Terror Link Downplayed in Courthouse Break-In

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.

Jim Forsyth

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.

CLICK HERE for Photo Gallery from the Scene

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.

Obama’s bus tour costing taxpayers thousands

October 18, 2011 4:39 PM

Obama’s bus tour costing taxpayers thousands

Mark Knoller



Barack ObamaPresident Barack Obama delivers remarks at the YMCA at
Guilford Technical Community College in Jamestown, N.C., Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011.

(Credit: AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Herman Cain or any of the other presidential
challengers were to embark on a three-day bus trip like the one now underway by
President Obama, it would cost their campaigns tens of thousands of dollars.
Perhaps more. 




They would have to pay a variety of expenses, including:

  • air travel to their first destination
  • leasing of one or more buses appropriate to the journey
  • rental for halls or meeting rooms for their candidates’ appearances
  • the cost of lodging and meals for their candidate and staff


But not the Obama campaign. The White House declared that Mr. Obama’s
three-day trip through North Carolina and Virginia are official events and not
campaign appearances, even though the two states are known to be political
objectives of his re-election bid.




So Mr. Obama’s expenses are borne by taxpayers, including:

  • the pro-rated costs of his flights aboard Marine One and Air Force One that
    brought him to his first stop yesterday in Asheville, NC
  • the two buses used by him and his staff, owned and operated by the United
    States Secret Service
  • costs associated with setting up speech sites including microphones,
    speakers, amplifiers, teleprompters and TV lights
  • lodging and meals for the president and his political staff





It’s an advantage enjoyed by every incumbent president seeking re-election —
and a disadvantage endured by his challengers. And though the White House has
said the trip is not political, Mr. Obama has repeatedly used his speeches to
take Republicans to task for opposing the provisions of his jobs bill.




“They said no to putting teachers and construction workers back on the job,”
the president said yesterday in Asheville. “They said no to rebuilding our roads
and our bridges and our airports. They said no to cutting taxes for middle-class
families and small businesses when all they’ve been doing is cutting taxes for
the wealthiest Americans.”

He continued: “They want to gut regulations; they want to let Wall Street do
whatever it wants. They want to drill more. And they want to repeal health care
reform. That’s their jobs plan.”




On the Senate floor Monday, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., raised concerns about
the partisan rhetoric from his 2008 presidential rival.




“In fact, I was somewhat taken aback, since the president and his
spokesperson had billed his trip as a taxpayer-paid visit,” said McCain.

He said Mr. Obama has the right to express his views about GOP policies but
wondered, “is that appropriate on the taxpayers’ dime? Since it is clearly




A day before the trip begin, White House officials held a conference call
with reporters and repeatedly made the case that the president’s trip was about
the jobs bill, not his re-election, even though he was traveling in states he
won in 2008 and wants to keep in his column next year as well.




Some of Mr. Obama’s bus trip events had the sound and feel of campaign
rallies. As he arrived in Asheville for his first event, his audience on the
tarmac chanted, “Four more years!”

And Mr. Obama himself would shift into the higher-decibel, campaign-style
cadence that served him so well as a candidate for president three years




If this bus trip was billed as a political journey, his campaign and/or the
Democratic party would be paying the costs, but not as much as his presidential
challengers might. He could still ride the 747s that serve as Air Force One, and
pay only a small pro-rated portion of the expense, as per Federal Election
Commission rules.




To date, the White House has refused repeated requests from CBS News to
disclose its calculations of how much the Obama campaign or DNC must reimburse
the government for Mr. Obama’s political travel expenses.