Originally posted by Ben Feller(AP) via Indianapolis StarFederal law enforcement authorities notified school districts in six states last month that a computer disk found in Iraq contained photos, floor plans and other information about their schools, two U.S. officials said Thursday.
The downloaded data found by the U.S. military in July -- all available on the Internet -- included an Education Department report guiding schools on how to prepare and respond to a crisis, said one official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The officials said it was unclear who downloaded the information and stressed there is no evidence of specific threats toward schools.
The districts mentioned are in Georgia, Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon and California. The officials said last month that FBI agents in charge of those areas alerted local education and law enforcement officials.
Officials did not give the districts' names. But Salem (Ore.) Superintendent Kay Baker confirmed her district was among them.
San Diego schools also were included, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune, and ABC News said there was a second California district. The Salem Statesman Journal reported the other districts were in Fort Myers, Fla.; Jones County, Ga.; Birch Run, Mich.; and Franklinville and Rumson, both in New Jersey.
In a separate warning put out this week, the Education Department advised school leaders nationwide to watch for people spying on their buildings or buses to help detect any possibility of terrorism like the deadly school siege last month in Russia.
The warning follows an analysis by the FBI and the Homeland Security Department of the siege, which killed nearly 340 people, many of them students.
"The horror of this attack may have created significant anxiety in our own country," Deputy Education Secretary Eugene Hickok said in a letter sent Wednesday to schools and education groups.
Of course, some argue that Iraq has little to do with prosecuting the war on terror, but this would beg to differ...
Too bad that the AP is now reporting that, as John Aravosis says is, "that the "maps of schools" they found in Iraq were ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, were NOT related to any terrorist plot, and were in fact simply MANUALS for how to run a safe school, among other things."
If that's the case... then it's a good ol' Chicken Little alert.
It looks like everybody is dismissing the disks, but is still sticking to the warning about schools, more in reaction to the horror in Russia than anything. It just happened that the disks were found around the same time as the new school warnings and people overreacted. At least that's how CNN and FOX are reporting it now.
Apparently at the same time Bush was saying he'd keep Rummy until the end of his term, he was talking to Gates about taking over at Defense (at least according to the "political insider" on NPR- for what it's worth).