigating the police force's protest practices, said she agreed with Sullivan's exhortations and had made them herself.

"Nobody in the Williams administration has acknowledged the level of wrongdoing, the violations of basic civil liberties, that seems clear on its face," Patterson said. "That's what caused me concern."

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Posted on Tue, Jan. 11, 2005
Inauguration will feature 'unprecedented security'


Knight Ridder Newspapers

WASHINGTON - The first inauguration since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks will lock down much of the nation's capital with "unprecedented security," Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge announced Tuesday.

An army of 6,000-plus police officers, more than 2,500 military personnel and thousands of Secret Service and other agents from 60 agencies will employ the latest high-tech gear and surveillance to protect the 55th inaugural on Jan. 20.

"Security will be the highest levels it has ever been for any inauguration," Ridge said. "We will have 24-7 surveillance of key inaugural facilities."

While he knew of no specific threats targeting President Bush's second inaugural, Ridge added that an inauguration is "the most visible manifestation of our democracy."

To protect the swearing-in ceremony on the west side of the Capitol and the parade along Pennsylvania Avenue, security teams will use chemical sensors, jet fighter patrols overhead and dozens of bomb-sniffing dogs. Agents in a new command center in suburban Fairfax County, equipped with giant plasma screens and three-dimensional maps, will monitor all events.

Many of the plans and tactics were used at last year's national political conventions, the state funeral for Ronald Reagan and the opening of the World War II Memorial.

One innovation is a bomb-jamming device used in Iraq to foil the detonation of explosives. Army Maj. Gen. Galen Jackman, in charge of coordinating much of the security, said bomb squads, emergency medical teams and even an engineering unit to deal with collapsed buildings will be on standby.

"This is the center of gravity for our country," Jackman said. "We do not underestimate our enemies."

Large swaths of downtown Washington will be closed to traffic, and parking garage use and truck deliveries will be tightly restricted. Two Metro subway stations will be closed much of the day. The no-fly zone for private planes will be extended to a radius of 23 miles from the city's center.

Many of the major law and lobbying firms along the parade route are cutting back on traditional parties because of anticipated problems for guests and deliveries getting through checkpoints.

Several groups plan to protest Bush's second term, and D.C. Police Chief Charles Ramsey said protesters and other members of the public would have access to the parade route, subject to screenings and searches.

But protest signs cannot be attached to anything that could be a weapon, the Secret Service announced. No picnic baskets, large backpacks, strollers or umbrellas will be allowed along the parade route.

Despite the widespread cooperation between 60 different agencies, there was one source of friction Tuesday. Unlike previous such events, the Bush administration is refusing to reimburse the District of Columbia for costs associated with the inauguration.

That could amount to $11.9 million that has to come from other local sources or federal grants for long-range security measures, complained Mayor Anthony Williams.

"There is still a disconnect between the federal government and the district over the cost of the inauguration," said P.J. Crowley, a former Pentagon spokesman and senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank.

While D.C. residents and workers are chafing over some of the restrictions during inauguration week, most have become used to the heightened security since 2001. The era when presidents walked the parade route or rode in open carriages and cars is long past.

"It's critical that the inauguration goes safely," said Michael Greenberger, who heads the Center for Health and Homeland Security at the University of Maryland.

"Any balancing between public participation and the safety of the president and other officials will come down on the side of safety," Greenberger said.

(Davies reports for The Miami Herald.)

Metro Officers Keep a Keen Eye on Riders
New Behavioral Profiling Techniques, TSA Training Help Target Suspicious Subway Passengers

By Sara Kehaulani Goo
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 10, 2005; Page A06

Metro police officers are using new behavioral profiling techniques as they patrol subway stations, identifying suspicious riders and pulling them aside for questioning.

The officers are targeting people who avoid eye contact, loiter or appear to be looking around transit stations more than other passengers, officials said. Anyone identified as suspicious will be stopped and questioned about what they are doing and where they are going.

As part of their preparations for tighter security during the presidential inauguration, the officers have been trained by the Transportation Security Administration to take notice of the same behavioral characteristics and patterns that airport security officials watch for.

"It is effective," said Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein, who noted that a few pickpockets have been caught over the past six months as officers in uniform and plain clothes have been applying their special observation skills.

A similar observation regime at Boston's Logan International Airport has been challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed a lawsuit on behalf of an African American ACLU employee who said he was stopped and questioned by police for no reason after arriving on a flight from the West Coast. Security experts say race is not reason alone to approach someone.

Metro is also planning to place more of its 380-officer force on patrol in stations during the inauguration and to close two stations. The TSA will lend Metro bomb-sniffing dogs and may deploy airport security screeners to test bags and luggage with explosive-detection devices at the stations. The screeners will not be called upon to inspect every Metro rider but rather to operate machines that detect explosive residue on unattended bags, said an official familiar with the plans. The official was not sure whether Metro would use new handheld explosive-detection machines or more traditional machines, which heat fibers on a cotton swab that was swiped around a bag.

"A handful [of screeners] will be placed in strategic locations throughout the area," Farbstein said.

The train bombings in Madrid in March prompted Metro Police Chief Polly Hanson to seek the TSA's assistance months ago because of concern that such attacks could be copied in Washington's transit system, which handles about 650,000 riders per day.

The TSA is working with the Secret Service, which is overseeing inauguration security, on plans to bring in as many as 500 airport screeners from across the country to assist with the security, according to people familiar with the plans who spoke on condition of anonymity because the plans are not final. The TSA employees will screen people along the parade routes and other locations using metal-detection equipment.

TSA spokesman Mark Hatfield declined to discuss the agency's plans for behavior-observation training at airports but confirmed the agency had trained Metro police. He said the agency has offered to assist Metro for the inauguration, but many of the details, such as how many screeners and bomb-sniffing dogs would be assigned to Metro stations, are to be left to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

"We're providing assets," Hatfield said. "We're looking to WMATA for how they want them deployed and how they want to use them."

Law enforcement agencies at airports have increasingly used behavioral profiling methods after a deadly shooting at Los Angeles International Airport in July 2002, when a gunman killed two people and wounded three others near the El Al ticket counter.

The Massachusetts State Police has come under criticism for its program at Logan airport after its treatment of ACLU employee King Downing, who said he was threatened with arrest after refusing to show his identification. His belongings also were searched. The ACLU has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Boston against the state police, alleging illegal search and seizure.

"You can't use this very subjective sense of who's suspicious as a substitute for what the law would otherwise require . . . such as a basis for suspicion that someone is engaged in criminal conduct," said John Reinstein, legal director for the ACLU of Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts State Police referred questions about its program to the Massachusetts Port Authority, which operates Logan airport. The port authority said its behavior-pattern recognition program has been effective, but it did not provide details on how many arrests had resulted.

"Logan's Behavior Pattern Recognition program is specifically designed to ensure the protection of everyone's constitutional and civil rights," the agency said in a statement. "Racial profiling is not an effective law enforcement tool and plays no role in behavior pattern recognition."

Security experts say such techniques can be useful in a transit system if deployed by well-trained law enforcement officers, but they must be able to explain to travelers why they are being questioned. "If a police officer asks you a question, they have to have a reasonable suspicion that they can articulate. . . . We don't live in a national ID-requirement society," said Charles Slepian, chief executive of the Foreseeable Risk Analysis Center, a security-related think tank for the public and private sectors.

Isaac Yeffet, former security official with Israel's El Al airline, said such strategies are best conducted covertly, with officers out of uniform, and they should be considered just one of many security tools. "This can help, but this is only one item from series of items that the security has to cover," Yeffet said.

Staff writer Lyndsey Layton contributed to this report.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company

Missiles deployed for inauguration

By Bill Gertz

The military has deployed anti-aircraft missiles within range of the Capitol as part of security enhancements for tomorrow's presidential inauguration.
The missile deployment comes even though the FBI and Homeland Security Department concluded in a recent threat assessment that there is no credible information showing that terrorists have targeted inaugural events.
Army Avenger missile systems, a Humvee-mounted version of the Stinger anti-aircraft missile, were deployed in the weekend at several locations in the Washington area, including the northern tip of Bolling Air Force Base in Southeast.

"It is a NORAD deployment," said Army Maj. Maria Quon, a spokeswoman for the North American Aerospace Defense Command, the joint U.S.-Canadian defense system developed during the Cold War.
Maj. Quon said that in addition to the Avengers, military and security agencies have deployed F-16, F-15 and support aircraft and radar and communications systems.
The combat jets are flying round-the-clock patrols to deal with any aircraft threats to tomorrow's ceremonies. Additionally, the Air Force is flying E-3 airborne warning and control aircraft that are conducting surveillance missions and would help guide interceptor jets to targets.
The Avengers and other weapons are part of an "interagency multilayered air defense of the national capital region," Maj. Quon said. She declined to comment on the locations of the weapons and equipment.
However, past deployments included Fort Lesley J. McNair in Southwest and the grounds of the Pentagon.
The Stinger missiles could be used against any aircraft that attempts to attack or strays into restricted airspace over the Washington area.
A seven-page Jan. 11 threat assessment concluded that "at this time, there is no credible information indicating that domestic or international terrorist groups are targeting the inauguration."
"However, the inauguration may be an attractive target if al Qaeda has made a strategic decision to show that it has the ability to disrupt the American democratic process," the report said. "Moreover, given the heavy media attention and the political nature of the inauguration, an opportunity arises for terrorist groups to capitalize on the publicity an act of terrorism would generate."
The report said Washington remains "at or near the top" of al Qaeda's list of targets.
"In the national capitol region (NCR), there is a loose network of individuals who are, at the very least, sympathetic to Sunni extremism," the report said.
"While the Sunni extremist presence in the NCR appears largely limited to training, fund-raising and facilitation of overseas activities, this presence could give the Sunni extremist movement a potential operational capability in the region."
The report said recent threat reporting warned that al Qaeda studied the use of limousines as car bombs.
"Limousines have a large storage capacity and might be able to gain access to otherwise restricted areas," the report said.
The report said using aircraft in attacks is "part of al Qaeda's strategy."
"Al Qaeda operatives have also explored conducting an attack against U.S. interests using helicopters," the report said, noting that helicopters could be an alternative to airplane attacks because of their maneuverability and nonthreatening appearance in urban areas.
The missile deployment was part of security enhancements put in place for what the Homeland Security Department has designated a "special security event."
The U.S. Secret Service is in charge of security for the inauguration.

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