Terrorists: 'They're out there'

When defining suspicious behavior, it all comes down to warm fuzzies and cold pricklies said Rick Wilson, agent for the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

“Since 9-11 we’ve seen a lot of unusual activity. We’ve seen it because we got calls from people like you who say ‘You know what? This is what I saw and I don’t have a warm fuzzy about it,’” Wilson said.

He said he talked with detainees about the ferries, about Pike Street Market, and about trying to get across the boarder at Vancouver, B.C.

“The folks that we are talking to in Cuba are an interesting bunch... I’ve run into one detainee down there that actually admitted to shooting at Americans. He is a firm believer that we are evil, that we as a nation need to cease to exist,” Wilson told the group of about 40 who gathered at the meeting at JJ’s Diner.

If released, the man said he would return to Afghanistan and shoot Americans.

“The thing that scares us the most in the law enforcement arena is the self-styled Jihad,” where followers pick and chose from the Quran what they are going to follow Wilson said.

The highly-decentralized groups of terrorists spend months and years surveying potential targets. He went over a list of attacks on American targets including the USS Cole.

The NCIS agents also identified a list of suspicious activities:

l People videotaping, photographing, taking notes or drawing maps of military facilities, bridges, dams, landmarks or waterfront structures.

l Abandoned, unattended or overloaded vehicles or vessels.

l Unusual questions about merchant as well as military ships, ferries, bases, security, deployment, military units, storage facilities or industrial activities.

l Small aircraft or vessels repeatedly passing by bases, ships or access areas.

l Suspicious persons in rental properties with obstructions that shield activities.

The NCIS is a civilian federal law enforcement agency whose purpose is to protect Naval personnel, their families and their facilities.

The NCIS has about 1,000 agents with about 500 in the field.

To report suspicious activity contact NCIS at (360) 396-4660 or call 911.

He and Daniel Istilarte made a presentation about terrorism and terrorists to the Puget Rental Owner’s Association group at its monthly meeting Thursday in Bremerton.

Wilson responded to a call on Whidbey Island where the Park Ranger there used that phrase not a “warm fuzzy” to describe an incident. A man who was fishing without bait on a hook started taking pictures of the Deception Pass bridge.

It just didn’t seem right, Wilson said. The guy was not found.

“They’re out there. They’re next door, on the next block down, they’ve been here and they’ve had years to get their system together,” he said about terrorists in the United States.

While the overall terrorist threat to Kitsap County is relatively low, Wilson said, the Washington State Ferries could be a potential target.

“We believe we have seen things that would indicate a surveillance on the ferries. Is it a concern, yeah it is. What’s the most visible target in this area? It sure ain’t the Space Needle,” Wilson said.

Wilson spent two months talking with detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

“I can tell you they look like everybody in this room,” he said dispelling any notions that terrorists all look like Yasser Arafat.

“One of the guys I was dealing with looked like he should have been carrying the national flag in Dublin,” he said.

“Some of them are really nice folks, aside from the fact they hate us with a passion... And you know what? They’ve been here,” he said.

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