FBI alerts Boston law enforcement about four suspects
BOSTON -- The FBI notified Boston area law enforcement Wednesday to be on the lookout for four Chinese nationals described as possible terror suspects who may be headed to the area.
Federal law enforcement officials in Boston said they had received a tip earlier in the day about an unspecified threat against Boston, and released photographs of the four people they were seeking.
In a joint statement issued by Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan and Kenneth Kaiser, special agent in charge of the Boston FBI office, they were identified as: Zengrong Lin, Wen Quin Zheng, Xiujin Chen, Guozhi Lin.
Authorities said none of the names had been on previous watch lists of terror suspects, and their whereabouts aren't immediately known.
The investigation stirred a frenzy of media reports and prompted Gov. Mitt Romney, who had gone to Washington to attend Thursday's presidential inauguration, to decide to return to Massachusetts later Wednesday.
Romney told reporters in Washington that he planned to be on a 9 p.m. flight back to Boston, and cautioned that the threats were unsubstantiated and uncorroborated.
"We have had threats in the past. We take them seriously, even when they're not corroborated," he said.
Romney said that the state's threat level would not be raised, but more people would be on duty in the state's emergency management bunker in Framingham, about 20 miles west of Boston.
Asked why he didn't come back immediately after hearing of the threat in the morning, Romney said that as the information became more public, he wanted "to assure the people of Boston that it is safe to be at home."
A federal law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the matter remains under investigation, told The Associated Press that the FBI's joint terrorism task force has not yet corroborated a tip that the suspects entered the United States through Mexico in recent days, possibly bound for Boston.
The official stressed the tip is one of many from around the country that routinely are forwarded to local task forces for further investigation. No credible, specific terror threat has been identified in connection with the tip about suspects possibly entering the country from Mexico.
FBI spokeswoman Gail Marcinkiewicz said the terror alert had not been raised for Boston.
"Basically, what you have here is information that we often get," she said. "It's uncorroborated at this time."
"It's been passed on to our law enforcement partners and we're working it aggressively," she said.