D.C.

Syria attack: MPD, Park Police on alert for retaliation

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WASHINGTON (WJLA) - Internal documents obtained by ABC 7 News show that multiple law enforcement agencies, including U.S. Park Police and D.C. Police, are looking for suspicious activity and increasing surveillance near potential targets like monuments and government buildings.

This watch is in response to a possible U.S. military strike against Syria based on evidence that Syria recently killed more than 1,400 of their own in a chemical weapons attack.

On Saturday, the same day President Barack Obama stated the U.S. should take military action against the Syrian regime, the U.S. Park Police issued a lengthy internal memo alerting the agency to be ready and prepared for potential retaliatory action against the U.S. after any military intervention.

Park Police also warned its officers to anticipate impromptu demonstrations and rallies primarily focused on the White House.

And on Thursday, D.C. police also issued a lengthy teletype to all of its personnel entitled agency call for vigilance in response to a possible U.S. military strike on Syria.

The memo said the department has “no credible information suggesting the likelihood of an imminent attack of religious sites or points of interest in the district of Columbia.”

But it went on to urge all of its members to maintain a posture of readiness to be on the lookout for suspicious behavior like discreet use of cameras, unusual interest in security protocols, and purchases of items that could be used to construct explosive devices.

Iranian-American activists Shirin Nariman and Mary Ataey believe the Syrian regime, like their Iranian allies, will continue to violate laws of decency until they are toppled. And they also believe President Obama waited far too long to announce his desire to retaliate.

Shirin Nariman: "How long are we going to wait and keep quiet? Until something bad is going to happen in our own country?"

Mary Ataey: "Show these atrocious people, these reactionary people who don't understand anything but the language of war, that you are standing for democracy, the real democracy. If you claim it, do something about it."

Officially, the department issued this statement Monday: “We maintain a heightened sense of vigilance and awareness all of the time. We are the nation's capitol and we have to keep a global perspective in order to make sure we are safe at home and to make sure our officers are prepared."

Obama and his administration are now personally lobbying lawmakers in light of the fact that the president is asking for congressional approval before taking action. But whether he will get that congressional backing is still in question.

"I'll vote for it," said Republican Rep. Peter King of New York. "I'm not trying to duck a vote, but I think he's put himself in a position that -- right now, if the vote were today -- it would be very difficult to get a majority."

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