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US says no school threat linked to disk found in Iraq

WASHINGTON -- Federal officials said yesterday there is no terrorist connection to a computer disk found in Iraq that contained information about schools in six states.

The disk was made by an unidentified Iraqi researcher and had no connections to Al Qaeda or the Iraqi insurgents battling US forces, according to the FBI. The researcher did have links to the Ba'ath Party that ruled Iraq under Saddam Hussein, but that's true of many former government officials and community leaders.

Some material on the disk appeared to be randomly copied from a publicly accessible US Department of Education website and included manuals on workplace safety, crisis management studies, student codes of conduct, and building security diagrams. It also contained an Education Department report on school crisis planning published in May 2003.

''It's not about schools; it's about policy," said FBI Agent William Evanina, spokesman for the FBI field office in Newark, N.J. ''There's no terrorism threat to these schools."

The school districts are in California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, New Jersey, and Oregon. The FBI contacted local officials in the communities last month and told them about the disk and what it contained.

Although there was no indication of a terror threat, the FBI decided to contact local officials out of an abundance of caution.

Governor Jeb Bush of Florida said the FBI told officials there that there was ''no direct information" that schools in his state are ''under any kind of threat."

He said that school-building floor plans and other sensitive materials about schools are not available via the Internet in the state of Florida.

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