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Pakistani Immigrant Had Videos of Las Vegas

August 13, 2004|From Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — Videotapes found in a Pakistani immigrant's New York home had extensive images of Las Vegas casinos and other facilities, officials said Thursday.

Kamran Akhtar, 35, who was arrested in North Carolina last month while filming Charlotte's downtown skyline, had videotapes depicting "hours and hours" of Las Vegas, said Ellen Knowlton, FBI special agent in charge in Las Vegas.

FBI officials are investigating whether Akhtar has ties to terrorists. They said the videotapes did not constitute a credible threat to Las Vegas and that the city was not on a heightened state of alert.

The videotapes might be in a dialect of Urdu and need to be translated, Knowlton said. The tapes depicted 34 locations in Las Vegas, including interiors and exteriors of buildings.

Agents with the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force seized the videotapes Aug. 3, and the contents were shared with Las Vegas officials, Knowlton said. She said her bureau received seven tapes Thursday and immediately invited local authorities and casino chiefs to view them.

Five of the videotapes, possibly made in 2003 and this year, included images of Las Vegas, she said.

"We don't know their purpose yet," Knowlton said during a news conference attended by Gov. Kenny Guinn and federal, state and local officials. "On their face, it's difficult to tell their purpose. Without this translation I really can't characterize this for you other than to say we don't know yet what we have but we are working on it."

Akhtar, who also is known as Kamran Shaikh, was arrested July 20.

The New York resident remains jailed on immigration and naturalization charges and making a false statement. The charges were revealed in a criminal complaint that was unsealed this week in North Carolina.

Akhtar had tapes that included scenes of buildings and transit systems in Charlotte, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, New Orleans and Austin, Texas.

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