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"U.S. Struggles to Grasp Scope of Threat" "Ridge Defends New Terror Threat [View All]

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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-04-04 12:25 PM
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"U.S. Struggles to Grasp Scope of Threat" "Ridge Defends New Terror Threat
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WASHINGTON (AP) - The government is no closer to understanding some important details about possible terror plots against American financial institutions, intelligence and law enforcement officials acknowledge.

Investigators are poring over the trove of documents and photographs that led to this week's urgent warnings from the Homeland Security Department. But intelligence agencies have been unable to reach a consensus on whether the unusually detailed documents recovered in Pakistan reflect a defunct terror plot or one that might have been successfully interrupted.

"We have very little information - target information, but not the full breadth of the plot or possible plot," one law enforcement official said Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity because parts of the investigation are classified.

Some of the information seized about the surveillance of five financial buildings in New York, Washington and Newark, N.J., was as much as four years old. But the Bush administration maintains it was essential to alert the public as soon as it was found because al-Qaida planning sometimes precedes actual attacks by as much as five years.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge on Tuesday defended the decision to tighten security in New York and Washington even though the intelligence behind the latest terror warnings was as much as four years old.

Law enforcement officials were trying to determine whether the plot was current, with terrorists still trying to organize such an attack - in an investigation made more urgent by revelations linking the suspect behind the intelligence with the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in east Africa.

In those devastating truck bombings, al-Qaida operatives had begun casing targets in Kenya almost five years in advance.

The warnings that terrorists might be plotting attacks on specific buildings in New York, Washington and Newark, N.J., have prompted authorities to elevate the terror alert level for the financial sector in those cities to orange, or high. Streets have been closed, with barricades erected and heavily armed police guarding potential targets.
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