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(MSNBC)-U.S. military and counterterrorism officials have told NBC News that a recent U.S. raid on an al-Qaida safehouse in Iraq uncovered unspecific plans to conduct terrorist attacks outside Iraq — including the United States.
Officials, however, told NBC that the plans were "pretty much generic," a "wish list" and something that "frankly, we've seen ... before."
The information revealed the desire of al-Qaida to conduct terrorist attacks in the U.S. and stated that al-Qaida operatives could conceivably use student visas to infiltrate the United States. Pentagon officials told NBC that Homeland Security and counterterrorism officials have been aware of that potential al-Qaida tactic for some time, emphasizing a continuing need to strengthen visa controls.
All the officials contacted by NBC News said that none of the documents contained any specific threats, targets, plans or timetables — but according to one official, they did demonstrate al-Qaida's "intent" to attack the United States.
One official said that, "given the current political climate [in Iraq], if this were something imminent or new, the administration would have been raising terror threat levels and pushing this information out to the media."