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Bases, Power Plants on Heightened Alert

By Michelle Wayland, Monica Dean and Steven Luke
|  Monday, May 2, 2011  |  Updated 2:12 PM PDT
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To execute the mission that ended in the death of Osama bin Laden, President Obama tapped a small contingent of the U.S. Navy SEALs. Monica Dean shows where the SEAL teams train in San Diego.

To execute the mission that ended in the death of Osama bin Laden, President Obama tapped a small contingent of the U.S. Navy SEALs. Monica Dean shows where the SEAL teams train in San Diego.

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U.S. military bases across the nation are on heightened alert, including here in San Diego County, following the killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. troops.

Military officials at Coronado Naval Amphibious Base say all military bases are at a security status known as FPCON Bravo, which indicates a somewhat predictable terrorist threat.

This letter went out to staff at Naval Base Pt. Loma on Sunday.

Some of you may have received an automated message this morning (Sunday, 1 May) at approximately 1030, that stated that the FPCON has been elevated to Bravo.  Usually, we are at FPCON Normal.  Above Normal is FPCON Alpha, which is implemented when there is intelligence of an unspecified, unpredictable terrorist threat.  FPCON Bravo is implemented when the threat is judged to be increased and more predictable.  We do not know the nature of the threat or the location, other than within the general region.  You may recall that we spent a few days at FPCON Bravo in February as part of the Nationwide Solid Curtain/Citadel Shield security exercise.

Naval Base Point Loma has implemented FPCON Bravo procedures.  If this condition is still set when you report to work on Monday, 2 May, you will see that the gate guards are wearing personal protective equipment and passage through the gates may be slowed because the guards are supposed to physically touch your ID when you come through the gate.

Under FPCON Bravo, most of the measures are taken by the Base. However, our responsibility in our compound is to be aware and vigilant, especially regarding things that are different.  The Command Duty Officer will conduct more frequent inspections of the grounds and buildings. 

We will provide more information as it becomes known to us.

There is strong reaction to the news of Osama bin Laden’s death from the local military community.

“Oh it's amazing -- I didn't expect to hear this news when I walked into this place,” said Navy Nuclear Engineer Kevin Marshall. “We finally got the guy.”

The mission required extreme accuracy. Even more precision than could be delivered by the government's sophisticated Predator drones.

To execute it, President Barack Obama tapped a small contingent of the Navy's elite SEAL Team Six and put them under the command of CIA Director Leon Panetta, whose analysts monitored the compound from afar.

According to U.S. officials, Panetta was directly in charge of the team and his conference room was transformed into a command center.

These types of highly sophisticated missions are what Navy SEALS train for. A lot of that training happens in Coronado. SEALS are known as one of the most respected commando forces in the world. Candidates go through intense comprehensive training.

“You can always count on the Navy SEALs and the Special Forces to do all the hard jobs,” said Marshall. “Proud of what they just did.”

President Obama said no Americans were harmed in the operation.

At this point we don't know if the SEAL team has any San Diego connections -- although, because Navy SEAL basic training is held in San Diego, it is likely the team involved in the bin Laden raid  spent time here.

Authorities at some other "high value" targets around the county have also security concerns about their sites. While U.S. power plants always have high security and are on a high state of alert, operators were instructed by federal officials on Monday to raise awareness of security not just at their plants but also at any other facilities they operate as well.

Officials at LIndbergh Field, however, were not specifically told to increase security -- this despite a report by the Los Angeles Times that LAX is at a state of heightened security. Earlier today, Transportation Security Administration officials refute the Times report and released the following statement:

TSA continually evaluates the latest threats and screening measures which are implemented based on the latest intelligence. As always, passengers may notice a variety of security measures at U.S. airports to include the use of explosives detection technology, physical bag checks, random gate screening, canine teams and behavior detection officers. We ask the traveling public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the authorities."

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