Computer Crime Research Center


Al Qaeda prepares a new attack on NY

Date: August 02, 2004
Source: Computer Crime Research Center
By: Timofey Saytarly

The United States government on Monday warned of terrorist attacks aimed at specific targets in New York City, Washington and Newark, which could include World Bank and International Monetary Fund buildings.

The preferred means of attack would be car or truck bombs, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge told reporters in Washington, adding that new intelligence indicated that al Qaeda terror network could attack the Citicorp building and the New York Stock Exchange in New York City, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund buildings in Washington and the Prudential building in Newark, New Jersey.

The figure, 25-year-old Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan, was arrested July 13. He was described by a Pakistani intelligence official as a computer engineer who had used and helped to operate a secret al-Qaida communications system where information was transferred via coded messages.

A senior U.S. official would not confirm or deny that Khan had been the al-Qaida figure whose capture led to the information. But the official said "documentary evidence" found after the capture had demonstrated in extraordinary detail that al-Qaida members had for years conducted extensive reconnaissance of the financial institutions cited in the warnings Sunday.

The documentary evidence, whose contents were reported urgently to Washington on Friday afternoon, immediately elevated the significance of other intelligence gathered in recent weeks that had already been regarded as highly troubling, senior U.S. intelligence officials said.

Ridge said the government's threat level for financial institutions would be raised to orange, or high alert, though the rest of the areas believed targets would remain under yellow, or elevated level.

The threat potential, he said, would remain through the November 2 Presidential elections.

Ridge revealed that the new intelligence indicates meticulous planning by al Qaeda and said explosives would be the likely mode of attack, as opposed to a chemical or biological attack or a radiological "dirty" bomb.

Ridge said that it would be up to officials of New York City to decide whether to move the threat alert to the highest level. The city has remained under Orange, since September 11, 2001.

Ridge said that the government took the unprecedented step of naming specific buildings because of the level of specificity of the intelligence. "This," he said "is not the usual 'chatter.' This is multiple sources that involve extraordinary detail."

He said that the government decided to notify the public because of the specificity of detail it had obtained.

Protecting these buildings, Ridge acknowledged, would require additional security measures because they are located in heavily populated areas and thousands of cars and trucks travel through these cities daily. "Car and truck bombs," Ridge noted, "are one of the most difficult tasks we have in the war on terror."

Local and State officials were notified earlier in the day and Ridge said that new security proceedings are being implemented.

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