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Saudis hunt for kidnap victim, await new clues


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Paul M. Johnson has been missing since Saturday.
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The son of an abducted American pleas for his dad.

Saudi authorities search for a kidnapped American.

Saudi Arabian militants claim responsibility for two attacks.
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(CNN) -- As Saudi authorities search for American Paul M. Johnson, his kidnappers are reportedly preparing a video on which he will "confess" and they will make their demands.

Johnson, an American employee of Lockheed Martin, has been missing since Saturday when he was apparently kidnapped by Islamic militants.

A statement released Monday by the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh said Ambassador James C. Oberwetter met with Johnson's wife and spoke by phone with his son.

"I have been assured by the Saudi authorities that they are doing everything possible to resolve this kidnapping case," Oberwetter said in the statement, calling the abduction a "terrorist attack."

Sources close to Saudi intelligence suspect Abdel Aziz Al Muqrin is behind the recent attacks on Westerners and say his capture could unravel what Saudi officials have described as the country's last significant al Qaeda cell.

His speedy capture is by no means guaranteed, nor is the safety of the western workers, according to one Saudi security consultant.

"You cannot protect every single expatriate that lives in Saudi Arabia when he is in his car going to the office and so forth. There are over 80,000 expatriates in Saudi Arabia," said Saudi security consultant Nawaf Obeid.

Johnson's son, Paul Johnson III, spoke to reporters Monday outside his home in Port St. John, Florida.

"Everybody's been trying to do what they can to make sure my father comes back in one piece," Johnson said.

Before he was flown by Lockheed Martin to New Jersey to join the rest of his family, the son made a plea to the kidnappers.

"Whoever's responsible for this, I would trade in a heartbeat with my father. He doesn't deserve this. And I plead with y'all to please let my father go."

After his arrival, Johnson late Monday read a statement in front of his aunt's home in Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey.

"Dad said many times he loved living in Saudi Arabia," Johnson said. "He felt he never had any fear for his safety and respects and honors the traditions and cultures."

"We are extremely distraught by this unforeseen situation and continue to pray for the safe, speedy return of my father," Johnson said, noting his father was out of the country when the younger Johnson's son was born.

"My dad has been working so hard and has not had a chance to see his new grandson," he said. "I know that dad planned on getting together and celebrating the birth of my son."

On the same day Johnson disappeared, another American, Kenneth Scroggs, was killed in the Saudi capital of Riyadh. Scroggs was the third Westerner killed in attacks in Saudi Arabia in the past week.

A group calling itself the Al Falluja Squadron said on an al Qaeda-linked Web site Saturday that it had kidnapped one man and killed another. The U.S. Embassy identified the slain man as Scroggs.

The group posted what appeared to be Johnson's passport photo, driver's license, Lockheed Martin business card and another document.

Lockheed Martin spokesman Jeff Adams said the business card shown is Johnson's.

The group's statement said that "with God's help" it managed to "take hostage an American pig, of the Christian religion."

Describing Johnson as a specialist who works on AH-64 aircraft, the statement said, "He is one of four senior specialized engineers in their field in the Arabian Peninsula. It is no secret that these planes were used repeatedly by Americans and their Zionist allies to launch attacks and kill Muslims and scare them and make them homeless in Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq."

The group said its members have the "legal right to revenge their brothers and treat the hostage in the same way the Americans treated our brothers in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib based on the legal right to treat others as they treat you. Soon, God willing, we will release a video showing the hostage making personal statements and confessing on camera. We will also make our demands clear on that video."

Lockheed Martin placed front and center on its Web site the words, "Our thoughts and prayers are with Paul M. Johnson Jr. and his family."

An accompanying memo to employees from Vance Coffman, chairman and CEO, and Bob Stevens, president and COO, said, "One of our employees stationed in Saudi Arabia has been kidnapped. Paul M. Johnson Jr. is an Orlando-based field engineer who has been working in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, supporting the Apache program's Target Acquisition and Designation Sites/Pilot Night Vision System."

The statement said the company is "working closely with officials of the U.S. and Saudi governments -- as well as Paul's family -- to monitor the situation and assist in whatever way possible."

But on Sunday, Johnson's son complained, "This should not have happened. It could have been very preventable on Lockheed Martin's part."

Company spokesman Adams told CNN those employees who get overseas assignments "go into harm's way, and they do this as volunteers. ... The safety of our employees is paramount, and we make sure our personnel are provided with the latest intelligence and kept abreast of geopolitical situations."

Adams would not discuss safety precautions or say how many employees are in the country, citing security concerns.

An official at one company in Saudi Arabia with many expatriate employees, who wanted to remain anonymous, said there is growing concern because the tactics of the terrorists have changed from planting explosives to snatching hostages.

In a new advisory to Americans in the country after Saturday's killing, the State Department said the latest attacks "appear to have involved extensive planning and preparation and were likely preceded by extensive pre-attack surveillance."

It urged Americans to be aware of their surroundings, vary their schedules and routes of travel, and report suspicious vehicles or people to authorities.

Scroggs' death brings to three the number of Westerners killed in attacks in Saudi Arabia in the past week. A BBC cameraman was killed in a June 6 drive-by shooting, and Robert Jacobs, an American working for Vinnell/Arabia -- which has trained Saudi National Guard troops since 1975 -- was gunned down two days later at his Riyadh home.

A video posted on a jihadist Web site purports to show Jacobs' killing, although the victim's face is not visible. An unnamed U.S. official said Sunday the FBI is involved in Saudi Arabia in investigating the killings of Scroggs and Jacobs.

CNN's Caroline Faraj and Nic Roberston contributed to this report.


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