Beware Of Strange Men With Rocket Launchers

This week, New Jersey Transit
officials joined the New York Police Department in
performing hapless

random searches
of Granny`s knitting bag and

Junior`s Thomas the Tank backpack
to prevent the

al Qaeda attack.

But not everyone is fighting the
War on Terror blind. Some U.S. military personnel have
been given a very clear and un-p.c. mission:

Be on the lookout for Middle
Easterners carrying rocket launchers.

Yup, that`s right. Many readers
have e-mailed me about a recent report

floating on the Internet
that reveals military
concerns about a suspicious trio of Middle Eastern men
who apparently pointed a rocket launcher at low-flying
aircraft near Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma earlier
this month. It`s authentic. Battle Staff Directive No.
41, categorized as "For Official Use Only," was issued
at Hill Air Force Base in Utah last week to raise a red
flag about the incident at Tinker AFB:

"On 14
Jul 05, three individuals were observed outside of the
perimeter of Tinker AFB, OK. They were looking through
binoculars, taking pictures and one appeared to be
holding a large weapon at chest level. The weapon
appeared to be aimed towards a low flying aircraft. The
three individuals were described as being of Middle
Eastern descent and left the area when approached. The
weapon was later identified as a rocket launcher (MANPAD)
and the low flying aircraft to be a B-1 Bomber. FBI in
Oklahoma City and AFOSI [Air Force Office of Special
Investigations] determined the threat to be credible."

Someone leaked the directive to a
website called Soldiers For The Truth (,
and it was picked up by another site, the Northeast
Intelligence Network (
Tinker AFB staff and FBI officials remain tight-lipped
about the incident. But Capt. Sean Carter, a public
affairs officer at Hill AFB, verified the directive for

In a phone interview, Capt. Carter
told me the memo was issued to let base personnel know
that "there`s a threat out there somewhere" and
to inform them of what to look for to guard against
possible terrorist activity. Hill AFB participates in
the "Eagle Eyes" program, an anti-terrorism
initiative launched by the Air Force Office of Special
Investigations that

"enlists the eyes and ears of Air Force members and
citizens in the war on terror."

The threat of an al Qaeda attack
using shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles has been of
increasing concern to homeland security officials. Last
year, the FBI arrested two imams in Albany, N.Y., in
connection with a

sting operation
involving laundered funds that the
defendants were led to believe were proceeds from the
sale of a missile launcher to be used in a New York City
terrorist plot. Federal prosecutors

noted during the trial
of convicted al Qaeda bomb

Wadih El-Hage
that his role entailed "conveying
military orders from Bin Laden including . . . seeking
weapons including Stinger missiles for al Qaeda
members." I
n 2002, al Qaeda terrorists used two
Russian-made Strela missiles to try and bring down an
Israeli-chartered airliner departing from

Mombasa, Kenya.

That effort failed, but the
terrorists will no doubt try, try again. Hundreds of
Stinger missiles have gone missing since the first
Persian Gulf War, according to the General Accounting
Office. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.,

noted last year
that "there are an estimated
300,000 to one million shoulder-fired missiles in the
world today — thousands are thought to be in the hands
of terrorist and other non-state entities."
B. Hunter of Jane`s Intelligence Review reported: "Al-Qaeda
reportedly possesses a number of MANPADs, including
SA-7s and Stingers. . . . It is logical to assume that
Al-Qaeda is in possession of additional MANPADs. If this
is true, then Al-Qaeda represents the most significant
threat to international civil aviation."

Washington has been squabbling over
whether and how much money to spend on retrofitting all
6,000 planes in the American commercial fleet with
electronic countermeasures to combat the threat. In the
meantime, common-sense vigilance is the best defense.

Thankfully, military watchdogs on
guard against Islamist terrorists with rocket launchers

know better
than to stop Paris Hilton and Lindsay
Lohan look-a-likes with Louis Vuitton pet carriers
strapped around their shoulders.  

Michelle Malkin [email
her] is author of

Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists,
Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores

for Peter Brimelow`s review. Click

for Michelle Malkin`s website.