Terror Link Downplayed in Courthouse Break-In
‘Pictures of courthouses, water systems’ from around the US found in the van used by five men believed to be Moroccan Muslims.
Five men in their twenties, described as French-Moroccan Muslims, are being questioned by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and by officials of the Department of Homeland Security after they were arrested inside the 120 year old Bexar County Courthouse in downtown San Antonio shortly before 2 this morning, 1200 WOAI news reports.
Officials say three of the men crawled through a window to get into the 120 year old Courthouse, which is a landmark in downtown San Antonio, and theother two were found in a van parked in front of the building.
Inside the van, officials say they found “photographs of infrastructure” including photos of shopping malls, water systems, courthouses and other public buildings which they say were taken in cities nationwide.
“They got travel documents, parking passes, they have been all over the country,” one law enforcement officials who asked not to be identified told 1200 WOAI’s Michael Board on the scene. “A lot of photographic equipment, a lot of documentation equipment inside their vehicle.”
Officials say the five men entered the country legally on visas from Heathrow Airport in London. They didn’t immediately know how long the men have been in the U.S., or what places they may have visited.
Officials immediately blocked off a two square block area of downtown San Antonio around the Courthouse, and bomb sniffing dogs fanned out throughout the building. About two hours later, the streets were reopened, indicating nothing dangerous was found in the building.
“They are going to be held for interrogation by the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the joint terrorism task force,” the law enforcement source said.
The men are described as in their early twenties. One law enforcement official said the men told him they climbed to the fourth floor of the courthouse at 2AM “to get a better view of the city.”
There is a military intelligence convention underway at the city’s Convention Center several blocks away, with top intelligence officials including White House officials set to speak, but investigators didn’t say whether there was any connection.
Investigators were tight lipped about the incident this morning.
“All that, coupled with the fact why they can’t explain why they are in the building at 1:22 in the morning raises questions,” the law enforcement officer said.