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Terror Alerts Based On Old Info


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Terror Alert 'Essential,' Ridge Asserts

 

1 minute ago

 

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By KATHERINE PFLEGER SHRADER, Associated Press Writer

 

WASHINGTON - Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said Tuesday the government concluded "it was essential" to publicize detailed surveillance documents and raise the terror alert, even though the intelligence information dated from as far back as 2000 and 2001.

 

Speaking at a news conference in New York, Ridge said that because of the heightened security steps, "We have made it much more difficult for the terrorists to achieve their broad objectives."

 

Yet investigators said they are still trying to determine whether the individuals who amassed the information, principally on financial institutions in New York, Newark and Washington, are still in the country or plotting, or whether the plot was old.

 

A senior Justice Department (news - web sites) official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said federal government investigators are operating under the assumption that the plot was ongoing.

 

But a senior U.S. law enforcement official said officials were still trying to determine if that was the case or whether the plot had already expired. The law enforcement official, also speaking on condition of anonymity because the investigation continues, said the surveillance information seized in Pakistan consisted of information about possible targets, but not the full outline of any plot.

 

Many of the paper documents showing the surveillance on the U.S. buildings were undated, meaning investigators are having to work backwards to try to match particular descriptions of security with known details of security at the buildings at certain points in time ? to determine when the documents were created, the senior law enforcement official said.

 

The federal government has said there was surveillance on the Citigroup Center building and the New York Stock Exchange (news - web sites) in New York, the International Monetary Fund (news - web sites) and World Bank (news - web sites) buildings in Washington and Prudential Financial Inc.'s headquarters in Newark, N.J.

 

Ridge said there was no indication that terrorists had infiltrated the financial institutions themselves in order to obtain information about them. That view was echoed Tuesday by a World Bank spokesman, Damian Milverton.

 

"There is no suggestion that al-Qaida penetrated the building here at all," Milverton said.

 

But the senior Justice official said there are indications that the surveillance was detailed enough that people who work in the buildings might have knowingly or unknowingly assisted ? perhaps by inadvertently giving out information.

 

Top Bush administration officials said some of the surveillance was apparently updated as recently as January of this year. And they denied any allegations that the public release of the information now, and the raising of the terror alert, were politically motivated. They said the information was released now because it was just uncovered in Pakistan.

 

"We don't do politics in the Department of Homeland Security," Ridge said. "Our job is to identify the threat."

 

The surveillance actions taken by the plotters were "originally done between 2000 and 2001, but were updated ? some were updated ? as recently as January of this year," Fran Townsend, the White House homeland security adviser, said Tuesday on NBC's "Today" show.

 

She gave no details but said that what is known of al-Qaida's method, "they do them (surveillance) years in advance and then update them before they actually launch the attack," she said.

 

But some Democrats have raised concerns that the timing of the release of the information had more to do with politics than with fears that terrorists were about to strike.

 

U.S. officials have said that the trove of hundreds of photos, sketches and written documents that led to Sunday's warning about new risks of terror attacks came largely from a Pakistani computer engineer, Mohammad Naeem Noor Khan, also known as Abu Talha, who was captured in mid-July in Pakistan.

 

Pakistani authorities said Tuesday they have arrested two high-ranking al-Qaida terrorists ? one with a multimillion-dollar U.S. bounty on his head ? in a days-long sweep that has netted at least six suspected militants. Many of those captured are believed connected to Khan, the computer expert whose arrest led to the treasure trove of U.S. surveillance information.

_____

 

Associated Press writer Ted Bridis contributed to this report.

 

Heard this on way home after a short trip to blockbuster on the radio.

 

One of the guys speaking on the radio on 940 (no clue since I never listen to news radio) said that this might be an attempt to gain poltical support on the behalf of the Bush adminstration with releasing the information now.

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It is possible. If we get hit they can always say: "See! We told you!". It doesn't hurt to stay alert however. I never pay attention to those thread alerts. I am always vigilant. Terrorists attack whenever you least expect it. They don't give warnings.

 

The job of intelligence officials and the government is to ensure that their operations are strictly low key and confidential. I really see no point on scaring people when you don't even know what the terrorists are going to do. Best is to tell everybody to watch suspicious activity... ALWAYS, not just when they raise the "terror alert level".

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Although I will admit that it is possible that terror alerts are linked to political motivations, I just wanted to say that it disgusts me to see how the same people who criticize the administration for not "acting in time" on alleged Sept. 11 info. now criticize the administration for warning the citizenry against further terrorist attacks.

 

 

brilliant, just brilliant....

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Although I will admit that it is possible that terror alerts are linked to political motivations, I just wanted to say that it disgusts me to see how the same people who criticize the administration for not "acting in time" on alleged Sept. 11 info. now criticize the administration for warning the citizenry against further terrorist attacks.

 

 

brilliant, just brilliant....

491676[/snapback]

 

No hun, we are not criticizing them for doing their job. I hope this time they are doing it.

 

We are simply "pondering" why is it necessary to scare the hell out of people when they don't even tell us when or how.

 

I honestly think that the alert system is just not effective and it doesn't do anything. People should ALWAYS be vigilant no matter what. As an example, if you run an aviation academy and in comes a dude wanting to learn how to fly a plane without learning how to land it; you should report it. If you see some dude going in without being checked at the airport and you deem him suspicious; you should report it. If you see an unclaimed bag lying around and no one is attending to it; run like hell and report it.

 

In other words, one should ALWAYS be vigilant of suspicious activity and not let the guard down at any time. I don't need a ridiculous alert telling me terrorists want to harm us, because I ALREADY KNOW THAT.

 

Just continue living your life, don't let terrorists terrorize you. That is their whole purpose. Go about your business as usual, but never never again ignore something that could potentially save your life and the lives of others.

 

Take it from someone who has lived in a country where imminent threats take real meaning.

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The point the guy on the radio was saying why would they tell us this information now when its 2-4 years old.

 

Whats the point now. Thats why people are claiming its for political gain.

491820[/snapback]

 

Yes, it seems kind of odd. I wouldn't dismiss it anyway. Even if I think this "terror alert" is hyped to no end. Terrorist do want to hurt us and you know that now more than ever because of Iraq.

 

If they hit us again, Bush better hide. If they don't kill him, the anger of the people will.

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The point the guy on the radio was saying why would they tell us this information now when its 2-4 years old.

 

Whats the point now. Thats why people are claiming its for political gain.

491820[/snapback]

 

Yes, it seems kind of odd. I wouldn't dismiss it anyway. Even if I think this "terror alert" is hyped to no end. Terrorist do want to hurt us and you know that now more than ever because of Iraq.

 

If they hit us again, Bush better hide. If they don't kill him, the anger of the people will.

491821[/snapback]

 

Yeah either way I dont live in any of those cities.

 

But like you mentioned earlier I'm always on alert when I'm in public for any suspecious activity.

 

Just this summer their was a bag left in the airport by it self and my grandfather reported to one of the Security people. Of course it was some lady who thought it would be wise to drop off the bag in front of the line so she didnt have to carry it around.

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Just this summer their was a bag left in the airport by it self and my grandfather reported to one of the Security people. Of course it was some lady who thought it would be wise to drop off the bag in front of the line so she didnt have to carry it around.

491866[/snapback]

 

Good for your grandfather! That is what we are supposed to do... By the way who the hell do you call when you see an unattended bag in the airport? I saw one and was scrapping around to find who to report it to.

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Just this summer their was a bag left in the airport by it self and my grandfather reported to one of the Security people. Of course it was some lady who thought it would be wise to drop off the bag in front of the line so she didnt have to carry it around.

491866[/snapback]

 

Good for your grandfather! That is what we are supposed to do... By the way who the hell do you call when you see an unattended bag in the airport? I saw one and was scrapping around to find who to report it to.

491924[/snapback]

 

I think you can report it to anyone who works in the airport and they will call the right people.

 

At least thats how I hope it works.

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I think you can report it to anyone who works in the airport and they will call the right people.

 

At least thats how I hope it works.

492075[/snapback]

 

that is what I was trying to do but I couldn't find anyone around. This was in the baggage claim section of American Airlines and there is a hall that is not as transitted. This bag was there for nearly 15 minutes and I was scrambling around to find a poster or sign or somebody... Nothing. Thankfully the owner of the bag came for it, but I told him to never leave his luggage unattended. I told him that I was going to call security.

 

:plain Lucky this time wasn't a bomb.

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