“Exclusive: Look Out Below-The Terror Threat From the Sea,” from Newsweek, with thanks to Nicolei:
March 28 issue – Al Qaeda frogmen sound like one of the more exotic terrorist threats-but Homeland Security chiefs are preparing, just in case. Last month the Coast Guard launched a special program to train members of its seagoing SWAT teams how to protect U.S. ports against scuba-diving attackers. Members of Coast Guard commando teams based at 12 ports on the U.S. coastline will be taught underwater fighting techniques and how to use secret weapons….
The notion that Osama bin Laden’s followers might turn to scuba diving is not a Tom Clancy fantasy. Three years ago Dutch authorities looking into a jihad recruiting ring in the town of Eindhoven learned that one of their suspects was keen on scuba diving. Investigation led them to a Tunisian diving instructor with a connection to radical Islam. Dutch intelligence watched as the Tunisian ran his own diving classes, which attracted suspected Islamic militant students from around the Netherlands. The diving instructor eventually left the country, but a spokesman for the AIVD, the Netherlands’ secret service, told NEWSWEEK the investigation is still open.
Dutch authorities note that they know of no current specific terrorist threat posed by Qaeda divers, nor have the Dutch launched any special diver-related security measures to protect their ports, which include Rotterdam, one of the world’s largest. U.S. officials also say they know of no imminent underwater threat. An FBI official said the bureau surveyed diving schools after the Dutch case first came to light, but never repeated the exercise. An intelligence source said the threat should be kept “in proportion.” But only last week, a captured militant from a Qaeda affiliate in the Philippines claimed he and other jihadis took diving lessons to prepare for a seaborne attack….