Alaska Homeland Security office alerted to potential threats

Posted: Sunday, October 27, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The Alaska Office of Homeland Security on Thursday alerted officials of the Alaska Railroad and the state's banks of potential terrorist activity.

The warning came after a teleconference call in which federal homeland security officials warned state managers from around the country that al-Qaida might be targeting hazardous cargo cars, track sections, switches and crossings, railroad pipelines and tank farms, and the intersections of rail and port facilities.

''We have all of those,'' said Dan Frerich, Alaska Railroad's chief special agent. The company has made some changes in response, and will make more changes in the coming days, Frerich said. He would not go into more detail.

There is also increasing evidence that the terrorist group is targeting financial institutions, the federal alert said.

Alaska Homeland Security Deputy Commissioner Drew Dix called on the public to help by reporting unusual or suspicious activity to law enforcement officials.

The state's existing vigilance over the trans-Alaska oil pipeline and the Valdez harbor needs to continue, Dix said.

''But at this time, special attention should be given to our railroad and banking facilities as well,'' Dix said.

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