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U.S. Officials Concerned About Summer Security

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posted on May, 25 2004 @ 04:41 PM
This came out today from FoxNews. Do you think there is any truth to it?

Counterterrorism and law enforcement officials told Fox News Tuesday that they are extremely concerned that terrorist groups like Al Qaeda may be planning an attack during one of the major events scheduled for this summer.

The comments came after a think tank study revealed that despite the elimination of several key figures, Al Qaeda still has a functioning leadership, over 18,000 potential terrorists in its global network and a swelling membership thanks to the war in Iraq.

"There is significant concern," one counterterrorism official told Fox News, but said that at this time the threat level is not going to be raised.

However, there are some "high value targets" officials said they are concerned about, including the dedication of the World War II memorial planned for May 29 in Washington, D.C., the Olympics and the presidential conventions.

Counterterrorism officials said the concern is based on recent "source work" including intercepted communications, and the FBI will be working with law enforcement partners and the Joint Terrorism Task Forces to assess information that is coming in.

"We will be reviewing every lead we've had for the past year to see if taken in today's light it means something different," one counterterrorism official said.

The study, released by the International Institute of Strategic Studies (search), says Al Qaeda poses a growing threat to Western interests and attacks are likely to increase.

The Strategic Survey 2003-4 says the United States remains the prime target of the group, which is operating in an estimated 60-plus nations around the world. An Al Qaeda leader has said 4 million Americans will have to be killed "as a prerequisite to any Islamic victory."

"Al Qaeda must be expected to keep trying to develop more promising plans for terrorist operations in North America and Europe, potentially involving weapons of mass destruction," institute director John Chipman (search) told a news conference to launch the annual survey.

At the same time, it will continue carrying out attacks on "soft targets encompassing Americans, Europeans and Israelis and aiding the insurgency in Iraq," he added.

Monday the Search for International Terrorist Entities Institute (search) released translated portions of Al Qaeda's Al-Battar manual's kidnapping instructions on its Web site.

SITE Institute lists in detail the instructions operatives are given for different types of kidnappings, the different stages to go through during an abduction and how to deal with a hostage in a kidnapping situation.

The Strategic Survey's estimate of 18,000 Al Qaeda fighters was based on intelligence estimates that the organization trained at least 20,000 fighters in its training camps in Afghanistan before the United States and its allies ousted the Taliban regime.

In the ensuing war on terror, some 2,000 Al Qaeda fighters have been killed or captured, the survey said.

Iraq has become the new magnet of Al Qaeda's war against the United States and up to 1,000 foreign Islamic fighters have infiltrated Iraqi territory, where they are cooperating with Iraqi forces, the survey said.

Al Qaeda appears to have successfully reconstituted its operations in dispersed groups and through local allies since being driven out of Afghanistan, the survey said.

"The Madrid bombings in March 2004 suggested that Al Qaeda had fully reconstituted, set its sights firmly on the U.S. and its closest Western allies in Europe, and established a new and effective modus operandi," the survey said.

The U.S.-led war in Iraq has increased the risk to Western interests in Arab countries, the survey said.

The West and its allies must continue to mount a major offensive against Al Qaeda and progress will be incremental, the report said.

Any security offensive against Al Qaeda must be accompanied with political developments, such as the democratization of Iraq and the resolution of conflict in Israel, it said.

Progress against Al Qaeda "is likely to accelerate only with currently elusive political developments that would broadly depress recruitment and motivation," the report said.

Fox News' Anna Stolley and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

posted on May, 25 2004 @ 05:00 PM

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