FBI says Seattle seen by terrorists as an 'easy target'

Saturday, June 29, 2002

SEATTLE -- Islamic terrorists consider Seattle an "easy target" because of its relatively high crime rate and a perception that police staffing levels are low, the FBI warned area officials.

Charles Mandigo, FBI special agent in charge of the Seattle office, told the King County Council that terrorists consider the area an "easy target" and an undisclosed number of potential local collaborators are "willing and able" to help commit terrorism.

Mandigo gave his assessment Wednesday in a homeland security hearing that was closed to the public shortly after it began. His prepared remarks were released afterward by Sheriff Dave Reichert and reported Friday by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

"It has been noted by the highest level of our government in our nation's capital that the Seattle area has and continues to receive a disproportionate high number of terrorism threats as compared to other parts of the country, many of them coming from overseas," Mandigo said.

"None of the threats has been substantiated, but the trend is "very disconcerting," Mandigo said.

He said the FBI is conducting "a significant number" of terrorism-related investigations in Washington state, particularly in the Seattle area, and "several of these investigations are considered to be very significant."

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