HIDDEN CAMERAS AT GUAM AIRPORT STILL A MYSTERY

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By Mark-Alexander Pieper

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, March 7) - The miniature cameras found last week in the airport arrival area were mostly purchased in 2001 by the airport authority, the agency's executive manager said yesterday.

"I can categorically make a statement that the airport asked for it and we purchased it," said A.B. Won Pat Guam International Airport Authority Executive Manager Jess Torres.

But now that it's been confirmed that the airport installed the equipment, Torres said it is still not known who was receiving the feeds from the devices.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has launched a joint investigation into the case with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to Federal Bureau of Investigation Honolulu Division Media Relations Coordinator Special Agent Brandon Simpson. Simpson said he could not provide further comment because the investigation is pending.

Guam Department of Customs and Quarantine Director Rick Blas has said the devices were concealed in the area where customs agents check arriving passengers and their bags and that at least two of the cameras were live, or in operation, when they were discovered.

[PIR editor’s note: A tip from U.S. Customs led to the discovery of hidden cameras and listening devices at the Guam International Airport’s arrival area on March 2 (read the story).]

Torres said a 6-inch stack of purchase orders shows that the equipment was purchased from Sunny Electronics under an emergency declaration after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks. Officials from Sunny Electronics could not be reached for comment yesterday.

"What we still don't know is where the feeds are going. The concern is to ensure that if those things were purchased and installed, then they have to be done for a legitimate reason," Torres said.

To do that, the airport is negotiating on a sole-source procurement contract with Pacific Security Alarm, who assisted in overseeing the security enhancement project in 2001, Torres said.

Officials from Pacific Security Alarm could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Torres added that it is believed that one of the feeds from a camera led to the airport police office, but he added that the airport's administration doesn't have any physical evidence of that.

During the time the cameras were installed, the airport police chief was Pete Daga and the executive manager at the time was Gerald Yingling. Daga could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Yingling last week told the Pacific Daily News that the Federal Aviation Authority had told the airport to beef up security after 9-11 and the airport had several cameras installed around the facility.

Yingling has said he didn't know the make of the cameras that were installed. He also did not know who installed them or where they were placed at the airport.

Torres said while he hasn't finished compiling the cost of the equipment, some of the purchase orders were for surveillance equipment that ranged from a little less than US$1,000 to more than US$14,000.

March 8, 2006

Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com

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