Another Unnecessary Terror Scare?

ByABC News
October 18, 2005, 7:55 PM

Oct. 18, 2005 — -- A love triangle may have led to today's terror scare that closed two major tunnels in Baltimore.

Federal officials tell ABC News they raised questions on the credibility of the informant's information after he failed a lie detector test this past weekend.

At first, the informant, who is in prison overseas, disclosed the names of eight Egyptians who are connected to an Arab grocery store in Baltimore. Officials now say he may have been trying to cause trouble because one of the eight had become romantically involved with his girlfriend.

"We need to follow up with certain individuals in an effort to determine the credibility of the information," Kevin Perkins, the FBI assistant special agent in charge, said of the investigation.

Today, officials took two people identified by the informant into custody for further questioning. At the moment, authorities say the men only face immigration charges.

As the information of the suspected terror threat began to leak out publicly, Maryland state officials closed the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel and the Fort McHenry Tunnel. Robert Ehrlich, the Maryland governor who is running against the Baltimore mayor for re-election, said he had no choice but to act.

"Every governor post-9/11 lives with this every day, and there's a fine line," Ehrlich said in defense of his actions.

Today's events closely resemble those earlier this month in New York when bad informant information regarding a supposed attack on the city's subways was passed on to New York officials.

The questionable information is also similar to bogus reports three years ago from a jailhouse informant, who said 19 operatives were sneaking across the Canadian border to attack New York, as well as phony information that has pinpointed such landmarks as the Golden Gate Bridge and Fenway Park as terror targets over the past few years.

Some officials, however, say it is better to be safe than sorry.

"If we fail to take action because we want perfect information, we may regret it for the rest of our lives," said Republican Rep. Christopher Shays, who is the chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Security.

ABC News' David Scott, Avni Patel and Simon Surowicz contributed to this report.