KC library unsure how its magazine got to terror camp

Thursday, December 13, 2001

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The FBI is investigating how a Chemical Week magazine bearing the Kansas City Public Library's mailing address made its way to an abandoned al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan.

FBI spokesman Jeff Lanza said the bureau learned of the magazine's discovery Wednesday through media accounts. Even so, an agent will go to the library to investigate, he said.

"The FBI has not uncovered any evidence of any persons involved in or with connections to al-Qaida in Kansas City or anyone who's passed through Kansas City," Lanza said. "But we will be checking out the situation at the library."

Library officials, meanwhile, said they're unsure how the magazine got into terrorists' hands.

"Our magazines are kept out on open shelves, so anyone can read them," Therese Bigelow, the library's deputy director for branch services, said Wednesday. "We have no clue."

A copy each of Chemical Week, a chemical industry trade publication, and Aviation Week were found Tuesday in the abandoned camp 12 miles south of Kandahar. The Aviation Week copy bore the mailing address of an Ann Arbor, Mich., business.

The library subscribes to Chemical Week, Bigelow said, but discards copies after a year. Library marketing director Diana Reiter said many magazines are stolen from library shelves and some that are ordered never arrive.

The age of the magazine found in Afghanistan is not known.

The al-Qaida camp had been abandoned after heavy U.S. airstrikes.

A group of journalists joined British and American special forces troops in touring the desert facility Tuesday.

Federal and local officials in Michigan were investigating how the Aviation Week copy got to the camp.

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