From Fox News May 16, 2007
The Associated Press reports that members of the unnamed extremist groups have succeeded in gaining the drivers licenses, but a Department of Homeland Security official told FOX News that “at this time there is no evidence that any of these individuals have got these jobs, or got hold of school buses.”
“There is no plot. There is no threat. And parents and children can feel perfectly safe,” FBI spokesman Richard Kolko told FOXNews.com.
The Department of Homeland Security official said the bulletin was sent to state and local law enforcement officials, and “some school districts have reported an increased number of foreign nationals seeking school bus driver positions and a number of other unusual events.”
The official said that, out of an abundance of caution, FBI shared the information.
An unnamed counterterrorism official told The Associated Press that the bulletin â€” sent Friday to state and local law enforcement agencies â€” did not say how often foreign extremists attempted to get licenses or drive school buses, and did not specify where this might have happened.
The bulletin noted “recent suspicious activity” by foreigners who either drive school buses or are licensed to drive them, the official told The Associated Press.
Foreigners under recent investigation include “some with ties to extremist groups” who have been able to “purchase buses and acquire licenses,” the bulletin says.
But the Homeland Security Department and the FBI “have no information indicating these individuals are involved in a terrorist plot against the homeland,” it says. The memo also notes: “Most attempts by foreign nationals in the United States to acquire school bus licenses to drive them are legitimate.”
It was not immediately clear whether the extremists intended to do with the school buses. One counterterror official, who spoke with The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said it was likely that the foreigners investigated were merely employed as bus drivers, and did not intend to use them as part of any terror plot.
“I hate to characterize this as a warning,” Kolko said, calling it an “informational bulletin.” He said this was part of routine information sent to local law enforcement agencies that they should use only as background information while doing their normal duties.
“This is just an awareness issue for local law enforcement. … It just makes them smarter,” he said.
Kolko said that if he knew which extremist groups were involved in the report, he would not identify them.
FOX News’ Catherine Herridge and Greg Simmons contributed to this report.
What worries me most about warnings such as this one is: We(the general public)Â can’t tell a terrorist from the average Middle Eastern person. Given the litigious nature that many have recently exhibited, this puts the rest of us between a rock and a hard place. If we don’t issue a bus license to someone who turns out not to be a terrorist, we risk being sued for discrimination. If we do issue a license and the person turns out to be a terrorist, we risk being sued because we put others in danger.
Welcome to America the land of the free for all except citizens, folks.