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FBI Checked Las Vegas Hotel Lists in Terror Alert

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Old January 5th, 2004, 02:02 AM
Fly Guy
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Default FBI Checked Las Vegas Hotel Lists in Terror Alert

!984 was off by 20 years. Welcome to life in a Republican America.
Hope you like it.



FBI Checked Las Vegas Hotel Lists in Terror Alert
Jan 4, 3:30 PM (ET)

By Jim Wolf
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The FBI demanded Las Vegas hotels turn over
their guest lists leading up to New Year's Eve to check against a U.S.
master list of suspected terrorists, a law enforcement official said
on Sunday.

The demand for "patron information" went to all major hotels in the
Nevada casino and entertainment city, said the official who declined
to be named.

Las Vegas was one of six or seven cities mentioned in intelligence
reports as potential targets for a terrorist attack during the holiday
period, Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn said on New Year's Eve.

A second U.S. government official said to his knowledge only one hotel
had balked at providing its bookings list. Newsweek, the first to
report the FBI demand, said one big hotel had refused and was "slapped
with a subpoena."

The unspecified hotel apparently wanted some "cover" against any
privacy-related guest complaints, the official told Reuters. The FBI
sent a letter linking the demand to a national security investigation
or hinting at a "friendly" subpoena to meet the hotel's concerns, he

The Justice Department, the FBI's parent agency, declined comment on
any specific effort to thwart possible plots since the Dec. 21 raising
of the U.S. warning level to Code Orange, its second highest level.

Among other worries, U.S. officials have said they fear terrorists may
be trying to outdo the Sept. 11, 2001, hijacked airliner attacks that
killed about 3,000 people in the United States.

Las Vegas, along with New York City's Times Square, features one of
the biggest New Year's Eve block parties with revelers thronging its
garish, 3-mile long, hotel and casino "strip."

The Federal Aviation Administration barred pilots from flying over the
New Year's Eve festivities in Las Vegas and New York as a
precautionary measure.

Asked about the Las Vegas hotel records, Mark Corallo, a Justice
Department spokesman, said: "Without comment on any specific case or
instance, we will use every legal tool we have to protect the American
people from terrorist attacks."


A representative of the American Civil Liberties Union said the demand
for guest records, without any individual suspicion, infringed on the
privacy of as many as 300,000 people "whose leisure activities are no
one's business but their own."

The action also showed the FBI's expanded, post-Sept. 11 power to
obtain personal records without judicial review or suspicion about an
individual "may well be used to monitor ordinary Americans," said
Timothy Edgar, the ACLU's legislative counsel.

In a sign of unabated U.S. concern, the head of a House of
Representatives' committee with access to intelligence information
said on Sunday al Qaeda remained bent on using hijacked airliners as

"There is no question that al Qaeda still wants to use airplanes as
weapons," Rep. Christopher Cox, the California Republican who chairs
the House Select Committee on Homeland Security, said on CNN's "Late
Edition with Wolf Blitzer."

"There's no question that there's planning going on and there's no
question that the threats, as they've been assessed, are real," he

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