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Al Qaeda Targets VA Hospitals

Via the Chicago Tribune:

Report: al-Qaida May Target VA Hospitals

By CURT ANDERSON
Associated Press Writer
Published August 27, 2004, 10:16 AM CDT

WASHINGTON -- Al-Qaida may attempt to attack Veterans Affairs hospitals as an alternative to more heavily guarded U.S. military installations, the FBI and Homeland Security Department warn in a new nationwide terrorism bulletin.

Although U.S. authorities say there is no credible intelligence regarding a specific threat against such hospitals, the bulletin said there have been persistent reports of "suspicious activity" at medical facilities throughout the United States.

That includes "possible reconnaissance activities" this year at unspecified military medical facilities in Bethesda, Md., and Aurora, Colo., the bulletin said. Even though later investigation of these two incidents uncovered no links to terrorism, the bulletin urges vigilance at VA hospitals on the part of police and security personnel.
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The new bulletin repeats a number of previously released indicators of possible terrorist surveillance. These include unusual interest in security measures or access points of buildings; operatives possibly disguised as "panhandlers, shoe shiners, food or flower vendors"; discreet use of video cameras in areas not frequented by tourists; and individuals seen observing security drills or procedures....

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