The ferry captain photographed these men after they took pictures on a ferry last year. The FBI said they no longer consider the men’s actions suspicious.

They were software consultants in town for a weeklong business conference — not terrorists planning an attack to cripple the country’s largest ferry system.

Last summer, the FBI launched an international search for two men after crew members and riders on a Washington State Ferry reported their unusual behavior — namely that they were taking pictures below deck, in areas that don’t hold much interest for most tourists.

A ferry captain snapped their photo, which was passed along to the FBI.

Turns out the men, both citizens of a European Union nation, were captivated by the car-carrying capacity of local ferries.

“Where these gentlemen live, they don’t have vehicle ferries. They were fascinated that a ferry could hold that many cars and wanted to show folks back home,” FBI Special Agent Robbie Burroughs said Monday.

The FBI’s decision to release the photograph to the media last summer was controversial because the men — who were described as Middle Eastern-looking — were not suspected of committing a crime. While law-enforcement officials say they focus on behavior, not ethnicity, local activists say members of the Arab-American community often complain of racial profiling and many are afraid to ride ferries or board planes because of it. (MORE)


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