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"Al Qaeda May Have Operatives in US, Planning Attack"
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
Al Qaeda May Have Operatives in US, Planning Attack
The American Broadcasting Company, ABC News
The government is continuing to monitor indications that al Qaeda may
have operatives already in the United States planning an attack for
sometime this summer, officials say. However, there are currently no
plans to raise the terror-threat level to high.
ABC News reported last month that the government was receiving such
information. The intelligence, which has contained no specifics, comes
from suspected al Qaeda members overseas.
"Nothing is specific in this intelligence," a senior Justice Department
official said today.
FBI Director Robert Mueller was expected to hold a news conference
Wednesday to express continuing concern about being prepared for
possible terror threats this summer.
Heightened Security Concerns for Major Events
There are several major events coming up this summer, beginning this
Memorial Day holiday weekend with the World War II memorial dedication
in Washington. Other major events include the Fourth of July, the
Democratic and Republican conventions, and Labor Day.
Mueller is expected to highlight this period of concern. Officials want
to make sure state and local law enforcement agencies are well-informed
and that all precautions are observed.
The national terror-threat level is currently at yellow, or "elevated."
There are no plans right now to raise the level to orange, or "high."
On April 18, ABC News reported that the government had received
intelligence from known Muslim extremists that suggested an attack,
possibly in the United States, was imminent and that operatives were
already in place.
On Friday, April 9, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security held a
rare secure conference call with police in dozens of major cities. By
the next day, a classified bulletin had been sent out, warning that
groups affiliated with al Qaeda might be planning attacks in the United
States on the scale seen in Madrid, Spain, where the March 11 train
bombings killed nearly 200 people.
Officials say the primary area of concern remains so-called soft
targets. Police were told last month to be on the lookout for signs that
anyone was conducting surveillance of landmarks, and for suspicious
items left in malls, subway stations or other large gatherings.
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