Archive for 10/03/2011

WTSP – 

They search the ocean depths hunting for evidence left by predators deadlier than great white sharks.

They are members of the FBI’s Technical Dive Team, an elite group of special agents tracking terrorism underwater.

Starting next year, this 10-member team could be called on to search for evidence left behind by international terrorists in water contaminated by chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear waste.

“There have been enough scenarios recently,” says team member Supervisory Special Agent James Tullbane, citing the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India, which began when terrorists entered the port city by boat.

“If you look at Mumbai and you look at various international incidents that occurred where there’s attacks on American civilians or attacks on American interests where water has been involved, … we determined that we really do need to expand our capabilities.”

A year ago, the FBI created the Technical Dive Team with a primary mission of gathering evidence after a terrorist attack to help find and prosecute those responsible.

The team’s ability to operate in contaminated water and to dive at extreme depths sets these divers apart from the FBI’s existing Underwater Search and Evidence Response Teams.

Full story…

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gCaptain – 

Ten heavily armed Somali militants, driving their boat under the cover of darkness, kidnapped a Frenchwoman on a resort island in northern Kenya early Saturday, officials said.

The government blamed the attack on Somali militants from al-Shabab, and the Kenyan navy and police chased the boat at sea.

“Security forces swung into immediate action and pursued the abductors as they sped northwards in a high-speed boat,” according to a government statement, toward Ras Komboni, the town in Somalia where the government said the militants originated.

“In the ensuing shoot-out between the abductors and the Kenya Navy, several of the abductors were injured but managed to enter” Ras Komboni, the statement said.

At one point during the chase two Kenyan boats had the suspected pirate boat surrounded, with four men and the kidnapped woman on board, said Tourism Minister Najib Balala. A plane overhead was also monitoring the situation, he said.

“We are just concerned about the safety of the lady,” Mr. Balala said. He identified her as Marie Dedieu. There was uncertainty about her age; French officials said in a statement that she is in her 60s but the Kenyan government called her elderly and one official said she was in her 70s.

Ambrose Munyasia, a top police official on the coast, said he had information that the French government would join the chase. He said he was optimistic the woman would be rescued soon.

But by early evening in Kenya there was no news of a successful rescue.

In a message to Kenyans, the government said that “adequate security measures” had been put into place.

The French Foreign Ministry said in a statement that French officials were “working with the Kenyan authorities, who have mobilized significant air and sea resources in order to free our compatriot.”

Officials had earlier indicated Somali pirates had pulled off the attack, before the government later blamed al-Shabab. If pirates are involved, it would be the second such attack near the popular tourist town of Lamu in a month. In early September, pirates shot dead a British man and kidnapped his wife from a resort near Lamu.

Full story…