Tuesday, August 03, 2004

September Surprise? 

Via Zemblan patriots J.M. and J.D.: What can we do but pass it along? The well-connected Knut Royce of Newsday is reporting that the next big al-Qaeda attack may be scheduled to coincide with the President's acceptance speech:
More financial institutions than previously disclosed may be at risk of attack, and an al-Qaida operative has told British intelligence that the group's target date is early September, intelligence sources said yesterday.

The operative, described as "credible" by British intelligence, told his debriefers that the attack would take place "60 days before the presidential election" on Nov. 2, according to a former senior National Security Council official. On Sept. 2 President George W. Bush is expected to address the Republican National Convention at Madison Square Garden.

Counterterrorism officials are analyzing data from a computer seized in Pakistan last month to see if financial institutions in addition to the five disclosed Sunday are at risk of attack, U.S. officials said yesterday.

The former senior National Security Council official said he was told by British intelligence that they are interrogating an al-Qaida operative who confirmed that financial institutions are being targeted and that an attack was planned for September.

And a U.S. official familiar with the ongoing analysis of the computer said, "There are references to other things " in the al-Qaida computer's data, including a picture of the Bank of America building in San Francisco. "There is mention of other places."

The laptop computer was seized on July 25 following the arrest after a 12-hour gun battle of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, who is wanted for his alleged role in the 1998 bombing of two U.S. embassies in Africa.

Pakistan's information minister confirmed to The Associated Press yesterday that e-mail data retrieved from Ghailani's computer indicated planned attacks in both the United States and Britain. A British official said that the threat to the U.K. was not specific.

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