BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – A small plane whose frequent,
unexplained flights over the city had raised fears among some
residents is being used by the FBI, officials acknowledged.
The FBI said Thursday that the plane is being used in
monitoring people who might have terrorist connections.
Earlier in the week, when aviation officials disclosed that
the aircraft was conducting surveillance, the FBI had denied
any link to the plane.
Agent Thomas V. Fuentes said the FBI issued the denial
because a reporter asked if the airplane is doing electronic
surveillance, which it is not.
Fuentes and agent James H. Davis said the FBI is not aware
of any threat to Bloomington or the state, but is watching
many foreign nationals.
Besides individuals, they said, the aircraft is monitoring
vehicles and businesses – particularly those open late at
night from which faxes or e-mails can be sent.
Residents in this city of 69,000 have seen the white,
single-engine Cessna 182 at least since Feb. 19 making passes
overhead about noon, in the late evening and after midnight.
Fuentes said the aircraft is conducting surveillance
flights over several communities near Indianapolis.
Bloomington is about 40 miles south of Indianapolis and
home to the flagship campus of Indiana University, where more
than 3,300 foreign students attend.
Several of the university's students have been questioned
by FBI agents, university and agency officials confirmed.
Agency spokesman Doug Garrison, however, would not say if
those interviews were related to national security or the