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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 January, 2005, 03:42 GMT
FBI hunts Chinese 'terror gang'
*The FBI wants to question four Chinese nationals amid fears of a plot to explode a "dirty bomb" in Boston.
Police and FBI agents in Massachusetts were issued with photographs of two men and two women wanted in connection with an "unspecified threat".
Earlier on Wednesday US TV networks reported that agents with radiological sensors were on patrol in Boston.
The FBI and city officials in Boston played down fears, saying reports of a dirty bomb were "uncorroborated".
The four Chinese were named as Zengrong Lin, Wen Quin Zheng, Xiujin Chen and Guozhi Lin.
None of the four were understood to have appeared on FBI "watch lists".
The FBI issued a statement acknowledging that an "unspecified" threat had been received, adding that the information came from "an unknown and uncorroborated source regarding an unspecified potential threat".
Earlier, CNN reported that the group were smuggled over the border from Mexico and planned to receive some unspecified dangerous materials.
Despite the FBI's caution, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney returned to Boston from Washington DC, where he had travelled to attend President George W Bush's inauguration on Thursday.
Mr Romney said officials did not think the four Chinese nationals were in Massachusetts, but said there were suspicions they could be on their way to the state.
"To assure the people of Boston and Massachusetts that it is safe to be at home, I am going to be sleeping in my bed in Massachusetts tonight and I feel perfectly safe doing so," Mr Romney said.
More staff would be placed on duty at the state emergency bunker, he said, but added that Massachusetts' terror alert level would not be raised.
From left, clockwise: Guozhi Lin, Wen Quin Zheng, Zengrong Lin, Xiujin Chen
The four Chinese nationals were thought to be heading to Boston
January 20, 2005
CONCORD, N.H. -- Gov. John Lynch cut short his visit to Washington for President Bush's inaugural to be back in New Hampshire in case he had to deal with a report of possible terrorism in neighboring Massachusetts.
Lynch acted after the FBI notified Boston area law enforcement Wednesday to be on the lookout for four Chinese nationals described as possible terror suspects, identified as Zengrong Lin, Wen Quin Zheng, Xiujin Chen and Guozhi Lin. Officials in Boston said they had received a tip about an unspecified threat against Boston, and released photographs of the two men and two women.
Bruce Cheney, director of New Hampshire Emergency Services, said Massachusetts authorities asked his agency to be ready with radiological testing technicians in case Massachusetts needed them.
"We're in good shape and I don't think the people of New Hampshire should be unduly alarmed," Cheney said.
The investigation stirred a frenzy of media reports and prompted Gov. Mitt Romney, who had gone to Washington to attend Thursday's presidential inauguration, to return to Massachusetts.
Similarly, Lynch said he wanted to be back in New Hampshire to monitor the situation personally.
"Our homeland security officials in New Hampshire have been in close contact with the FBI and with Massachusetts homeland security officials." he said in a statement issued by his office.
"Based on the information we have received from federal officials, it does not appear that there is any cause for alarm. The tip received by the FBI is unconfirmed and uncorroborated. Massachusetts officials have asked us to be prepared to offer support if it is needed, and we have made the necessary preparations," he said.
Romney told reporters, "We have had threats in the past. We take them seriously, even when they're not corroborated."
Romney said his state's threat level would not be raised, but more people were on duty in the state's emergency management bunker in Framingham, about 20 miles west of Boston.
"To assure the people of Boston and Massachusetts that it is safe to be at home, I am going to be sleeping in my bed in Massachusetts tonight and I feel perfectly safe doing so," Romney said. "In the very remote circumstance that my attention is needed, I will be able to respond on an immediate basis."
A federal law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity told The Associated Press the FBI's joint terrorism task force has not yet corroborated a tip that the suspects entered the United States through Mexico in recent days, possibly bound for Boston.
Brian Roehrkasse, spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, said the agency was working with the FBI and "our partners in the intelligence community to analyze and assess recently received and uncorroborated information concerning a potential threat to Boston. This information has not been corroborated and was received from an unknown source of unknown credibility."
Roehrkasse said he was not aware of any stepped-up federal security measures in Boston, such as extra patrols or measures taken at Logan International.
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