MCLB security heightened

Photo by J.D. Sumner

Photo by J.D. Sumner

MCLB-ALBANY -- As U.S. interests around the world brace for possible violent repercussions in the wake of Osama bin Laden's death, officials at Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany have tightened security.

According to base officials, the facility -- which houses Marine Corps Logistics Command and Maintenance Center Albany, as well as various other operations in support of the U.S. Marine Corps -- has escalated its security status to Force Protection Condition Bravo.

The change could mean possible delays for those who live and work on base, Colie Young, MCLB-Albany's deputy public affairs officer, said via email Monday.

"This is an exceptionally proud moment for each of our installations, from where so many courageous Marines and sailors have gone and are still deployed in the fight against al-Qaida and its supporters," Lt. Col Don Finn, MCLB-Albany's executive officer, said.

"While we celebrate this historic achievement with the rest of the nation, their work continues, and our thoughts and prayers continue to remain with those still in harm's way."

The security status change will mean increased surveillance on board the base itself and around its perimeter.

The change follows President Obama's speech Sunday in which he announced to the nation that U.S Special Forces had killed bin Laden, his adult son, a courier and the courier's brother during a firefight at bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Immediately following the announcement, base officials say that the U.S. Northern Command instituted a force protection baseline change for "all its Department of Defense installations across the nation."

At the municipal level, Yvette Aehle said that travelers heading in and out of Albany via the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport likely wouldn't notice any increased security measures, but did ask patrons to be vigilant and aware of security precautions.

"Things are just as they were yesterday, in terms of security," Aehle said. "We are asking people not to park on the curb and, instead, to take advantage of our free 30-minute parking for dropping people off and things like that."

Obama administration officials expressed concern Monday that bin Laden's death would spark retribution and retaliation against U.S. forces or its allies around the world.

Terrorists "almost certainly will attempt to avenge" the death of Osama bin Laden, CIA Director Leon Panetta said in a message sent to agency employees.

On several extremist websites, commenters lamented bin Laden's death but vowed revenge for what some called the "lion of Islam."

"The battle between us and international tyranny is long and will not be stopped by the martyrdom of our beloved one, the lion of Islam. How many martyrdom seekers have been born today?" a top al-Qaida ideologue, who goes by the online name "Assad al-Jihad2," wrote on a fundamentalist Islamist site.

The State Department put U.S. embassies on alert early Monday and warned of the heightened possibility for anti-American violence after the killing of bin Laden.

The department issued a worldwide travel alert shortly after Obama announced late Sunday bin Laden's death during a U.S. military operation. The department warned of an "enhanced potential for anti-American violence given recent counterterrorism activity in Pakistan."

It continued: "Given the uncertainty and volatility of the current situation, U.S. citizens in areas where recent events could cause anti-American violence are strongly urged to limit their travel outside of their homes and hotels and avoid mass gatherings and demonstrations."

The alert said U.S. embassy operations would continue "to the extent possible under the constraints of any evolving security situation." It noted that embassies and consulates may temporarily close or suspend public services, depending on conditions.