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FBI clears terrorists of shining laser pointers at pilots

Horseplay still under investigation

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Terrorists have not engaged in a nationwide plot to annoy pilots with laser pointers, according to the FBI.

The FBI investigated 8 incidents over the past two weeks in which pilots reported seeing laser beams in their cockpits. The lasers appeared most often during takeoff and landing and were seen in Texas, Oregon, New Jersey and Ohio. As it turns out, the laser attacks were likely the result of accidents or just horseplay.

Ever vigilant, the FBI is now investigating a new laser incident after United Airlines pilots reported seeing a green light when taking off from Nashville International Airport. The pilots were able to complete the flight and landed unharmed here in Chicago.

Numerous people have been questioned by the FBI about this laser beam activity, but no one has been charged with a crime.

Laser pointers often come with warnings that prolonged exposure - about a minute and half - to the beam can cause serious eye damage. Makers of the devices also say people should not shine the laser beam into their eyes through a pair of binoculars. Some of the pointers do have a range of close to two miles.

One seller of a high-powered laser has pulled its products as a result of the recent incidents. ®

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