School Bus Terror Propaganda

 Terror Alert Issued To Arizona School Bus Drivers
Date: November 16, 2004
Source: National Terror Alert (DHS)

Abstract: Department of Public Safety authorities have put school bus drivers from around the state on a heightened state of alert regarding the possibility of terrorist activity, including those in Payson, Pine and Tonto Basin (National Terror Alert (DHS), 2004).

Title: Two Saudi Men Board School Bus In Tampa, Are Arrested: A Case Of The Wrong Bus, Or Something More Serious?
Date: May 21, 2006
Jihad Watch

Abstract: I think it's plausible that someone who doesn't know America very well might mistake a school bus for a public bus. But why was one of them wearing a trench coat, in May, in Tampa, Florida? Why did they keep changing their story about why they wanted to go to the school? And why did they originally say they were from Morocco instead of admitting they were Saudis? And why has their bail been revoked (which detail comes from the Rottweiler, not the Trib story) if this were just a case of boarding the wrong bus?

"Saudi Men Who Rode School Bus Arrested," from the Tampa Tribune, with thanks to The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler, who suspects this was a test run for Beslan-in-America:

TAMPA - Two Saudi men were arrested Friday after they boarded a school bus and rode to Wharton High School in New Tampa.

Students on the bus became alarmed, as did the bus driver, who called ahead. Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies met the bus at the school and detained the men. No one was injured and nothing out of line occurred on the bus, deputies said.

Mana Saleh Almanajam, 23, who lives in Apt. 302 in The Point apartments, and Shaker Mohsen Alsidran, 20 Monticello Gardens, Apt. 304-A, each were charged with trespassing on school property. Both remained in Orient Road Jail on Friday evening. Bail for each was set at $250.

"Both defendants gave several versions of the reason they took a school bus to a high school," said Hillsborough County sheriff's spokesman J.D. Callaway.

"They said they wanted to go to Wharton to look around, and then they said they wanted to go there to have some fun, and then they said they wanted to enroll in the English classes there," Callaway said.

"We're not sure if this was a situation of them just being new to this country, or if they were confused or what it was," Callaway said. "We were unsure as to exactly what the final reason was, but it did cause great concern for the students on the bus and for us. One of the guys was wearing shorts with a black trench coat."

While on the bus, the men laughed and spoke in Arabic, Callaway said.

Ahmed Bedier, Tampa director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said the men likely meant no harm and that because "they were from Saudi Arabia, that escalated the situation."

He blamed the incident on cultural differences.

"They didn't differentiate between a school bus and public transportation," he said.

The bus picked up the students and the men at about 7 a.m. Friday at the corner of Fletcher Avenue and 42nd Street, deputies said.

The bus driver, a substitute, reached her supervisors by telephone. They relayed the information to Wharton High resource Deputy Mike Eastman, who met the bus when it arrived at school at about 7:30 a.m., and detained the men.

The sheriff's Homeland Security Division, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's Regional Domestic Security Task Force, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the FBI all were notified.

Almanajam and Alsidran at first told deputies they were from Morocco, but later admitted being from Saudi Arabia, deputies said. They said they were enrolled at the English Language Institute at the University of South Florida.

Both arrived in the United States about six months ago and have student visas that require them to be enrolled at the English Language Institute, Callaway said.

Authorities searched the apartments of the two men and found nothing of concern, he said.

Do they know what to look for(Jihad Watch, 2006)

Title: FBI: Extremists Sign Up To Drive School Buses
Date: March 16, 2007
Source: USA Today

Abstract: Members of extremist groups have signed up as school bus drivers in the United States, counterterror officials said Friday, in a cautionary bulletin to police. An FBI spokesman said "parents and children have nothing to fear."

Asked about the alert notice, the FBI's Rich Kolko said "there are no threats, no plots and no history leading us to believe there is any reason for concern," although law enforcement agencies around the country were asked to watch out for kids' safety.

The bulletin, parts of which were read to The Associated Press, did not say how often foreign extremists have sought to acquire licenses to drive school buses, or where. It was sent Friday as part of what officials said was a routine FBI and Homeland Security Department advisory to local law enforcement.

It noted "recent suspicious activity" by foreigners who either drive school buses or are licensed to drive them, according to a counterterror official who read parts of the document to 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 Homeland Security 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."

Kolko said the bulletin was sent merely as an educational tool to help local police identify and respond to any suspicious activity.

One counterterror official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, 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 (USA Today, 2007)

Title: FBI:"Nothing To Fear of Terrorist School Bus Drivers"
Date: March 16, 2007
Atlas Shrugs

Abstract: Members of extremist groups have signed up as school bus drivers in the United States, counterterror officials said Friday, in a cautionary bulletin to police. An FBI spokesman said "parents and children have nothing to fear."

Asked about the alert notice, the FBI's Rich Kolko said "there are no threats, no plots and no history leading us to believe there is any reason for concern," although law enforcement agencies around the country were asked to watch out for kids' safety.

The bulletin, parts of which were read to The Associated Press, did not say how often foreign extremists have sought to acquire licenses to drive school buses, or where. It was sent Friday as part of what officials said was a routine FBI and Homeland Security Department advisory to local law enforcement.

It noted "recent suspicious activity" by foreigners who either drive school buses or are licensed to drive them, according to a counterterror official who read parts of the document to 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 (Atlas Shrugs, 2007)

Title: Extremists Are Buying School Buses
 March 20, 2007
Atlas Shrugs 

Abstract: Remember the school bus story?  FBI:"Nothing to Fear of Terrorist School Bus Drivers."

The plot thickens .........apparently these extremists are buying school buses. Buying the buses. 

"FBI: Extremists seek school bus work and are BUYING BUSES!"

"Foreigners under recent investigation include "some with ties to extremist groups" who have been able to "purchase buses and acquire licenses," the FBI bulletin says.

There is a very important fact that is not getting the attention it needs in the Extremists Driving School Buses in the USA story, the general impression all the news commentators have is that the 'extremists" are just getting school bus drivers licenses to work for a school, no they are buying the school buses for as little as $1,205.00 see repo bus sales in the last 48 hours at the bottom of this report.!

This fact leads me back to the Muslim used car/truck dealers involved in buying such vehicles at the auto auctions around the USA, you must have a vehicle dealer license to purchase such vehicles at auction and the auction is the main source for such sales.

See Abdalla Deiab's story in the St. Pete Times Story below from 10/23/2004,  this guy is still around and he appears to be in Fort Lauderdale now (Atlas Shrugs, 2007).

Title: School Bus Terrorism Threat
Date: September 10, 2007
National Terror Alert (DHS)

Abstract: Would you recognize a new face sitting in the drivers seat of your child’s school bus?

Do you give any thought to the person who picks up your child and transports them to school and back home each day?

If not, you might want to start.

School Bus Terrorism – A Practical Analysis
Chris Dorn has a complete analysis of the threat.

In this paper I will discuss one specific aspect of terrorism: attacks including school buses as targets or weapons. I will assume a basic knowledge of terrorism and terrorist groups. Thus I will not discuss in detail the motivations or specific tactical movements of terrorists. I will be dealing in strategies and methods that apply to anti-terrorism in a particular area.

School Bus Thefts Concern Houston Authorities
17 school buses have turned up missing over the past several months in Houston. Glenn Beck is talking about it and others should be.

Houston Police Department’s Criminal Intelligence Division, the FBI and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office are all concerned about a large number of school buses that have been stolen in the Houston area over the last several months.

An 11 News investigation uncovered that 17 large, yellow school buses were stolen recently from various charter schools, business schools and private bus companies. Not one has disappeared from HISD.

Most, if not all, were taken from locations on Houston’s north side. One off west Tidwell, another from the Lopez bus company off Melrose and Berry Street.

Timothy Williams is the superintendent at the High School for Business.

FBI: Extremists Sign Up To Drive School Buses
Earlier this year the FBI warned that members of extremist groups were signing up to become school bus drivers

Members of extremist groups have signed up as school bus drivers in the United States, counterterror officials said Friday, in a cautionary bulletin to police. An FBI spokesman said “parents and children have nothing to fear.”

Asked about the alert notice, the FBI’s Rich Kolko said “there are no threats, no plots and no history leading us to believe there is any reason for concern,” although law enforcement agencies around the country were asked to watch out for kids’ safety.

The bulletin, parts of which were read to The Associated Press, did not say how often foreign extremists have sought to acquire licenses to drive school buses, or where. It was sent Friday as part of what officials said was a routine FBI and Homeland Security Department advisory to local law enforcement.

It noted “recent suspicious activity” by foreigners who either drive school buses or are licensed to drive them, according to a counterterror official who read parts of the document to 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.

May 2006 – School Bus Ride Takes 2 To Jail
Do you remember these two? There’s a good change that you’ve never even heard of them

Two Saudi Arabian men climbed aboard a school bus Friday morning bound for Wharton High and landed in jail.

Although the case caught the attention of state and federal authorities, officials suspect it might have been a case of cultural confusion.

When Mana Saleh Almanajam, 23, and Shaker Mohnsen Alsidran, 20, caught the yellow bus at 7 a.m. at Fletcher Avenue and 42nd Street, students alerted their substitute bus driver.

Driver Roberta McCray radioed the school district. By the time the bus arrived at campus at 7:30 a.m., a sheriff’s deputy was on scene to charge the two with trespassing.

Though their actions only resulted in misdemeanor charges, Almanajam and Alsidran were quickly under the microscope of the FBI, Florida Department of Law Enforcement Regional Domestic Security Task Force, the Sheriff’s Homeland Security Division, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Sheriff’s spokesman J.D. Callaway described the two as cagey and evasive as they answered questions. They said they were from Morocco, Callaway said, and then Saudi Arabia. The men told authorities they said they were from Morocco because they worried Americans fear Saudi Arabian men.

School Bus Drivers Allowed To Work 90 Days Without Completed Background Check
And finally… How comfortable are you with handing your child over to a complete stranger each day…One that may not have completed a background check?

Summer vacation is over, and thousands of kids are packing their bookbags and getting back on school buses this week. And now State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is looking to make their ride as safe as possible.

DiNapoli is calling for faster criminal background checks of all school bus drivers in New York.

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is calling for faster criminal background checks of school bus drivers.

Under the DMV’s current bus driver licensing program, new bus drivers can drive kids for up to 90 days while their backgrounds checks are taking place (National Terror Alert (DHS), 2007)

Title: School Bus Terrorism – A Practical Analysis
Date: September 10, 2007
Source: National Terror Alert (DHS)

Abstract: In this paper I will discuss one specific aspect of terrorism: attacks including school buses as targets or weapons. I will assume a basic knowledge of terrorism and terrorist groups. Thus I will not discuss in detail the motivations or specific tactical movements of terrorists. I will be dealing in strategies and methods that apply to anti-terrorism in a particular area.

The premise of this paper is the very real threat of another terrorist attack on American soil carried out by a foreign terrorist group (or one with foreign roots). This is not to deny or ignore the existence of domestic terrorist organizations or the horror of their actions this study will in fact have implications for their attacks as well. Not only are foreign Islamist terrorists groups our current “main enemy”, they have also shown that they know no boundaries in their attacks. In an Institute for Counter-Terrorism paper, Monty Sagi writes:

“The Beslan atrocity showed that there are no “red lines” for Islamic terror; it is limited only by what it is capable of accomplishing, not by normal civilized constraints or human emotions. If the means are available, no magnitude of destruction and death is “too much” to joyfully carry out.”

And as Dr. Robert Friedmann, Director of the Georgia-Israel Law Enforcement Exchange program (GILEE) has stated, “To terrorists, schools are a very attractive target.”

My decision to focus on school buses is for two reasons: transportation is a preferred target of terrorists worldwide, and an attack on a school-related target would strike into the heart of America with unprecedented force. Recent congressional testimony has stated that 42% of international terrorist incidents have focused on transportation systems as targets, and the FBI has stated that 40% of international mass transit attacks from 1920 to 2000 used buses as targets. More specifically, a compilation of terrorist incidents with schools as targets shows that about 37% of school terrorist attacks have focused on buses as targets. While neither of these numbers makes up a solid majority of incidents, this is a large enough percentage for a single type of target to warrant serious concern.

Buses are preferred targets for a few reasons. There is a high concentration of people in a small place, and high numbers of pedestrians or people on nearby buses may also be caught in the blast (as seen in the 7/7 bombings in London, where one device was set off as two trains passed each other). In addition, during the summer and winter windows are kept closed on buses to maximize air conditioning or heat, and this also maximizes the blast effect. [5] <!–[endif]–> An article from the RAND Corporation graphically describes the effect:

As a hail of shrapnel pierces flesh and breaks bones, the shock wave tears lungs and crushes other internal organs. When the bus’s fuel tank explodes, a fireball causes burns, and smoke inhalation causes respiratory damage.
All this is a significant return on a relatively modest investment. Two or three kilograms of explosive on a bus can kill as many people as twenty to thirty kilograms left on a street or in a mall or a restaurant.”

Lastly, it is very difficult, because of practicality and cost, to screen all passengers, as compared to screening visitors to a building or event. Buses are far less secure because of their mobility and predictability – not only are buses exposed along miles and miles of routes with very little possibility of complete security, but it is also possible for terrorists to know their route in detail, since bus drivers are prided in consistency. In Israel the alertness of the public and improved screening techniques have led to a shift in tactics, but America is still on her learning curve and has yet to adopt the same level of preparedness for any type of terrorism as Israel. In addition, it is important to remember that many tactics that are used successfully in Israel may be considered too extreme for use on American soil (unless we begin to have large numbers of terrorist attacks).

While the tactical reasons for bus attacks are strong, the strategic rewards are possibly even stronger. Similar to the image of the two towers of the World Trade Center, a school bus would represent an unforgettable target to the parents of the 24 million school children who ride to school each day. Just like the image of the two towers brings back the memory of 9/11, after a school bus attack every big yellow bus in America would remind us of the horror of the incident. America is perhaps more vulnerable to this not only because of our “it can’t happen here” attitude, but because of the use of standard yellow school bus designs across the country, which would lend even more to the power of imagery.

Outlining the Paradigm Shift
For America, 9/11 signaled a shift to what is often referred to as “the new terrorism” – something that had long occurred in other parts of the world but had not yet been driven home in America. The hijackings that had previously been characterized by negotiations and tactical endings have been seemingly replaced by a combination of hostage taking and suicide bombing. Examples can be seen in the flights taken hostage and used as huge suicide bombs on September 11th, 2001, as well as in the Beslan school ‘hostage crisis’ of September 1-3, 2005.

Likewise, the Chechen terrorists in Beslan, Russia in September 2004 were not willing to negotiate. While their true intentions can never be known, it seems that they only spoke with authorities outside the school for the purpose of prolonging the incident as long as possible and to make the Russian government look as helpless and menacing as possible. After the first day of the crisis, for example, a videocassette was tossed out of a window to the assembled military perimeter. The footage showed the elaborate network of bombs connected to foot pedal detonators that would set off explosions if the terrorist controlling it moved his foot – a tactical nightmare for any team planning on storming the school.

At no point during the crisis were serious demands given, other than a desire to speak with President Putin. The other demands were too extreme to be serious – for example demanding for a full Russian retreat from Chechnya. While there is certainly a real desire for this on the part of the Chechens, this served more as a “stump speech” than a demand likely to be met. While the terrorists further confused matters by wearing masks – a sign of even the slightest chance of survival or escape – they stated repeatedly to the hostages that they came to the school planning to die. <!–[endif]–>

Implications for America
John Giduck, who chronicled his visit to the scene of the attack in Terror at Beslan, has stated that America needs to understand that in this type of attack, people will die, and there will be no happy ending. In a nation where we are relatively new to terrorism and accustomed to “happy endings”, such an attack would strike a heavy blow to America. While the Russian government can stonewall independent inquiries and shift attention elsewhere, the anguish and frustration of a no-win hostage situation with no feasible demands would bring America to its knees.

The effect would be even more intense than 9/11, because of the presumed safety & innocence of our children combined with the high level of safety that we are accustomed to in the school transportation industry. Out of the approximately 800 children killed in motor vehicles during school travel hours, only five of those are killed while a passenger on a school bus. School buses represent 25% of miles traveled by students, but less than 2% of the fatalities. [7] <!–[endif]–> With such a high success rate, anything but perfection is not accepted by the parents of America’s school bus riders, and a brutal terrorist attack as we have seen in other countries would have a huge effect.

Examining the Threat
It is clear that schools are a possible target for terrorists. Aside from Beslan and the dozens of other school attacks over the past 37 years, it has been reported that the U.S. military has found information in Iraq pertaining to U.S. schools, and in September 2004 the FBI notified school districts in six states that photographs, diagrams, and emergency plans had been found in the possession of unidentified individuals. With institutions as large and prepared as the Georgia Institute of Technology posting their entire emergency plans on the internet, this is not surprising.

In addition, there have been hundreds of thefts of school bus radios in two states, along with an increase in thefts and vandalism of school buses and equipment across the U.S. This has obvious implications, including but not limited to the possibility that unknown individuals may be able to monitor or interfere with school bus communications, and even feed them false and dangerous instructions during or before an attack. At the very least, this would allow terrorists to better understand and plan around the communications equipment of an intended target.

It is also clear that our school transportation systems are vulnerable to attack because of outdated equipment and lack of training. There have been countless incidents of violence and hostage taking on school buses across the country, including one where a student used a sword to hijack a bus and take it across state lines before he was stopped.

In another well-publicized incident, a Miami Special Needs bus driver was fooled into taking her bus and students on a 75-minute ride by a hostage-taker who forced his way on the bus but did not actually have a weapon. While she was praised in the media and by the school bus industry for handling the incident incredibly well, she apparently argued with and disobeyed the hostage-taker repeatedly, and if there was an actual weapon involved students may have been injured. [10] <!–[endif]–> While we cannot judge her actions without knowing all details of the situation, this type of approach would clearly result in disaster if the attacker was an Islamist terrorist either sent or influenced by a group such as Al Qaeda.

Mohamad El Zahabhi
The clearest direct threat to the nation’s school transportation system is the case of Mohamad Kamal El Zahabhi, a Lebanese national who has worked at various times as a Boston cab driver, a New York City auto mechanic, and a Minnesota school bus driver for First Student, a private contracting firm that provides bus service to schools across the country. While it is not clear whether his service as a bus driver was just one of many jobs that he held while in the U.S. or if it was part of an attempt to gain access to a school bus, his history gives us concern.

He first came to the U.S. in 1984, and paid a Texas woman to marry him so he could obtain his green card. After divorcing and admitting to fraud in 1988, he traveled to Afghanistan where he attended a terrorist training camp and later served as a sniper in combat in Afghanistan and Chechnya. He also told FBI agents that he had served as an instructor at a jihadist school. During this time he allegedly met with a few notable individuals, including Khalid Sheikh Muhammed, one of the originators of the 9/11 plot, and Abu Musab al Zarqawi.

After being injured in combat, el Zahabhi returned to New York City, where he worked with a relative at Drive Axle Rebuilders, a business that he used to order and ship to Afghanistan large quantities of heavy-duty field radios. While radios of the same type have been found by U.S. troops in Afghanistan, he denies knowledge of the shipments, saying that he never opened the packages that he was transferring. After serving as a cab driver in Boston from 1997 to 1998, he traveled again to Chechnya to serve in combat.

Returning to the U.S. in 2000, he moved to Minneapolis and on September 11, 2001 applied for a job as a bus driver with First Student. He had previously obtained his CDL and a HazMat certification under his Massachusetts driver’s license, and passed an FBI background check. The FBI declines to comment as to why he was cleared, since the case is under investigation. After starting as a driver in late 2001, el Zahabhi failed to report to work after the winter break and was fired in January 2002. He returned in February 2002 and asked for his job back, but was denied.

While his intentions are not clear, his ties to al Qaeda members and activities gives rise to concern – for example the assistance he gave to Raed Hijazi, the man convicted of the failed millennium bombing plot in Jordan, when he allowed Hijazi to use his address in Massachusetts to receive mail and obtain a drivers license. He is currently being charged with lying to the FBI about this incident, along with other details.

Even if el Zahabhi did not intend to assist with or carry out a school attack, the fact that a jihadist combat veteran was able to become a bus driver in the U.S. is a sign of severe security gaps.

Summary of the National Response to the Threat

Federal Level
The federal government has responded to the threat of terrorism with policy and publications intended for bus drivers. The first move was to designate school buses as “mass transportation systems” as part of H.R. 3162, the USA PATRIOT ACT. This extends federal jurisdiction and penalties to anyone who wrecks, attacks, uses as a weapon, or otherwise endangers bus employees or passengers. [11] <!–[endif]–>

They have also produced, through the Transportation Security Administration, the “Employee Guide to School Bus Security: Identifying Security Threats” along with a quick reference card detailing awareness, identification of suspicious behaviors or packages, and brief tips on how to respond to various situations.

In addition, the Department of Homeland Security has released three alerts notifying school buses of heightened states of danger, and the United States Department of Education released a letter to U.S. schools & buses after the attack at Beslan, suggesting that employees look out for suspicious behavior, and the letter outlines various methods of surveillance and planning that might be observable to school staff or drivers.

State Level
There has been a larger effort on the part of several states, but these actions are usually disjointed and restricted to the state in which they are implemented. New Mexico, Minnesota, California, New York and Iowa have all either released a training video or implemented a training program for bus drivers on preventing and responding to terrorism. Georgia, the state with the largest state school safety center and the most comprehensive school bus security training program, has conducted numerous training conferences for drivers since the year 2000. [13] <!–[endif]–>

It seems that the largest and most concerted efforts have been on the part of the school bus industry. The three largest trade associations (the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT), the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation (NASDPT) and the National School Transportation Association (NSTA)) have partnered with the Department of Homeland Security’s “Highway Watch” program to extend coverage into a program called “School Bus Watch.” Under the program, training is provided for drivers, who receive an identification card and number that they can use to report suspicious behavior to a national hotline, where information is passed on to local law enforcement.

The NASDPT has released two position papers indicating a heightened awareness of the threat and the need for a response, recognizing that school bus drivers are the first line of defense against a school transportation attack. The National Conference on School Transportation has also discussed creating a school bus equipment guide for first responders, detailing the different types and designs of school buses and giving responding personnel a way to know how to deal with, enter, immobilize and operate a bus if necessary.

While much progress has been made since 9/11, it is clear that efforts are currently too thin and disjointed across the country. While some states have prepared their drivers substantially, the federal efforts have been too weak to have much effect. In addition, while industry efforts have been more widespread and in depth, they lack the mandate that a state or federal law might have. This leaves preparation up to the individual states, districts, and even schools themselves. As the Transportation Research Board noted:

“Supervisors must set the example for compliance with the policies and procedures and must make sure that employees follow suit. Supervisors must foster an environment that
promotes awareness, preparedness, and due diligence by adhering to security policies and procedures daily.” [14] <!–[endif]–>

In addition to this lack of coverage and mandate, there has been a lot of focus on monitoring for unauthorized surveillance or suspicious activity. While this is obviously a very important step to take, schools may be too focused on this aspect, leading to a false sense of security – since schools are doing so much, they may feel that they are doing enough.

There is also a lack of effective education for the general public. As Beslan has shown us, the lack of a secure perimeter around an incident can hamper effective law enforcement response, and we have even seen incidents in the U.S. where medical personnel have been forced to park their ambulances miles from an incident because of the rush of parents and well-wishers to the scene. Education on procedures such as family reunification protocols needs to be disseminated to the public more thoroughly.

While there is a clear threat to American schools of terrorism, it is important to remember that statistically the likelihood of an attack on a particular school is very low, especially when compared to the very real occurrences of death and injury that we know will occur every year in our schools. Schools should of course prepare for terrorism, but with a balanced approach, using the federally endorsed “All Hazards” approach, which breaks planning down into four phases: Mitigation, Prevention, Response and Recovery.This type of approach deals with terrorism like any other incident – not minimizing its importance but placing it within the framework of current emergency response capabilities. This prevents the fragmentation of planning and response and the frivolous waste of funds that we have often seen in response to current events and threats that are on the forefront in the mind of the public (National Terror Alert (DHS), 2007).

Title: Authorities Warn Terrorists Increasingly Eyeing Attacks On Buses Over Other Transit Targets
Date: November 11, 2011
Fox News 

Abstract: In the lead-up to one of the busiest travel weeks of the year, a new intelligence bulletin obtained by Fox News warns that terrorists have targeted bus networks more than any other mode of surface transportation.

The two page assessment, sent to law enforcement in the nation’s capital, says in part, “bus systems are considered attractive terrorist targets because they are relatively soft targets.”

Earlier this week, Transportation Security Administration Director John Pistole underscored the threat to reporters in Washington.

“It's something that we've seen in reporting over time that terrorists around the world clearly are interested -- because of the accessibility, the open architecture -- both of buses and rail.”

The bulletin, called “Terrorist Concerns Regarding Mass Transit Bus Systems,” was sent to law enforcement in the nation's capital on Nov 3. It says bus attacks, similar to an attack by a suicide bomber using an explosive-laden backpack in 2005, are more widespread than attacks on the airline industry. The assessment says over 725 such attacks have been documented from 2004 through 2009.

While improvised explosive devices are common, the feds warn that the Al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen, through its online magazine Inspire, “advocates the use of vehicle ramming attacks against crowds, buildings and other vehicles."

Pistole said the intelligence was sent to local partners to reinforce the view that terrorists are not fixated on aircraft.

“We actually reissued not just bus but mass transit [bulletins], just being cognizant of what goes on around the world as we enter the busy holiday season,” he said.

Fox News has also learned that intelligence obtained from Usama bin Laden's compound shows he even considered using buses to attack Americans, by ramming the buses into buildings.

“He always felt that he wanted to leverage his targets,” Chuck Pfarrer, author of “Seal Target Geronimo,” told Fox News. “Both to use a soft target, one that he had access to, and one that was spectacular because you know terrorism it has to resonate within the world of ideas. It's political theater, and he had a really good grasp of that.”

Homeland Security and TSA officials say there is no credible intelligence that terrorist groups have immediate plans to hit the bus network, but the law enforcement bulletins warn of terrorist groups trying to recruit employees or “insiders” who work in the bus, train and airline industry (Fox News, 2011).

School Bus Thefts-Homeland Security Concern
Date: January 20, 2012
Source: Safe-Tech

Abstract: Recent thefts of school buses in numerous states have local, state and

federal law enforcement agencies searching for answers and suspects.

While occasional thefts of a school bus here and there are not unheard of, thefts of multiple buses from the same school system and at the same time are.

Since early summer of 2011, numerous schools located in at least eight states have reported that thieves have entered their secured bus lots, usually under the cover of darkness with the exception of one brazen daytime heist and fled with up to six school buses at once, without a trace.

A number of the thefts have been recorded on surveillance cameras and several have shown a well orchestrated group who arrives with numerous accomplices in one or two vehicles, breaking into the secured areas and leaving with the buses.

The St. Louis school system has reported that eight of their buses have been stolen in four months while other areas including Jefferson County TX, Camden County GA., Kingsland GA., several Arkansas school systems, Nashville TN and other schools, have all lost school buses to determined auto thieves during the past few months.

Some law enforcement officials have speculated that the thefts are in response to the higher prices for scrap metal and auto parts while federal authorities are looking into a more sinister reason for their disappearances and one that may be a threat to your own city.

School buses, large in nature, make great Trojan horses and can easily be parked at any public event, shopping mall, convention center, amusement park or other large venue without it causing any alarm, suspicion or trigger any sort of alerts or public concern.

A vehicle of this size can easily hold enough explosive materials to level a large structure while causing massive human causalities, injuries and destruction reminiscent of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995 or the World Trade Center bombing in 1993.

School buses should be monitored when parked in unusual places at unusual times such as a shopping mall in a fire lane or parked in front of a courthouse in the middle of the day. These situations should throw up a red flag and the police should be notified.

Similarly, seeing a school bus rolling down the Interstate or on a city street at 3 AM should also trigger immediate reaction as this hour would be too early for normal school bus routes and too late to be in transit from a school, athletic event or normal student travel (Safe-Tech, 2012).