Bossier Parish Sheriff Larry Deen, who's banded together a citizen militia of ex-cops to ready the parish for counter-terrorism, natural disasters and general doomsday scenarios, is now citing intel of local terrorist "cells" as partial justification for its "Operation Exodus." Ed Baswell, a spokesman for the Bossier Parsih Sheriff's Office, told national news blog Talking Points Memo that while 9-11 was the original inspiration for instituting the program, there has since been evidence of Islamic terrorist activity closer to home.  

"We understand, based on some intelligence that we've collected over the last year, year and a half, that there have been cells and people operating even within our parish that have been trained as terrorists or went overseas to be trained as terrorists. So this is not something that's far, far away. This is something that is a possibility here in Bossier Parish."

Baswell told TPM the sheriff's office worked in conjunction with the FBI on tracking any terrorist activity. He then added: "We didn't get the impression they were plotting an attack. We got the impression they were in training or headed for training overseas. We don't believe in any way shape or form that there is any sort of imminent threat.

"Islamic terrorists have been in and out," he added. "And we've had intelligence information that confirmed that for us." The FBI has yet to confirm its involvement.

Deen's office announced "Operation Exodus" earlier this week and has gathered approximately 100 volunteers, a rag tag collection of retired police and patriotic jingoists (as is evidenced by the video below) to sign on for hand-to-hand combat training and other preparations.

In a press release on its Web site, the Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office expounds on mission of Operation Exodus:

As evidenced by recent terror threats, it is apparent that homegrown terrorists are in our midst. With the easy accessibility of the internet, it is quite possible that these local and international terrorists can form a national or multiple location attack on our nation at any given moment. And no matter whether we are a direct target or not, fear and panic will still permeate our community. Control will have to be regained to ensure the safety of our residents. That is where Operation Exodus comes into play. It utilizes preventive measures to safeguard Bossier Parish from the fear and outcry that will inevitably transpire.

The press release also makes clear the meaning of the name Operation Exodus:

The name Operation Exodus was chosen for three reasons. The word “Exodus” literally means “going out” or “departure.” For the Bossier Sheriff’s Office, Operation Exodus is a “departure” from our normal duties to amplify the protection we provide our citizens. As for the volunteers, they will be “going out” of their way to help the people of the community. And the last reason it was chosen is because of its Biblical relevance. In the book of Exodus, the Israelites were totally on their own, learning to be self-sufficient and handle everything alone, just as the plan provides.

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