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Obama Redacts School Security Suggestions[Audio]

President Obama (Alex Wong/Getty)

by Jim Kouri

“The alleged purpose of the intelligence briefing was to glean information to help protect school children from a potential terrorist attack. What sense does it make for the Obama administration to keep secret the bulletin’s important recommendations for schools and emergency responders?”

An intelligence document that details and analyzes the September 2004 attack by Chechen Islamic terrorists on an elementary school in Beslan, North Ossetia, in Russia, was obtained on by a public-interest organization that investigates and prosecutes government corruption.

The world watched in shock as the attackers captured 1,100 hostages (children, parents, teachers, and visitors) and them held captive for three days. In all, 380 hostages — including children — were murdered in cold-blood by the Islamic terrorists.

The Beslan document was obtained from the State Department by Judicial Watch in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that was filed more than six years ago on August 26, 2005.

The document, jointly released by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is dated October 12, 2004, and analyzes the Beslan terrorist attack with a view toward gleaning lessons for potential attacks on schools within the United States and its territories, according to Judicial Watch officials.

While the ultimate conclusion of the report — now 7-years old — is that such attacks pose no immediate threat to the U.S., the bulletin details “several items that law enforcement, school administration and security personnel may consider when developing school security and emergency response plans.”

According to the Department of Justice Program Office, the Obama administration blocked out these recommendations, citing a “deliberative process exemption,” which Judicial Watch is in the process of appealing.

Operational details discussed in the bulletin regarding the raid on the Beslan school include transportation, techniques for overcoming security, prepositioning of weapons and explosives, terrorist surveillance and planning, controlling hostages by separating children from parents and teachers, and terrorist efforts to thwart Russian government counterterrorism techniques and teams.

The bulletin highlights Russian failures at the scene, which include failing to implement a comprehensive response plan and failing to establish an effective cordon around the school during the incident.

The bulletin closes with the observation that “Emergency medical treatment for children is significantly different from adults and should be factored into any [emergency response] plan or exercise.”

Previously, Judicial Watch uncovered a Defense Intelligence Agency document detailing al-Qaeda’s 1998 activities in Chechnya, which included a “direct route to Chechnya from Pakistan and Afghanistan through Turkey and Azerbaijan.”

“The alleged purpose of the intelligence briefing was to glean information to help protect school children from a potential terrorist attack. What sense does it make for the Obama administration to keep secret the bulletin’s important recommendations for schools and emergency responders?” asked Judicial Watch’s top executive.

“The Chechen terrorists behind Beslan have been tied to al-Qaida. Importantly, these terrorists groups in Chechnya first used many of the terrorists techniques that became widely adopted elsewhere, such as IED’s and the use of women suicide bombers,” said Judicial Watch’s President, Tom Fitton.

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