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Search for terrorist in Tampa prompts higher security efforts

A day after police searched for a man who may have been a suspected al-Qaida terrorist miles from MacDill Air Force Base, the Secret Service took extra alert precautions for President George W. Bush’s visit Wednesday.

Dozens of Secret Service representatives were stationed at every corner of the hangar at the Air Force base as Bush approached the stage to rally support for the war in Iraq.

Police searched for suspect Adnan G. El Shukrijumah on Tuesday, after a customer and an employee at a Subway sandwich shop at 3402 S. Dale Mabry said the man purchased a sandwich just before 5 p.m.

“We were a little more careful, given the state of everything around here,” said Lt. Col. Martin Compton. “Troops are on duty 24 hours a day here, but the White House staff came in and is very conscious of the situation.”

The FBI issued a worldwide alert on the 27-year-old Saudi last week, saying that he may be plotting terrorist attacks against the United States.

Compton said military personnel took extra precautions for Bush’s visit since the suspect was not yet found, but security measures followed the same procedures as usual.

Compton said the White House staff brought in an advanced team of Secret Service agents and Air Force personnel to be on duty prior to the president’s arrival.

The Air Force base was notified Sunday about Bush’s arrival, and Compton said Secret Service came in at the beginning of the week to begin setting up security measures.

Compton could not go into detail about procedures because of security purposes but said that military personnel work with the Secret Service to be sure they are aware of surroundings at all times.

“Secret Service always maintains high security on the base at all times,” Compton said.