January 13, 2006

Can You Here Me Now? BOOM!

This bears watching. Via ABC News:

Federal agents have launched an investigation into a surge in the purchase of large quantities of disposable cell phones by individuals from the Middle East and Pakistan, ABC News has learned.

The phones — which do not require purchasers to sign a contract or have a credit card — have many legitimate uses, and are popular with people who have bad credit or for use as emergency phones tucked away in glove compartments or tackle boxes. But since they can be difficult or impossible to track, law enforcement officials say the phones are widely used by criminal gangs and terrorists.


In one New Year's Eve transaction at a Target store in Hemet, Calif., 150 disposable tracfones were purchased. Suspicious store employees notified police, who called in the FBI, law enforcement sources said.

In an earlier incident, at a Wal-mart store in Midland, Texas, on December 18, six individuals attempted to buy about 60 of the phones until store clerks became suspicious and notified the police. A Wal-mart spokesperson confirmed the incident.

The Midland, Texas, police report dated December 18 and obtained by ABC News states: "Information obtained by MPD [Midland Police Department] dispatch personnel indicated that approximately six individuals of Middle-Eastern origin were attempting to purchase an unusually large quantity of tracfones (disposable cell phones with prepaid minutes attached)." At least one of the suspects was identified as being from Iraq and another from Pakistan, officials said.


The Midland, Texas, arrest report police also identified the individuals as linked to a terror cell:

"Evasive responses provided by the subjects, coupled with actions observed by officers at the onset of the contact prompted the notification of local FBI officials to assist in the investigation," the report said. "Upon the arrival of special agents, and as a result of subsequent interviews, it was discovered that members of the group were linked to suspected terrorist cells stationed within the Metroplex.

In addition to the uses stated, cell phones such as these tracfones have been used as part of the triggering device of remote control IEDs in Iraq and elsewhere.

Another blog I came across yesterday (I'm sorry, but I forgot which one [updated: here. -ed.]) noted that there seems to be a pattern of terror attacks or attempted terror attacks following videotaped statements released by al Qaeda's resident cave doctor, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Guess who just released a statement last week?

Something to think about...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at January 13, 2006 12:52 AM | TrackBack

Kudos to the Texas Wal Mart employees! They must have been conservatives; because liberals don't believe there is a credible threat to our security.

Posted by: Old Soldier at January 13, 2006 07:22 AM

As always a neet little idea which helps the poor and adds to our unique economy is bastardized by the worst that mankind has to offer. Sending fear mongers into a frothing frenzy to quelsh freedom where-ever they find it. There ought ta be a law. Oops guess that what they do. There ought to be a law anyway.

We are not living in a police dominated state do we?

Posted by: ron at January 14, 2006 02:31 PM