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Terror Link to Cell Phones?

Friday, January 13, 2006

It seems that everyone has a cell phone. They are available at stores across the country, but now FBI investigators are zeroing in on them, questioning whether they may play a more sinister role in the hands of suspected terrorists. Here in Southern California a suspicious buy of 150 cell phones was made in December.

A target story in Hemet was offering a good deal on "pay as you go" cell phones. They were selling them for $19.99. One male customer came in and purchased 150 phones. Employees notified the Joint Terrorism Task Force, which at the time, was on special alert for the Rose Bowl.

Terrorism experts say the pre-paid cell phones and cards pose a big threat.

One hundred ninety-one people were killed, 1,400 injured when cell phones were used to detonate bombs in Madrid. Just last month, in Midland Texas there was an attempt to buy phones in bulk at a WalMart. According to records obtained by ABC News, they were linked to suspected terrorist cells in Texas.

The disposable phones were one reason the President called for expansion of the Patriot Act, so that investigators can conduct roving wiretaps, even block calls.

An FBI spokesperson says the Target employees did the right thing. He said, "We encourage any citizen to come forward with information perceived as suspicious. The FBI will conduct a threat assessment. We encourage that."

As for the investigation into the cell phone purchase in Hemet, the FBI says the customer appears to be a legitimate cell phone dealer, but the investigation is ongoing.

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