FBI Narrows Search For Rudolph

Hundreds of FBI agents have swarmed around an area in the hills of western North Carolina, hoping to find Eric Rudolph, a fugitive who is suspected in the fatal bombing of a Birmingham, Ala., abortion clinic and in other bombings.

The blast in Birmingham killed an off-duty policeman and maimed a nurse.

Agents have blocked off a 30-square-mile area where they believe Rudolph has been hiding for months, CBS News Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports.
Rudolph has the advantage - the survivalist knows the Appalachian woods of his hometown well, and dense brush gives him plenty of cover.

He came out of hiding last Thursday, authorities said, stealing a pickup truck near Nantahala Lake, and six months' worth of food from a home belonging to an acquaintance.

Sources told CBS News that bomb-sniffing dogs picked up the scent of explosive materials all over the old pickup truck, which Rudolph later abandoned. He is said to be carrying a rifle and at least 10 sticks of dynamite.

Rudolph, 31, is being sought by the FBI in the 1996 Olympic bombing that killed one person and wounded more than 100 others, and 1997 bombings at an Atlanta abortion clinic and a gay nightclub.

Officials said they had received several phone calls from people who said they had seen Rudolph and were following some possible leads. However, some Andrews residents have expressed sympathy for Rudolph, and said they back his cause.

Agents also have learned Rudolph made inquiries specifically about their command post and where they stay. They considered this to be a potential threat that prompted agents to tighten security around their own compounds and the search zone.

The FBI's Hostage Rescue Team and the ATF's Special Tactics Team both have been moved to the area along with dozens more agents, making it one of the largest deployments of federal firepower in recent memory.

The intensified search was prompted when Rudolph came down from the hills early last week. Federal agents have discovered a lair in the woods, where he spent several days watching a health food store owned by a man known by Rudolph to be sympathetic to a far-right Christian Identity compound located nearby.

Rudolph, thinner now and with a beard, took the man's truck and food supplies and, in a brief discussion, asked about law enforcement strategy. He vowed he would never be taken.

Federal agents believe Rudolph has not been helped by any organized group. They do not think he is hiding out with any friends.

They are convinced now more than ever that he is acting alone and came down from the mountains only to gather more food and, they fear, to collect his bomb-making materials. One senior official said the only conclusion to draw is that he may be hunting agents as much as they are hunting him.

Reported by Sharyl Attkisson