- The Washington Times - Friday, September 21, 2001

The site where a hijacked passenger jet crashed into the Pentagon last week will become a crime scene within the next 24 hours, FBI officials said yesterday.
Van Harp, assistant director of the FBI's Washington field office, said the bureau will shift its focus from recovery to evidence collection while search-and-rescue crews continue the cleanup of the site.
"We will continue the search and recovery mode, but our major focus will become the crime-scene investigation," Mr. Harp said.
About 450 law enforcement officers from the FBI and the Defense, Arlington County Fire and Rescue, and Metropolitan Police departments are already on site collecting and cataloging evidence, Mr. Harp said.
Some 300 agents are combing through the wreckage for clues; the 150 others are conducting analysis in the Pentagon's north parking lot, Mr. Harp said.
"It's a very slow, very methodical and well-coordinated process," he said, adding that the FBI expects to be at the site for at least two or three more weeks.
Also, law enforcement officials said yesterday most of the debris has been removed from the crash site. But officials warned that some of the victims may never be accounted for.
Although the bodies of 118 victims have been found over the last week, officials said that does not include various human remains. So far, 33 persons have been positively identified. The death toll remains at 189 64 on board the hijacked airliner and 125 inside the Pentagon.
Meanwhile, Arlington County government officials have asked the federal and state governments to exempt 20 public-safety employees from military duty.
Assistant County Manager Dick Bridges said yesterday the employees are National Guardsmen or other military reservists who work full time for the county's police, fire, sheriff's and human services departments. Thirteen of the 20 workers are police officers.
Mr. Bridges said most of them are now working at the Pentagon crash site, helping in the collection of evidence and cleanup efforts.
"Pulling out 20 people would cause us great difficulty right now," Mr. Bridges said, adding that so far only one employee has been called for duty.
Arlington isn't the only county in the area facing this problem. D.C. police have more than 100 reservists and National Guard members. In Montgomery County, Police Chief Charles A. Moose recently said he has been spending nights since last week's attacks as a security squadron commander at the Andrews Air Force Base.
Military police and troops from Fort Bragg, N.C., arrived at the Pentagon yesterday afternoon to help with security and labor at the site. The extra personnel also will relieve several Arlington County police officers who have been working at the site since the attacks.
In other related events yesterday:
Another victim of the attack on the Pentagon was released from Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Sheila Moody, a civilian Defense Department employee, went home after being treated for smoke inhalation and burns. Two victims remain at Walter Reed, one in fair condition, the other satisfactory. Eight patients remain at Washington Hospital Center. One is in serious condition, five are critical and two are fair.
An FBI truck equipped with radios was stolen yesterday morning in Laurel, where hijackers involved in last week's attacks may have stayed. Meanwhile, a Muslim cleric from Laurel, who has been questioned by federal authorities about possible ties with terrorist Osama bin Laden, denied any prior knowledge of the attacks at a press conference held at the National Press Building.
The Greater Potomac and Chesapeake chapter of the Red Cross reported record blood collections since the attacks. The chapter collected more than 12,000 units of blood from donors from the District, and parts of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
Fairfax County police said they responded to 11 bias crimes this week, more than double the number from last year. Police Chief Thomas Manger said the crimes include vandalism, bomb threats and harassment. Chief Manger said police are patrolling schools, community centers and places of worship as a result. There were five such incidents reported last year.
The article is based in part on wire service reports.

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