WASHINGTON - The FBI is warning police nationwide to be alert for people
carrying almanacs, cautioning that the popular reference books covering
everything from abbreviations to weather trends could be used for
In a bulletin sent Christmas Eve to about 18,000 police organizations, the
FBI said terrorists may use almanacs "to assist with target selection and
It urged officers to watch during searches, traffic stops and other
investigations for anyone carrying almanacs, especially if the books are
annotated in suspicious ways.
"The practice of researching potential targets is consistent with known
methods of al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations that seek to
maximize the likelihood of operational success through careful planning,"
the FBI wrote.
The Associated Press obtained a copy of the bulletin this week and
verified its authenticity.
The FBI noted that use of almanacs or maps may be innocent, "the product
of legitimate recreational or commercial activities." But it warned that
when combined with suspicious behavior - such as apparent surveillance - a
person with an almanac "may point to possible terrorist planning."
The FBI said information typically found in almanacs that could be useful
for terrorists includes profiles of cities and states and information
about waterways, bridges, dams, reservoirs, tunnels, buildings and
landmarks. It said this information is often accompanied by photographs
The FBI urged police to report such discoveries to the local U.S. Joint
Terrorism Task Force.