Media Information - There's No Information That Suggests a Terrorist
Threat to Huntington Beach Pier Videotaping According to HBPD's Lt.
August 12, 2005
Huntington Beach, Calif. - Three
individuals recently reported videotaping the Santa Monica Pier in a manner
some tipster considered not consistent with activities of tourists were
possibly seen videotaping the Huntington Beach Pier. Huntington Beach
Police Lt. Dave Bunetta said his agency has no information that suggests an
actual terrorist threat.
Police in Santa Monica tighten security
even as the FBI says suspicions aroused by recent videotaping of
high-profile structures appear to be unfounded. Santa Monica Police Chief
James T. Butts Jr. met with reporters this week and declared a potential
homeland security threat, based on a call last month from a citizen who had
taken photos of "Middle Eastern individuals" as they shot video of the Santa
Monica Pier and surrounding area in a manner that authorities said was
"inconsistent with tourist documentary."
In a press release, Butts said he wanted to assure residents, business
owners and visitors that the Police Department was increasing security as a
preemptive measure against any potential terrorism threats or other security
Law enforcement sources said the individuals in question were also reported
to have filmed around the Vincent Thomas Bridge, linking Los Angeles and
Long Beach, and the Huntington Beach Pier.
FBI officials took a stance on the situation. An FBI spokeswoman, Laura
Eimiller, said the agency looked into the situation after the individuals
filmed the Vincent Thomas Bridge and determined at that time that they
didn't pose a threat.
Other law enforcement agencies have yet to follow Santa Monica's lead and
issue public warnings. Huntington Beach Police Lt. Dave Bunetta said his
agency has no information that suggests an actual terrorist threat.
Butts informed the Santa Monica City Council about the filming at a closed
session meeting Tuesday ' the same day he asked for surveillance cameras,
additional patrols and bomb-sniffing dogs around the pier area and the Third
Street Promenade to boost security as a preemptive measure against any
potential terrorism threats or other security breaches. The city is
expected to spend about $2 million for these measures, according to City
During the meeting, Butts showed the City Council the photos of the men
videotaping the pier. Several council members said Friday that they backed
the way Butts handled the situation, saying it made sense to beef up
security. They also expressed support for Butts' plan to place cameras at
the pier and other popular public places.
Katz said the three photos Butts showed the council during the closed
session meeting left him with concerns. There were three people taking
pictures on a pier that's a tourist attraction. They were observed and
photographed taking video of the pier pilings and under-structure.
Other agencies said they are still working with Santa Monica police and
other federal agents to confirm whether the individuals making the
videotapes at the Santa Monica pier also were involved in filming in their
communities. While they don't see a need to issue a public warning now, that
could charge based on new information.
Los Angeles Port Police Chief Ronald J. Boyd, whose agency patrols the
Vincent Thomas Bridge, said his department is also investigating. The
bridge is considered a possible terrorist target because it links the ports
of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which constitute the third-largest seaport in