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FBI offers assurances to locals

By By BRIAN BLACKLEY
Publisher
By BRIAN BLACKLEY
Tuesday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation paid a visit to Atmore to let citizens know that agents are doing everything possible to make the community and the country as safe as possible in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
According to Tim Furhman, assistant special agent in charge of the Mobile office, the FBI is currently engaged in "the greatest single investigation we have ever been involved with."
Furhman said the world has changed dramatically in the month since the attack, and he has witnessed many of those changes first-hand.
Since the attack, Furhman told the Atmore Rotary Club, the FBI has been flooded with tips, leads and information related to terrorism and it has devoted virtually all of its resources to making the country safer.
But perhaps more important than what the FBI is doing, Furhman said, cross-agency cooperation with other law enforcement offices has been at an all-time high.
Thanks to help from agencies throughout the country, Furhman said, the FBI has been able to cover more ground and make more headway with the investigation in the days since Sept. 11.
Furhman didn't speculate on the causes behind recent terrorist actions including waging germ warfare through distribution of the anthrax bacteria, but he said people need to use caution and observe common sense.
Furhman said that while most threats of potential anthrax bacteria have been false, the FBI doesn't take it easy on those who call in hoaxes.
Furhman said that though threats have abounded including recent e-mails claiming a disaster is pending at a mall on Oct. 31 that none of the threats had enough specific information to be considered a definite threat.
Furhman also said that the FBI and local agencies have been placed "on the highest possible alert status," though no clear definition for this exists.
The purpose for the speech, while not clearly defined, was, Furhman said, "something I was asked to do" by his boss in the Mobile office.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been saddled with leads, calls, concerns and issues since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on The Pentagon and the World Trade Center, and Tuesday, Tim Furhman, FBI assistant special agent in charge of the Mobile office, came to Atmore to explain what's happening in the area and in the country.