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Nearly six years before the Sept. 11 attacks, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman was told by his senior staff that the FBI and other government agencies had missed warning signs about the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and were ill-prepared to prevent future domestic terrorist attacks, memos show. Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Republican-Utah, whose committee oversees federal law enforcement, approved holding investigative hearings about the information, but they never took place, the memos show. "The sharing of intelligence is lacking among federal law enforcement agencies," the December 1995 memo to Hatch stated, citing intelligence failures eerily similar to those exposed after the Sept. 11, 2001, suicide hijackings by al-Qaida terrorists. The memo, obtained by The Associated Press, also told Hatch that committee investigators had uncovered evidence that federal law enforcement had prior hints about the 1993 World Trade Center terrorist attack in New York City but failed to piece them together. "We have information that some instances, like the World Trade Center, could have been prevented if the relevant agencies had worked in concert with each other," the investigators wrote. "Simply stated, several different agencies had a small piece of the puzzle. "If they had shared with each other, there is at least a strong possibility that they would have identified the World Trade Center as a target before the bombing." The memo described the need for a congressional investigation as "appropriate and imperative." Hatch approved the plan for hearings recommended by his chief investigator and senior investigative counsel, signing the memo "OK" and initialing it with his trademark "O". The memo's plan for hearings never materialized. Senators and Senate Judiciary Committee aides in both parties said Thursday they were unaware of the 1995 memo's information and said it shows that Congress, which heaped criticism on the executive branch over the Sept. 11 failures, must share in the blame. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said the memo's contents mirrored the problems unearthed by House and Senate intelligence committee investigators who reviewed the Sept. 11 attacks. "There were egregious errors, in hindsight," Roberts said. Asked if those errors included Congress' failure to provide oversight and follow information like that in the 1995 memo, Roberts added: "Big time in Congress." A former Republican investigator on Hatch's committee, who worked on the investigation that prompted the 1995 memo, accused the chairman of "frustrating our attempts to oversee the FBI." Kris Kolesnik, who worked on the committee for Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said Hatch preferred not to air the FBI's problems in public. "His solution to problems within the FBI is to send more money, create more bureaucracy and give them more authority to trample our civil liberties," he said. "That is not oversight. That is a knee-jerk reaction that has never worked." The FBI said most of the concerns cited in the 1995 memo have been addressed since Sept. 11 with the creation of 66 counterterrorism task forces, new computer systems, an improved language interpreters program, improved intelligence analysis, and improved sharing of threat information between federal and local police. The public airing of confidential memos between senior Senate staff and a committee chairman is rare. Congress is exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, and political decorum on Capitol Hill often keeps internal disagreements from becoming public. But the 1995 and 1996 memos emerge as Hatch has endured recent criticisms from some colleagues for declining to investigate the FBI's handling of Chinese intelligence assets in the aftermath of California case in which a former FBI agent was charged with allowing his lover to pass secrets along to China.

On April 25, 2003, the Transportation Department issued its first racial bias complaint ever against an airline, saying that 10 people were removed from American Airline flights or denied boarding because they were perceived to be Middle Eastern, Southeast Asian or Muslim. Most of the incidents cited in the administrative complaint happened to U.S. citizens and occurred within three months of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, the department said. American said it would fight the charges and denied that passengers were discriminated against by its crew or the crew of American Eagle, its commuter arm. The case will be heard by an administrative law judge. "All of the airlines, as well as the nation, were under heightened security during this time and American (and American Eagle) employees were following the directives of the president and the attorney general to be vigilant in the face of terrorist threats," the airline said in a statement. It said that vigilance prevented Richard Reid from igniting a shoe bomb on an American flight in December 2001. Transportation officials said some of the passengers who complained were rebooked on American or another airline without any additional screening, though they'd been removed from their American flight as security risks. Hussein Ibish, spokesman for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, said he was very pleased the complaint was filed. The committee filed discrimination lawsuits against three airlines last spring. "This is excellent," he said. "Yes, we had these incidents, but the government is responding in the way we would hope it would." Among those not allowed to fly were Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and a Secret Service agent on President Bush's security detail, Ibish said.

The Justice Department inspector general is examining the FBI lab unit that analyzes DNA in hundreds of cases a year after a technician was caught failing to follow proper procedure. The inspector general, an independent watchdog, is trying to identify any vulnerabilities in the lab after an FBI technician went undetected for two years as she failed to follow required procedure in analyzing DNA evidence, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity. The investigation, coupled with recent revelations of DNA irregularities in a few local crime labs that work with the FBI, could affect Attorney General John Ashcroft's project to create a national DNA database to help law enforcers identify crime suspects through their genetic fingerprints. "All of us are depending on DNA as a gold standard in forensics work — innocence projects, prosecutors and defense lawyers. And now we don't have a gold standard. The gold has been tarnished," said Frederic Whitehurst, a lawyer and former FBI lab employee whose whistle-blower allegations led to major changes in the lab in the mid-1990s. FBI lab technician Jacquelyn Blake quit while under investigation for failing to follow required scientific procedures while analyzing 103 DNA samples over the past couple of years, and a second lab employee was indicted for allegedly providing false testimony. The investigation is the broadest inspector general's review of the FBI lab since one concluded in 1997 that scientists in the lab's explosive units engaged in bad science and gave inaccurate testimony. Those findings led to an overhaul of the world-renowned forensics facility. FBI officials also are facing questions about how to protect the bureau's national DNA database from a growing number of problems at local police crime labs. The police lab in Houston is under grand jury investigation for its DNA work. A police lab in Fort Worth, Texas, is facing a criminal inquiry after revelations that a senior forensic analyst ignored proper DNA procedures. Florida is grappling with a state crime lab worker in Orlando who falsified DNA data.

Brazilian police said they were investigating the death, apparently by anthrax poisoning, of an Egyptian sailor aboard a Canada-bound ship that may be linked to some act of terrorism. The sailor, identified as Egyptian-born Ibrahim Saed Ibrahim, died on April 11, 2003, when his Egyptian-flagged ship was about to leave the port of Trombetas transporting bauxite to Quebec. Brazilian health authorities warned their Canadian counterparts, and the ship was quarantined late Thursday off the Atlantic port of Halifax. The ship captain told police that, according to other crew members, Ibrahim brought with him luggage he was going to deliver to somebody in Canada. Ibrahim however opened the luggage, and -- according to this account -- went into convulsions and died the next day. Ibrahim's body is at a hospital in Belem, northern Brazil, where preliminary results show anthrax poisoning as a possible cause of death. Duarte has asked for further investigation to confirm the cause of death. Samples have been sent to a Rio de Janeiro lab for analysis, and results will be delivered by May 2, he said. The suspicious bag however stayed aboard the ship. "He was the victim of anthrax," said Fernando Sergio Castro, adding that police were 90 percent certain of the cause of Ibrahim's death. "We imagine that this is about bioterrorism and Brazil was just used as a point of transfer," said Castro. Brazil's Castro said Ibrahim had been given the suitcase in Cairo by an unidentified person and was due to deliver it to somebody in Canada. But he doubted Ibrahim knew what the bag contained, otherwise he most likely would not have opened it. "He opened it because he was curious," Castro said.

The FBI has notified Minneapolis FBI agent Jane Turner, who accused colleagues of stealing a Tiffany crystal globe from the World Trade Center ruins, that it intends to fire her for poor performance. The FBI told Turner in an April 14 letter that she would be fired because her performance "does not meet expectations." Last year, on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, Turner told the Justice Department's inspector general's office that she discovered the Tiffany globe on a secretary's desk. Ironically, Turner was investigating civilian theft at ground zero when she found the globe. Last year, another FBI whistle-blower in the Minneapolis office, Coleen Rowley, alleged that FBI headquarters ignored her office's pleas to investigate Zacarias Moussaoui aggressively before the 2001 terrorist attacks. Moussaoui has since been charged with conspiracy in the Sept. 11 attacks.

Ten days before Timothy McVeigh was executed, lawyers for FBI lab employees sent an urgent letter to the attention of Attorney General John Ashcroft alleging that a key prosecution witness in the Oklahoma City bombing trial might have given false testimony about forensic evidence. The allegations involving Steven Burmeister, now the FBI lab's chief of scientific analysis, were never turned over to McVeigh or the trial court, though they surfaced as the judge was considering whether to delay his execution because the government withheld evidence. The letter cited Burmeister's testimony in a civil case as evidence contradicting his earlier McVeigh testimony. The letter specifically challenged Burmeister's testimony that chemical residues found on evidence came only from McVeigh's bomb, not other sources such as lab contamination. It was sent to Ashcroft's general fax number and by courier with the notation "URGENT MATTER FOR THE IMMEDIATE ATTENTION OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL." Neither Ashcroft nor other top officials in the Justice Department who handled the McVeigh case saw the letter, spokeswoman Barbara Comstock said. It was never reviewed to determine if it should be handed over to McVeigh's lawyers, officials said. Prosecutors are obligated by law to disclose any potentially exculpatory evidence to the defense. McVeigh's lawyers expressed dismay that they weren't told of the letter. At the time it was sent, a judge had dramatically delayed McVeigh's execution by one month because of other evidence the FBI failed to turn over during his trial. "It is truly shocking and just the latest revelation of government conduct that bankrupts the prosecution, investigation and verdict," said Stephen Jones, McVeigh's lead trial attorney. Rob Nigh, an Oklahoma attorney who represented McVeigh from trial through his final appeal, added: "Had we had this letter, we would have had additional arguments to make to Judge (Richard) Matsch why the execution should be stayed." Comstock said the Justice Department does not believe the allegations would have affected the outcome. "Court after court has found that the evidence of guilt against McVeigh was overwhelming," she said. Burmeister rose to prominence in the case after he made a surprise discovery of ammonium nitrate crystals embedded in a single piece of the Ryder truck McVeigh used to detonate his deadly explosive that killed more than 160 people at the Alfred P. Murrah building on April 19, 1995. Burmeister's discovery was key to the government's proof that McVeigh and Nichols had used a giant fertilizer bomb to carry out their attack. Ammonium nitrate is a key ingredient in such a bomb. McVeigh's defense lawyers attacked the evidence, suggesting the ammonium nitrate, which dissolves in moisture, could not have survived the rain that fell on the Murrah site shortly after the bombing and that it might have come from contamination inside the lab. At the time of the 1997 trial, the FBI lab had been stung by allegations of shoddy science and some forensic evidence was kept out of the McVeigh trial because of contamination issues.

About 1,000 miles of national forest land bordering Canada and Mexico go virtually unpatrolled by the U.S. Forest Service, creating wide swaths for terrorists and criminals to enter the country undetected, an internal government audit says.

Pakistani authorities have captured a man accused of playing a leading role in the Sept. 11 attacks and the bombing of an American warship in Yemen. Waleed bin Attash, also known as Tawfiq Attash or just Khallad, coordinated the activities of at least two of the hijackers who crashed into the Pentagon during the Sept. 11 attacks, U.S. counterterrorism officials said. He is also one of two figures described as masterminds of the bombing of the U.S. Navy destroyer Cole on Oct. 12, 2000. Pakistani authorities also recovered 330 pounds of explosives and a large quantity of weapons, according to a statement from Cheema's National Crisis Management Cell, which oversees Pakistan's anti-terrorist activities.

The United States has decided to end 13 years of military presence in Saudi Arabia, a key demand of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and hardline Islamic groups across the Middle East. But US and Saudi officials were quick to say the pullout, announced April 29, 2003, was not due to disputes or demands by bin Laden and even some Saudi opposition figures, who have called for foreign troops to leave the kingdom, the cradle of Islam.

The U.S. government will open the new Terrorist Threat Integration Center on May 1, 2003. The CIA and FBI were criticized after the 2001 attacks for missing clues and not adequately sharing or acting on information that if pursued may have led to exposing the plot. President Bush announced in January the creation of the Terrorist Threat Integration Center "to merge and analyze all threat information in a single location" in his annual State of the Union address. Representatives from the CIA and FBI and the departments of State, Defense and Homeland Security will be part of the new center to pull together, analyze and disseminate information from domestic and foreign sources. The center will immediately take over responsibility for the daily "threat matrix" that had been produced jointly by the CIA and FBI to detail the latest threats for senior officials. It will also provide the analytical basis for changing the nation's color-coded threat level if the secretary of Homeland Security makes that decision. Some critics expressed concern the center would create another unnecessary layer in an already heavy intelligence bureaucracy.

The government's ability to spot terror suspects before they enter the United States is severely hindered by poor communication among the agencies that compile information on suspects, congressional auditors say. The General Accounting Office report on April 30, 2003, said nine federal agencies are maintaining 12 separate "watch lists" that include information on known or suspected terrorists and criminals. The lists are used at border crossings as well as by agencies that grant visas. The agencies — three are now part of the new Department of Homeland Security — have different policies on sharing their data. Two agencies had no policies at all, the report said. The agencies use different computer programs to store the data, making it difficult to transfer information from one agency to another. Even when sharing occurs, agencies must sometimes overcome complex rules and other costly barriers, the report said. The information on the lists also varies greatly. For example, all 12 lists contain the names and birth dates of suspects, but only nine contain criminal histories. Eight lists contain biometric data such as fingerprints, and three contain immigration data. The report recommends that the Department of Homeland Security consolidate the lists and increase the amount of data shared among agencies and with state and local law enforcement.

Operators of the nation's nuclear power plants should remain vigilant about suspicious activity that could signal a potential terrorist attack, the FBI says in its latest terrorism bulletin. Things to watch out for include people who are seen photographing the plants or aircraft that fly too close to them, says the bulletin circulated on April 30, 2003, to about 18,000 state and local law enforcement agencies. The FBI's message follows the release of new Nuclear Regulatory Commission security rules requiring more training for guards, placing limits on how many hours they can work and mandating additional, classified protective measures to defend against sabotage or terrorist attacks. The FBI bulletin spells out the actions nuclear plant officials should take if they see suspicious activity around a plant, such as reporting to the Federal Aviation Administration the tail number of any plane spotted flying too close.

Banks will be required to verify the identities of new customers and maintain [and share] those records [with the government] under government regulations that take effect Oct. 1, 2003. The regulations issued by the Treasury Department are in response to the 2001 terrorist attacks. Banks, credit unions and other companies will have to collect identifying information including name, address, date of birth and a taxpayer identification number — in most cases a Social Security number — and to document procedures used to verify the data. Also, they must check whether the customer appears on any list of suspected terrorists.

Coordinator for Counterterrorism Cofer Black said on Apr. 30, 2003: "There were 199 international terrorist attacks during 2002. That represents a significant drop from the previous year -- 44 percent fewer attacks. In fact, it is the lowest level of terrorism in more than 30 years. The last time the annual total fell below 200 attacks was in 1969, shortly after the advent of modern terrorism. This is a remarkable achievement." full text Secretary Powell's remarks 2002 Global Terrorism Report

The United States on April 30, 2003, added 11 militant Islamist organizations to its lists of "terrorist groups," reflecting closer attention paid by U.S. policy-makers to the Muslim world in the war on terrorism. The new second tier list of 38 "other terrorist groups" issued by the State Department also included two new non-Islamic groups -- the Communist Party of Nepal and the New Red Brigades in Italy. The State Department removed one group from the second-tier list -- the Orange Volunteers, a pro-British group in Northern Ireland which appears to be dormant. Two groups were promoted to the list of "foreign terrorist organizations" during 2002 -- the communist New People's Army in the Philippines and Jemaah Islamiya in Indonesia, which has been linked to a bombing on the resort island of Bali.

The State Department on May 1, 2003, renewed a warning for U.S. citizens to avoid travel to Saudi Arabia. "Information indicates that terrorist groups may be in the final phases of planning attacks against U.S. interests in Saudi Arabia," the State Department said.

The government requested and won approval for the highest-ever number of special warrants last year for secret wiretaps and searches of suspected terrorists and spies, an increase of 31 percent over 2001, the Bush administration disclosed on May, 1, 2003. Attorney General John Ashcroft revealed the figure in a mandatory, two-paragraph report to U.S. court officials. Operating with permission from a secretive U.S. court that meets regularly at Justice headquarters, the FBI has used such warrants to break into homes, offices, hotel rooms and automobiles, install hidden cameras, search luggage and eavesdrop on telephone conversations. Agents also have pried into safe deposit boxes, watched from afar with video cameras and binoculars and intercepted e-mails.

Addressing a major concern of law enforcement, Cisco Systems has developed a way for police to listen in on Internet-based phone calls without detection. The San Jose-based company submitted a 37-page proposal on its surveillance service to the Internet Engineering Task Force on March 30. The standards organization is accepting comments for six months. Internet phones, which turn voice signals into data packets for transmission over digital networks, have been growing in popularity. Call quality has dramatically improved, and the price is often less than a traditional call.

ChevronTexaco Corp. said its first-quarter profit nearly tripled, lifted by a dramatic rise in oil prices that drove gasoline prices higher and rankled motorists.

President Bush [on April 30, 2003] announced that Gen. John Gordon, now the head of an anti-terrorism office at the National Security Council, would become the new White House homeland security adviser. He replaces Tom Ridge, who is secretary of the new department.

Pope John Paul II warned that globalization without ethical guidelines can give rise to religious fanaticism and terrorism. He said that a process that fails to contribute to resolving hunger, poverty and social inequality can lead to extreme reactions such as "excessive nationalism, religious fanaticism and even acts of terrorism."

U.S. authorities say they have uncovered an al-Qaida plot to crash an explosives-laden small aircraft into the American consulate in Karachi, Pakistan. That prompted the Homeland Security Department to warn about possible attacks in the United States. A department advisory said al-Qaida was in the late stages of planning an attack on the consulate using a small fixed-wing aircraft or helicopter. A U.S. law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a plot against the consulate was uncovered with the arrests earlier this week in Karachi of Waleed bin Attash and five other alleged al-Qaida members. About 300 pounds of explosives and a cache of weapons were seized. Homeland Security officials say there is no specific evidence about an attack using small aircraft in the United States. But the advisory says al-Qaida could try to use such planes because they are easily available and require less pilot skill than large jets. Security procedures also are less rigorous for small aircraft, there would be no need to attempt to control a large group of passengers and a credit card could be used to rent such a plane, the advisory said. It said, "Reliable information obtained last year indicated al-Qaida might use experienced, non-Arab pilots to rent three or four light aircraft under the guise of flying lessons." Pilots and airport officials and workers were urged to be extra alert for suspicious people and activity, aircraft with unusual modifications or people loading unusual cargo onto an aircraft. Vigilance should also be maintained in checking identification, verifying baggage and cargo and watching for "persons who appear to be under stress or under the control of other persons."

The nation's unemployment rate moved higher as U.S. employers cut jobs for a third consecutive month, suggesting the overall economy continues to struggle. The increase in the employment rate in April 2003 was larger than expected. The unemployment rate rose to 6% from 5.8% in March. But a more realistic non-political unemployment rate should be close to 15%.

The record-setting pace of new personal bankruptcies continued this year, with their number rising 7.4 percent in the 12 months ended March 31, according to data released on May 15, 2003.

Wage increases aren't keeping up with rising housing costs.

US forces have detained a top female scientist involved in Iraq biological warfare programs, Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash, a US-trained microbiologist dubbed "Mrs Anthrax." Born in Baghdad in 1953, she did graduate studies in microbiology in the United States, receiving a master's degree from the University of Texas College of Women in 1979, and a doctorate from the University of Missouri in 1983. She was a professor of microbiology at Baghdad University and dean of the College of Science.

US Admits It Can't Stop N Korea's Nuke Weapons Program

Those seeking an investigation of whether intelligence on Iraq weapons programs was inaccurate or manipulated to make the case for war say the issue goes beyond the failure to find weapons. Some of the administration's evidence of Iraqi weapons programs has proven false. Documents indicating Iraq imported uranium from Niger were forgeries. Aluminum tubes described as intended for nuclear weapons were likely meant for conventional artillery rockets. What's at issue, Sen. Levin said, is whether American intelligence can be trusted in the future as a basis for action against other adversaries, such as Iran and North Korea. "I've got to have confidence in that intelligence, and the American people have to have confidence and if we're going to lead the world in a war on terrorism," he said. Sen. McCain said he favors an investigation with public hearings. "The American people have the right to know," McCain said.
Bush Administration Now Doubts Saddam Had WMD
No Evidence Iraq Planned To Use WMD In War

Halliburton, the oil services giant once headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, has done business in Iran, Iraq and Libya for years despite US embargoes, according to documents released by a lawmaker.
Halliburton Has Links To 'Axis Of Evil' Countries

Alarmed by reports of widespread looting at Iraq main nuclear site, the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog has asked the United States to let it send a mission to the facility. The request by Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, was prompted by "a number of eyewitness and media accounts" of looting at the Tuwaitha nuclear research facility, said IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming. Accounts given by Iraqis who work at the Tuwaitha site indicate "the looting continues," said Fleming. An IAEA official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said ElBaradei had made the request despite assurances from U.S. officials that the site and its nuclear materials had been secured. Iraq has about 1,000 sites where radioactive materials are used in industry or medicine, but the Tuwaitha facility presents by far the greatest source of concern, Fleming said in a telephone interview. Besides concerns that material at the Tuwaitha site could be processed into nuclear warheads, experts also fear terrorists without the means of making such sophisticated arms could use it in so-called dirty bombs.

A senior Berlin diplomat was reported to have told Foreign Ministry colleagues that America was turning into a “police state”. Herr Chrobog is said to have given a blistering critique of the US-German relationship during the annual meeting of German ambassadors, complaining that America was “restricting more and more its civic liberties at home”.

Federal officials are finalizing plans to safeguard the nation's food supply in the event of a terrorist attack. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is planning to require certain food companies to keep detailed records about their products, and is also devising a system to detain foodstuffs considered a threat to public health.

It's highly unlikely that the United States will experience a crippling "digital Pearl Harbor," the CIO of homeland security says. "While this is a possibility, the probability is relatively low," Steven Cooper said. "We have done a lot in the federal arena to provide multilayered security for our digital environments and continually 'red team' our networks and applications to find vulnerabilities." The government spends millions of dollars on technology to safeguard IT, and Cooper said he isn't overly concerned about individuals who might compromise the government's IT infrastructure. "I would agree that it is always a risk," Cooper said. "However, all personnel working in the department, including contractors, must pass a security clearance and additional reviews and background checks, depending on level of clearance. While not perfect, we are comfortable we have an adequate level of precaution and review regarding our people."

One of the most senior leaders of Afghanistan’s ousted Taliban regime vowed on May 4, 2003, to continue a jihad, or holy war, against the United States and its Afghan allies. MULLAH Mohammad Hasan Rehmani, former governor of the province of Kandahar and a close associate of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, was speaking to Reuters by satellite telephone from an undisclosed location in his first interview since the fall of the Taliban in late 2001. “The Taliban will continue their jihad and struggle for peace, implementation of Islamic sharia law, and against America and its agents,” Rehmani said. “The jihad will continue because American troops are occupying Afghanistan.” Afghan officials say the Taliban appears to be regrouping this year and blame the hardline militia for a series of attacks on American and Afghan government troops in recent months. Afghan government officials say Rehmani fled to Pakistan with many other senior Taliban leaders after the movement was ousted, but he has kept a very low profile since then. Rehmani also denounced Afghan President Hamid Karzai as an American stooge and a puppet of the powerful Northern Alliance faction which played a leading role in the Taliban’s ouster. “Right now Hamid Karzai’s position is not that of a president but that of an American clerk and a toy in the hands of the Northern Alliance,” Rehmani said. “We invite Hamid Karzai to seek forgiveness for his sins from Allah, like a true Muslim, and by joining the Taliban movement prove that he is a Muslim,” he added. The Afghan government says many senior members of the Taliban are hiding in Pakistan and directing the resistance from there.

May 8, 2003 - Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Osama bin Laden, says it has uncovered a cell belonging to the al-Qaeda terror network which had planned to carry out major attacks in the kingdom aimed at disrupting internal security. Prince Nayef said the large quantities of seized weapons had been smuggled through the borders of the vast kingdom. "The most dangerous thing is the explosives. Its quantity is large and quality is high. This is very disturbing and indicates how dangerous these people are," he said. "The presence of such highly advanced explosives indicates that they had been planning to destroy buildings or big places." Prince Nayef said the men believed in "suicidal ideas, and not in money. They are young and have been brainwashed." Searches of the gunmen's hideout and their getaway car netted a huge cache of arms, including 55 hand grenades, 377 kilogrammes (829 pounds) of explosive, and 2,545 bullets of different calibres, as well as cash and disguises, the interior ministry said.

The Justice Department effort to interview some 7,600 foreigners in the United States after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks was conducted haphazardly, leading to incomplete, inconclusive results, congressional investigators say.

The Two Faces Of Donald Rumsfeld

North Korean negotiator Li Gun admitted during three-way talks with China and the United States in Beijing last month that Pyongyang possessed two nuclear bombs, a Japanese newspaper reported. "We already possess two nuclear bombs," Li was quoted by the Sankei Shimbun as telling US Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly on April 23, the first day of the three-day talks. "In order to construct further nuclear weapons, we have already begun nuclear fuel reprocessing to acquire the necessary plutonium," Li was quoted as saying. "Our country will use any means to show our nuclear weapons capability." The US officials interpreted "any means" to include transfering the bombs to third parties who would use them for terrorist ends, the paper said.

May 7, 2003 - The FBI issued a new alert saying that intelligence overseas has indicated that firefighters and EMS workers could become targets after an initial attack. Fire departments have been instructed to make sure to secure their firehouses and equipment, and to lock doors when going out to a call.

Federal officials permanently closed the airspace above Walt Disney Co. properties in Florida and California on the eve of the Iraq war to protect against terrorist attacks, according to a report. The 24-hour security zones put Disney on par with a select few other potential targets, including President George W. Bush ranch and nuclear submarine bases. According to published reports, Congress bent the rules to help Disney secure the no-fly zones without a request from any national security agency, according to the report. However, competitors are saying that Disney used terrorist fears to stop aerial-advertising planes and sightseeing planes and helicopters.

The FBI has developed a new theory on a central mystery of the 2001 anthrax attacks after finding evidence in a Frederick, Md., pond that may suggest how an ingenious criminal could have packed deadly anthrax spores into envelopes without killing or sickening himself, according to sources close to the investigation. A piece of equipment and other evidence recovered this winter from ice-covered ponds in Frederick Municipal Forest have reinvigorated the 18-month-old case, leading officials to explore a novel theory with shades of science fiction. Some involved in the case believe that the killer may have waded into shallow water to delicately manipulate anthrax bacteria into envelopes, working within a partly submerged airtight chamber. When finished, the killer could have easily hidden the evidence by simply dumping contaminated equipment and clothing into the pond. Publicly, the FBI has said nothing about material that divers recovered during the elaborate search missions in December and January, which involved cutting through thick ice atop about a dozen spring-fed ponds on the city-owned parkland. Debra Weierman, media coordinator for the FBI's Washington Field Office, which supervises the case, declined to comment on the findings or on any law enforcement theories about how the crimes might have been carried out. But sources close to the case said the discoveries were so compelling that the FBI now plans to drain one of the ponds in another search for sunken evidence. The FBI has notified the city of Frederick and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources that it will begin the operation by June 1, 2003 and expects to pump thousands of gallons of water from a single pond into the others and a nearby reservoir. Additional agents have been assigned to the case, code-named Amerithrax. Two sources familiar with the items recovered from the pond described a clear box, with holes that could accommodate gloves to protect the user as he worked. Also recovered were vials wrapped in plastic. Not everyone involved in the case subscribes to the theory. Some believe that the killer could have completed the task on land and simply dumped materials into the pond to avoid detection. These investigators contend that the water theory is the result of the FBI's interest in one subject, Steven J. Hatfill, a medical doctor and bioterrorism expert who formerly worked as a researcher at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Frederick. Attorney General John D. Ashcroft has described Hatfill as "a person of interest" in the investigation. Hatfill has a varied background in science and medicine that includes research for NASA and exploration in Antarctica. Hatfill, a former member of the Rhodesian special forces who received medical training in South Africa, lists a postgraduate diploma in diving and underwater medicine from a South African naval training institute. Hatfill's attorney, Thomas Connolly, called the water theory "far-fetched" and said Hatfill had nothing to do with the anthrax crimes. The evidence found in the pond has buoyed the FBI's hopes for resolution of the baffling case, which claimed five lives, sickened 13 other people and exposed thousands more to the lethal bacteria. The attacks involved a series of letters mailed in pre-stamped envelopes to media outlets in Florida and New York and to the offices of Sens. Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) and Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.). While en route, the letters passed through various post offices and postal distribution centers along the East Coast and left a trail of contamination. The five people who died from inhalation anthrax included two postal workers at the Brentwood postal facility in Washington, a Florida photojournalist, a New York hospital worker and a 94-year-old woman in Connecticut. Entering the water to manipulate virulent anthrax bacteria would provide some degree of natural protection from finely ground spores, which disperse in the air and can live for decades in the soil. But expert opinions vary on whether spores from contaminated equipment could later be found in a natural body of water. Several scientists suggested that the spores would likely disperse and be difficult to trace, but they said it would be wise to test sediment at the bottom of the pond for the possible presence of hardy microbes. The FBI's theory could explain why, after numerous searches of homes, buildings and open land, investigators have failed to locate any sign of anthrax contamination. It would suggest that the criminal had experience doing complicated manual tasks in water and was highly skilled in the use of small laboratory tools to work within an airtight glove box or bag. Some FBI officials involved in the case have theorized that the killer could have put both dry envelopes and secured anthrax powder into an airtight, waterproof chamber, sealed it shut, then stood in the water while filling the envelopes. When finished, the envelopes could be secured inside layers of zip-lock plastic bags and removed from the protective chamber. The Justice Department secured the sales records of major U.S. glove box and bag manufacturers soon after the anthrax attacks occurred. The pond findings, the sources said, offer the first possible physical evidence in a case that, thus far, has been built almost exclusively on circumstantial clues considered too tenuous to lead to criminal charges. But the case still has significant weaknesses, the sources said. A major problem is that the FBI has found no evidence linking anyone to the actual mailing of the letters. The two most deadly letters, to Daschle and Leahy, are believed to have been mailed from a highly visible mailbox in the village of Princeton, N.J., just across the street from the Princeton University campus. The box, which tested positive for anthrax, was removed from its concrete footings in August 2002 and shipped to Army labs for testing. The water theory has increased investigators' interest in Hatfill, who formerly lived in an apartment outside Fort Detrick's main gate that is about eight miles from the ponds. Based on a tip, FBI teams rushed to seal off the municipal forest in late December and sent divers into the ponds, which were created decades ago to provide water in case of forest fires. Soon after the anthrax letters surfaced, the FBI released a psychological profile of the likely suspect, describing a disgruntled, middle-aged white male with scientific training and some experience working in government research labs. Agents scrambled to interview a short list of people who fit the profile, then seemed to focus on Hatfill. After Ashcroft called Hatfill a "person of interest" in the probe, Hatfill held two news conferences to adamantly proclaim his innocence. He remains under round-the-clock FBI surveillance, and his attorney, Connolly, said he has refused recent approaches from the FBI. Connolly said Hatfill cannot find a job because of the unjustified FBI scrutiny. Connolly said it would not be unusual for the FBI to find scientific equipment discarded in waters around Frederick, which is home to many research labs and biotech companies. He suggested that equipment dredged from the pond could have been discarded by a drug dealer operating a methamphetamine lab. The FBI also has questioned Hatfill's associates about a device he used in much of his recent research. Hatfill had federal backing for projects using the "rotary cell culture system," a small device developed by NASA researchers to rapidly culture cells. It is marketed by Synthecon, a small Texas company. While at USAMRIID between 1997 and 1999, Hatfill had the backing of a federal health agency for a project in which he sought to use the culturing device to develop a "Universal Pathogen System." He hoped to grow pathogens that had proved difficult to culture, including possibly the smallpox virus, according to his proposal. Hatfill said the project would help researchers trying to quickly analyze emerging infectious diseases. Roger Akers, a Synthecon vice president and a friend of Hatfill's who worked with him on an unpublished bioterrorism thriller, said he was questioned by FBI agents in recent months about whether Hatfill could have used the rotary cell culture device to grow anthrax bacteria. Akers said he found the questions silly, because anthrax bacteria are easy to grow without the aid of such sophisticated equipment. Akers said Hatfill was trained in the use of the cell culture system, which he employed both at USAMRIID and during a previous government research appointment at a division of the National Institutes of Health. The FBI has reviewed the manuscript of Hatfill's novel, which is on file at the U.S. Copyright Office.

A scientist identified as "a person of interest" in the investigation of the deadly anthrax attacks was slightly injured in a traffic incident that his spokesman said involved a federal agent who was following him. Dr. Steven J. Hatfill suffered a bruised foot and abrasions after the incident on May 17, 2003, but wound up getting a ticket for "walking to create hazard" that carries a $5 fine, according to a copy of the citation provided by Washington police. Pat Clawson, Hatfill's friend and spokesman, blamed the incident on "harassment" by FBI agents and other federal officers who are watching Hatfill around the clock and openly tail him when he leaves his Washington home. FBI officials confirmed that the incident occurred but declined to comment. Hatfill, a physician and bioterrorism expert, has been described as "a person of interest" by Attorney General John Ashcroft in the October 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people and sickened 13 others. Hatfill has denied any involvement. According to Clawson, Hatfill and his girlfriend were driving to the Georgetown section of Washington while being followed by several vehicles. A green sports-utility vehicle was following especially closely, Clawson said. Shortly before 4:30 p.m., Hatfill's car pulled into a parking spot on the street and Hatfill got out with a camera to take photos of those in the following cars. Hatfill told officers the driver of the green SUV "had been recording his movements all day when he decided to take a picture back," according to the police report. The driver of the green SUV then drove off, striking Hatfill, the reports said. Washington police issued the ticket to Hatfill for walking in the street while attempting to take the photo. Hatfill did not seek hospital treatment and refused attention from paramedics at the scene. Clawson said Hatfill is growing increasingly upset at the close scrutiny. "Steve Hatfill has cooperated 100 percent with the FBI from day one," Clawson said. "If they have evidence that Steve Hatfill has broken the law, they should charge him, or they should clear him." According to Clawson, Hatfill and his girlfriend were driving to the Georgetown section of Washington while being followed by several vehicles. A green sports-utility vehicle was following especially closely, Clawson said.

FBI agents searching a pond near Frederick for clues in the 2001 anthrax attacks finished their work and left the area June 28, 2003, after finding no additional physical evidence to immediately suggest any links to the case, law enforcement sources said. Those sources said the FBI took soil samples from the bottom of the pond for testing. Items found in the pond included a bicycle, some logs, a street sign, coins, fishing lures and a handgun, which was given to local authorities. The FBI began draining the one-acre pond in the Frederick Municipal Forest, about eight miles from downtown Frederick, on June 9.

In the year 2000, the United States began a secret project to train Special Operations units to detect and disarm mobile germ factories. Officials familiar with the secret project say that to design an American version of a mobile germ unit, the government turned to Dr. Steven J. Hatfill. He helped develop the mobile plant while working for Science Applications International Corporation, a leading contractor for the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency, the officials and the experts said. A Delta Force trailer was set up last fall at Fort Bragg, N.C. that was intended solely for training. The trainer's equipment includes a fermenter, a centrifuge and a mill for grinding clumps of anthrax into the best size for penetrating human lungs, these experts said. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, suspecting that components from the Delta trainer might have been used to make the anthrax mailed in late 2001, examined the unit, officials and experts said. But investigators found no spores or other evidence linking it to the crime, they said. The mobile unit is part of the government's secretive effort to develop germ defenses. In the fall of 1997, Dr. Hatfill, a medical doctor, entered the world of germ defense by taking a job at Fort Detrick, where he studied protections against deadly viruses like Ebola. In late 1998, he began working at Science Applications, a company based in San Diego that has offices in the Virginia suburbs of Washington. Among other things, it helps the government develop defenses against germ weapons. At Science Applications in Virginia, because of an increase in anthrax hoaxes, Dr. Hatfill helped commission a paper from Mr. Patrick to assess the risks of spores sent through the mail. The February 1999 paper compared the probable physical characteristics of anthrax that could be produced by amateurs with the known traits of American weapon-grade anthrax; it said nothing about anthrax production. At his job, Dr. Hatfill took on the mobile trainer project with enthusiasm, colleagues recalled. Military officials said that the effort was financed by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. Experts said that Science Applications assigned the project to Dr. Hatfill and Dr. Joseph F. Soukup, a vice president for biomedical science, who helped commission the 1999 anthrax report. In 2000, Dr. Hatfill began gathering parts for the mobile unit, an expert said. Another quoted Dr. Hatfill as saying he had bought parts for the Delta trailer long before its construction and stored them in a warehouse. The trainer's construction began in September 2001, one expert said. Dr. Hatfill supervised it at A.F.W. Fabrication, a metalworking plant on the outskirts of Frederick, Md. The shop was a mile from Dr. Hatfill's apartment outside Fort Detrick's main gate. Although Dr. Hatfill seemed fully engaged in biodefense work, his world began unraveling. That summer, the C.I.A. had rejected his application for a high-level intelligence clearance after he failed a polygraph test, associates and officials said. Then, in September 2001, the anthrax attacks began and Dr. Hatfill soon found himself under scrutiny. Science Applications fired him in March 2002. Experts familiar with Dr. Hatfill said he continued to work on the germ trainer. "He was doing it on his own, using his own money," one recalled. Later, as the Delta trailer was being hauled to Fort Bragg, F.B.I. agents and experts pulled it over and thoroughly checked it for anthrax and other deadly germs. "The F.B.I. wanted to confiscate it," one expert recalled. After tense discussions, the Pentagon kept the Delta trailer, which was set up at Fort Bragg. Experts said many troops used it in training sessions run at times by Dr. Hatfill and at other times by Mr. Patrick. Friends said Dr. Hatfill was deeply committed to following through on the project because it was for the Special Forces, in which he had tried to serve while in the Army at Fort Bragg.

Post offices that were tested for anthrax using dry cotton swabs should be tested again because that method isn't the best way of detecting the potentially lethal spores, scientists told a House subcommittee. In 2001 postal officials tested the Wallingford, Conn., postal facility for anthrax with dry cotton swabs and found nothing. But when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tested the facility using wet wipes and a high-efficiency particulate air vacuum, it found more than 3 million anthrax spores. Dry swabs are an inefficient way of testing for anthrax and there is no guarantee that other anthrax spores weren't missed if that method was used in other facilities. The ones that should be retested are "those facilities deemed free of anthrax based on a single dry swab," said Keith Rhodes, the chief technologist for the General Accounting Office Center for Technology and Engineering. "That's the least effective form" of testing, he said.

Officials blamed the Muslim separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front [May 10, 2003] for a bombing that killed at least nine people and injured 41 in the troubled southern Philippines.

May 12, 2003 -- A truck loaded with explosives blew up near a government complex in northern Chechnya today in what officials said was a suicidal terrorist attack. The blast killed 60 people and wounded 300. The attack occurred just after 10 local time a.m. when a truck - with one and perhaps two or three apparent suicide bombers - approached a compound of government buildings in the town of Znamenskoye, along the Terek River near Chechnya's border with the Stavropol region, and then exploded, officials here and in Chechnya said. The force of the blast, estimated to be the equivalent of a ton of TNT, gouged a gaping crater in the road more than 30 feet wide and some 20 feet deep, damaging the headquarters of the regional government as well as offices of the Interior Ministry and the Federal Security Service, or F.S.B., which oversees the campaign against Chechnya's separatists. Although the attack appeared directed at the government buildings, the truck exploded in a residential neighborhood nearby, obliterating several kiosks and homes. Last October more than three dozen Chechen guerrillas seized a Moscow theater and nearly 800 people hostage for 57 hours. The siege ended with the deaths of at least 41 guerrillas, as well as at least 129 hostages, most of them from the effects of a nerve gas used by Russian commandos in the raid that ended the siege. In December suicide bombers detonated two truck bombs outside the headquarters of Chechnya's pro-Moscow administration in Grozny in strikingly similar circumstances to today's attack, killing more than 70. Last month an explosion killed at least 16 people aboard a bus in an attack that was videotaped and shown on a rebel Web site. The Web site claimed that 17 Russian and Chechen police officers had been killed, but Russian officials said the victims were civilians. Just last Friday, a bomb evidently fashioned from an artillery shell exploded outside Grozny's main stadium only moments before a military parade commemorating Victory Day, the anniversary of the defeat of Germany in World War II. That bombing killed one policeman and wounded two others. Two days before that, four police officers were killed in an ambush in the Urus-Martan district, south of the capital.

May 12, 2003 -- Attackers shot their way into three housing compounds in synchronized strikes in the Saudi capital and then set off multiple suicide car bombs, killing 25 people, including nine Americans, officials reported Tuesday. Authorities also found nine charred bodies believed to be those of the attackers, a Saudi Interior Ministry official said. The string of attacks occurred in quick succession Monday night, capped by a fourth explosion early Tuesday outside the headquarters of a joint U.S.-Saudi owned company in Riyadh. Jordan joined other U.S. and Saudi officials in saying that Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terror network was suspected of being behind the bombings. "It's certainly a prime suspect, I would say," Jordan said. No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks. "We don't know how many are injured, but we received 50 and the number is growing," an official at the National Guard Hospital in Riyadh told The Associated Press by telephone, without identifying himself. "We're very busy, we are receiving a lot of casualties." The wealthy gated communities that were attacked house corporate executives and other professionals. About half of the residents were Westerners, mostly British, Italian and French but also some Americans, and the rest were Saudis and other Arabs, a Saudi official said. In Monday night's attacks, gunmen in three cars shot their way into the three residential compounds before setting off explosives in the vehicles, a Saudi official said on condition of anonymity. The official said it was not known if the gunmen killed themselves in the blasts or fled. The fourth blast went off at the headquarters of the Saudi Maintenance Company, also known as Siyanco, early Tuesday morning. The company is a joint-owned venture between Frank E. Basil, Inc., of Washington, and local Saudi partners, the officials reported. Last week, a senior Saudi security official said suspected terrorists were receiving orders directly from bin Laden and were planning attacks in Saudi Arabia targeting the royal family as well as American and British interests. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the prime targets were the defense minister, Prince Sultan, and his brother, the interior minister, Prince Nayef. On Wednesday, authorities said they foiled plans by at least 19 suspected terrorists to carry out strikes and seized a large cache of weapons and explosives in the capital. All escaped after a gunfight with police. Nayef said the men included 17 Saudis, an Iraqi holding Kuwaiti and Canadian citizenship, and a Yemeni. "These men have only one goal in mind: Jihad (holy war) ... They have been brainwashed," he said. Their names and pictures were shown on state-run Saudi television Wednesday, and a reward of more than $50,000 has been offered to anyone turning in any of the suspects. The confiscated weapons included hand grenades, five suitcases of explosives, rifles and ammunition, as well as computers, communications equipment and cash, officials said. A week earlier, an American civilian working for the Saudi Royal Navy was attacked and slightly injured in eastern Saudi Arabia. In 1996, a truck bombing killed 19 Americans at the Khobar Towers barracks in Dhahran. In 1995, a car bomb exploded at a U.S.-run military training facility in Riyadh. Seven people died, including five American advisers to the Saudi National Guard. The Islamic Movement for Change and two smaller groups in the region claimed responsibility.

Northrop Grumman Corp. said that nine employees -- including seven U.S. citizens -- of its Vinnell Corp. unit were killed in Monday night's terrorist attack in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The other two dead were Filipinos.

Saudi authorities linked a 19-member al-Qaida team Tuesday to carnage at three foreign compounds in the capital — multiple, simultaneous car bombings that killed at least 30 people, including eight Americans.

An al-Qaida commander warned that the terror network was about to carry out major attacks in Saudi Arabia in an e-mail just a day before the deadly assault in the Saudi capital, an Arab magazine reported. The al-Qaida operative, who identified himself as Abu Mohammed al-Ablaj, wrote in an e-mail Sunday to the London-based Al-Majalla magazine that al-Qaida has stored arms and explosives and set up "martyrdom" squads in Saudi Arabia to launch what he described as a "guerrilla war" on its leaders and the United States. A U.S. counterterrorism official in Washington said the e-mail is regarded as credible and implies al-Qaida responsibility for Monday night's attacks. Al-Ablaj is believed to be a known al-Qaida operative named Abu Bakr, the official said. In correspondence with the Saudi-owned Al-Majalla, al-Ablaj has said he leads the training of al-Qaida fighters. "Beside targeting the heart of America, among the strategic priorities now is to target and execute operations in the Gulf countries and allies of the United States, particularly Egypt and Jordan," Al-Ablaj wrote in the e-mail. "Osama bin Laden has issued strong directives to launch a guerrilla war in all forms, on a long term, in the nations of the Gulf ... We are ready to carry out many, very large operations," al-Ablaj wrote in Sunday's message. "Al-Qaida shall carry the battle with all the guerrilla war experience it gained in Afghanistan and Chechnya to the Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula." In his first e-mail, on April 7, al-Ablaj wrote that al-Qaida was setting up ammunition warehouses in the Persian Gulf and preparing for an attack. "The world will see how we make America pay the price for invading Iraq," he wrote.

Al-Qa'eda has infiltrated Saudi Arabia's military and security forces at the highest level, including those entrusted with the protection of western residential compounds, American intelligence officials believe. They are convinced that Tuesday's suicide bombers depended on a significant level of "insider" knowledge of the compounds that were hit and that al-Qa'eda even infiltrated the elite National Guard, which is involved in compound security. Intelligence sources said several bombers were wearing National Guard uniforms to help them get into the three bombed complexes. "The only area where there is no evidence of a significant al-Qa'eda presence is in the Saudi air force," one intelligence official said. "The police, army, navy and National Guard have all been infiltrated." American military and intelligence officers say the attack on the residential quarters of the Vinnell corporation, whose ex-US army officers train the National Guard, must have had detailed insider knowledge.

Britain warned on May 13, 2003, of a "high threat" of further attacks against Western interests in Saudi Arabia -- possibly involving chemical or biological weapons -- after three suicide bombings overnight.

May 14, 2003 -- A woman with explosives strapped to her waist blew them up in the midst of thousands of Muslim pilgrims Wednesday, killing herself and 13 others in an apparent attempt on the life of Chechnya Moscow-backed administrator. But officials said she was not alone. A second woman in the crowd was also wearing explosives but she died without detonating her charge, Russia's state-controlled Channel One said. The bombing occurred in Iliskhan-Yurt, a village about 15 miles southeast of the capital, Grozny, where about 10,000 people had gathered Wednesday to mark the birthday of Islam's prophet, Muhammad. Russia's deputy prosecutor, Gen. Sergei Fridinsky, said it was to soon to say the target was Kadyrov, who is hated by rebels for his cooperation with Moscow. Akhmad Kadyrov escaped unharmed, but at least two of his bodyguards were among more than 100 people wounded in the second deadly bombing in the breakaway republic this week. On Monday three suicide bombers detonated a truck loaded with explosives outside a government compound in northern Chechnya. The death toll in that attack rose to 59 Wednesday when four more of the injured died.

A new April 2003 report from the Justice Department and the Police Executive Research Forum finds that the government's joint terrorism task forces are understaffed and are lacking important analytical expertise needed to conduct terrorism investigations. State and local law enforcement officials again raised long-standing concerns that they still were not being fully briefed by federal authorities about terrorist threats. ''We are more than a year past the terrorist attacks, and I'm not alone when I say that local law enforcement executives do not feel like they are in the game,'' said Massachusetts Public Safety Secretary Edward Flynn, one of six co-authors of the report now being circulated among law enforcement authorities. Flynn, a former police executive in Arlington, Va., said in the report that local law enforcement ''often presumes that federal agencies are withholding detailed, relevant and important information. We need to work on issues of mutual trust so that we can share what information there is while retaining necessary security and integrity.'' The report also says the sharing of intelligence is complicated by widespread confusion about how sensitive information should be distributed to police executives who may not have the security clearances required by the federal government.

SARS has caused more damage to the global airline industry than the Sept. 11 attacks and the war in Iraq combined, the world's airline association said on May 15, 2003. "This is a crisis of major proportions," Thomas Andrew Drysdale, regional director for the International Air Transport Association, told a meeting of Asian airport managers in the Philippines. The world's airlines have lost more than $10 billion this year, he said. He told reporters that the combined effects of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, the war in Iraq and the foot and mouth disease in Britain did not cause as much damage to the industry as SARS.

May 16, 2003 -- Iraqis said on Friday their patience with U.S. pledges to restore law and order in Baghdad and to improve the economy was running thin and fear of lawlessness could lead to anti-American violence. Iraqis, many hiding in their homes for fear of being robbed, are now calling for the establishment of any interim government that would end what many see as growing anarchy. Some Iraqis who had celebrated the downfall of Saddam Hussein last month in a U.S.-led invasion now say insecurity outweighs any feeling of political freedom and liberation. "Under Saddam we lived in fear, now we live in terror from crime and we live in poverty," said Othman, a taxi driver queuing to fill up his car with petrol. The absence of law and order was also disrupting the delivery of humanitarian aid. Iraqis complain that the cost of living has more than doubled in weeks. Suha Abdel-Hamid, a wealthy housewife, disappointed with the turn of events in Iraq, said she is now thinking of leaving the country in search of a safer and better life. Retired Christian teacher Sabah Yusef said, "If this anarchy and unemployment continues for another month, people will rise against the Americans and bring about a more chaotic situation."

An Iranian opposition group claimed that Tehran has developed biological weapons, including some that could infect people with smallpox. Representatives of the National Council of Resistance of Iran cited clandestine sources inside the Iranian government but provided no other evidence. They accused Iranian officials of also possessing weapons that could use anthrax, plague and several other poisons and diseases. "They can use it in a very, very deadly manner that can inflict heavy and widespread human damage," said Alireza Jafarzadeh during a news conference. Officials with the resistance movement specified labs, companies, military organizations and leaders they said were involved. American intelligence officials have said Iran probably has a biological weapons program but have described it as probably much more limited in scope. A recent U.S. assessment on smallpox did not list Iran as one of the countries possessing samples of the disease. The U.S. government has labeled the National Council of Resistance of Iran as a terrorist organization, but allows it to operate freely in Washington.

Evidence is mounting that al-Qaida leaders who sought refuge in Iran have been planning and directing terrorist operations in Saudi Arabia, Kenya and elsewhere, administration officials said on May 15, 2003. The officials, who all spoke on the condition of anonymity, said intelligence reports, which they refused to discuss, indicated that Saif al Adel, who's believed to be al-Qaida's third-ranking official now and to be living in Iran, maintained contact with an al-Qaida operative in Saudi Arabia named Abu Bakr al Azdi. U.S. intelligence officials believe Abu Bakr directed the bombings that killed 34 people, including eight Americans, late Monday in Saudi Arabia. The officials said another al-Qaida leader now in Iran, Mohammed al Masri, the head of the group's operations in East Africa, had been communicating with an al-Qaida operative who recently returned to Kenya from Somalia and was planning attacks on civilian airliners and other targets in Kenya. Intelligence about the plotting prompted Great Britain to suspend commercial flights to Kenya and the U.S. State Department to warn against all but essential travel to the African nation. A State Department travel warning issued Wednesday night said terrorist attacks in Kenya could include attacks on aircraft with shoulder-fired missiles, as well as "suicide operations, bombings or kidnappings." Al Masri and al Adel, the U.S. officials charged, directed the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, in which 231 people died, including 12 Americans. Israeli intelligence officials think al Masri also directed an attack last November on an Israeli-owned hotel in the Kenyan seaside city of Mombasa, which killed 14 people, three of them Israelis. A simultaneous attempt to shoot down an Israeli charter airplane with two shoulder-fired missiles failed. "It's becoming increasingly apparent that there's been some command and control between senior al-Qaida in Iran and terrorists in Saudi Arabia and other places," one senior U.S. official said Thursday. Other officials said intelligence suggested that Abu Bakr, the al-Qaida leader in Saudi Arabia, whose real name is Ali Abd al Rahman al Faqasi al Ghamdi, is a subordinate of al Adel. They said Abu Bakr escaped from Afghanistan with other al-Qaida members during the battle of Tora Bora in December 2001 - when Afghan fighters allied with the United States failed to block escape routes into Pakistan - and made his way home to Saudi Arabia, possibly via Iran. Some officials suspect that Abu Bakr may have been among a number of al-Qaida members whom the Iranians handed over to their own governments, and that Saudi officials may have turned him loose. That embarrassment, two officials suggested, could be one reason that the Saudis identified another al-Qaida member, Khaled Jehani, as the local commander of this week's suicide-bombing operation. Iranian officials deny harboring al-Qaida members, but U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Thursday: "We know there are senior al-Qaida in Iran . . . presumably not in an ungoverned area." Another senior American official dismissed the Iranian denials as "bait-and-switch." The Iranian government is divided between hard-line Islamic clerics and reformist allies of President Mohammad Khatami, and some elements of the government, including the Revolutionary Guard, have long financed and directed terrorist operations, sometimes without the knowledge of the Foreign Ministry and other agencies. In the 1980s, for example, a unit that U.S. officials dubbed "Department 210" after the room it occupied in the Foreign Ministry headquarters was sending hit squads to murder Iranian dissidents in Western Europe at the same time the foreign minister was touring Europe to promote better relations. If, as Rumsfeld's comment Thursday seemed to suggest, the Bush administration is aiming to hold Iran responsible for terrorist acts directed by al-Qaida leaders hiding in Iran, America's next confrontation could come not with North Korea or Syria, as some administration officials have suggested, but with Iran.

Iranian government officials strongly denied [May 16, 2003] that Iran was producing weapons of mass destruction or was sheltering members of Osama bin Laden al Qaeda network. A senior government official denied allegations by an exile opposition group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, that Tehran had biological weapons armed with anthrax, smallpox and typhoid. Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi rejected those accusations on Friday as "baseless." "The Islamic Republic of Iran, based on its own principles, is very serious and resolved to combat terrorism and its nuclear programs are very transparent and peaceful," Asefi was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying. "The repetition of such baseless claims (concerning al-Qaida) cannot portray them as valid and credible," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said. "America should not blame others because it suffers from weak intelligence. We would arrest al Qaeda members wherever we see them," the official IRNA news agency quoted Iranian Intelligence Minister Ali Yunesi as saying.

The United Nations nuclear watchdog agency would be making a big mistake if it failed to find Iran in serious violation of a key international arms control treaty, a senior U.S. official said on May 15, 2003. The Bush administration, ahead of an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meeting next month, is working to convince the agency and countries on its governing board that Iran has an advanced nuclear weapons program that must be stopped.

Russia will soon launch a mock nuclear attack against the U.S. and Britain during military exercises over the next week.

May, 16, 2003 -- At least 40 people were killed and 100 wounded in five suicide bomb attacks in Morocco's biggest city Casablanca, diplomatic sources said. A Jewish center and Spanish club were among the targets. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for a bombing on a synagogue in another North African country, Tunisia, in April last year in which 20 people died, including 14 German tourists. The bombers were all Moroccan men, 20 to 24 years old, and included students, the official news agency MAP reported. One of those captured had worked as a parking lot attendant.

The Egyptian who guards the elusive Osama bin Laden has taken over as al Qaeda's military commander following capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of September 11, a terror expert said on May 19, 2003. Saif al-Adel, who is believed to have turned 40 last month, has a $25 million price on his head on the FBI list of most wanted terrorists. The United States had indicted him over the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Afghan leader Hamid Karzai has held top secret talks with members of the former Taliban government. The dramatic move could see a return to power of some of the most senior members of the Taliban, once described by Tony Blair as the most evil, brutal regime in the world. However President Karzai praised the Taliban's "good elements and said the movement had done a "great service to our war torn country". The interim leader, who is becoming increasingly isolated, has lost all power and influence outside of the capital Kabul. However, news of his attempt to broker a peace deal with his old enemies is bound to cause shock waves across the world. An anti-American wave is also sweeping across the country because of the military presence and a series of US blunders which have led to the deaths of Afghan civilians. A source close to Hamid Karzai said: "The country is no more at peace now than it was a year ago, in fact in some ways we are even more fragile because good will which was given at the time of the Loya Jirga has now gone. "Our attempt to try and persuade 100,000 fighters to disarm and reintegrate them into the Afghan national army is failing because the regional warlords and local militias see it as a threat to their own power. "Unless we make a peace deal with the Taliban we have no hope of restoring Afghanistan and no chance of holding elections next year. The majority of the Afghan people are still suffering from food shortages, housing, and medical care problems."

Afghanistan's interim President, Hamid Karzai, will issue an extraordinary call this week for an extra $15 billion cash from the West for the reconstruction of his war-shattered country. Karzai will warn that the $5bn so far committed is hopelessly inadequate to meet the pledges given by Tony Blair and George Bush to rebuild Afghanistan after the 2001 invasion. His wake-up call comes as his government plunges into financial crisis, with the capital Kabul facing its first popular street demonstrations since the fall of the Taliban 18 months ago.

"The U.S. intelligence community assesses that attacks against U.S. and Western targets overseas are likely; attacks in the United States cannot be ruled out," says the bulletin, described by federal law enforcement officials on condition of anonymity. The bulletin says the Saudi attacks featured "traditional hallmarks of al-Qaida operations" such as precise planning, surveillance and coordination among several teams. Each bombing involved a sedan followed by a truck or sport utility vehicle laden with explosives, with gunmen used to attack guards and overcome security measures. "Further, these attacks suggest that al-Qaida may be deterred by enhancing security and changes in the security countermeasures adopted by potential targets," the bulletin said. State and local police are urged to redouble their vigilance, especially for indications that operatives may be carrying out surveillance or attempting to acquire explosives or detonation devices. The FBI has previously warned that al-Qaida members could pose as tourists, homeless people or artists in carrying out surveillance. The FBI bulletin was sent to law enforcement agencies on May 16, 2003.

May, 19, 2003 -- Saudi Arabia's U.S. ambassador warned that new intelligence suggests there could be more terror attacks in Saudi Arabia or the United States.

"The South side will sustain an unspeakable disaster if it turns to confrontation," Pak Chang-ryon, North Korea's chief negotiator at the inter-Korean economic talks warned on May 20, 2003.

Canada reported its first case of mad cow disease in a decade on May 20, 2003, sending shock waves through the North American food industry just weeks after the country's economy was damaged by the SARS threat. A cow in Alberta, Canada's top cattle-producing province and a major beef exporter to the United States, tested positive for brain-wasting bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, in a test conducted after it was slaughtered last winter, government officials said. "The actual test was taken Jan. 31 from a cow in Fairview, Alberta," an official with the Canadian Beef Export Federation said. "It's just one isolated case of an 8-year-old cow." But the report sent a major chill through the continent's economy, triggering a bans on Canadian beef and sparking a sell-off in cattle futures and food-related stocks. The currency in Canada, the world's third-largest beef exporter, also fell after the news but later rebounded. Mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, spread through British herds in the 1980s, causing millions of animals to be destroyed. The disease can pass to people who eat infected beef products, causing a related disease called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease or vCJD. It has killed or sickened 129 people, most of them in Britain.

Some 20 percent of the known radioactive materials stored at Iraq's largest nuclear facility are unaccounted for, and U.S. nuclear experts have found radioactive patches on the ground where looters dumped out barrels believed to contain hazardous materials. The dormant Tuwaitha plant, once considered the heart of Saddam Hussein's nuclear program, has been repeatedly trashed by scavengers. It hasn't been operational for years. The Iraqis had been using it to store declared nuclear materials that were prohibited and sealed by the U.N. nuclear agency. By the time weapons teams showed up to inspect the facility, so much had been destroyed that it was impossible to know what was missing. Reporters saw villagers removing storage barrels and dumping out contents matching the description of uranium oxide. They filled the barrels with drinking water, and some have since reported health problems. Iraq has about 1,000 sites where radioactive materials are used in industry or medicine, but Tuwaitha, where Iraqis worked on the final design of a nuclear bomb before the 1991 Gulf War, has drawn the most concern.

The Bush administration raised the terrorism alert level to orange on May 20, 2003. Federal law-enforcement officials said that among the intelligence picked up recently were two electronic transmissions that discussed the possibility of an attack on New York, Washington, Boston and more broadly the U.S. coastlines. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there were doubts about the credibility of the threats and stressed that they were not the driving factors in the decision to raise the threat level. The Bush administration has raised the terror alert level from yellow to orange three times previously. Each time, the level was lowered back to yellow after a few weeks. The lowest two levels, green and blue, and the highest, red, have not been used since the system was put in place more than a year ago. The last time it was raised was during the Iraq war. The threat level increase came after the FBI, in bulletins sent Friday and Tuesday to law enforcement officials nationwide, said the attacks in Saudi Arabia and Morocco could be "a prelude to an attack on the United States." State and local police are urged to remain vigilant for signs of surveillance against potential targets or reports of attempts by anyone to obtain explosives.

Three Moroccans arrested in Saudi Arabia earlier this week planned to hijack a civilian airliner and crash it into a bank building in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, a Saudi security source said on May 21, 2003. "They were planning a suicide hijack to attack Saudi landmarks," the source told Reuters. He said the arrests were made at Jeddah's airport on May 19, a day before the kingdom went on high alert in response to a warning that more suicide attacks by supporters of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda group may be imminent.

The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency has raised its warning of possible terror attack against military facilities and bases in the United States to its highest level, defense officials said. The military has decided to deploy additional anti-aircraft missile systems and increase air patrols in the Washington area, according to the officials who asked not to be identified.

The FBI arrested a New York cab driver after he allegedly tried to buy enough explosives "to blow up a mountain," scoped out bridges in Miami and lied to agents about his activities. Sayed Abdul Malike, 43, was ordered held without bail on May 21, 2003, at an arraignment in federal court. Malike was arrested May 20 following an investigation by a terrorism task force. The investigation of Malike, a legal U.S. resident from Afghanistan, began in March when a store owner in Queens reported that the defendant was seeking information on how to make a bomb. Later that month, Malike traveled to Miami, where he took a sightseeing trip around the port, according to court documents. A tourist boat captain later reported that the defendant, while shooting video, asked about "the infrastructure of bridges ... and about how close the boat could get to the bridges and cruise ships."

Boeing's head of security sent his staff an e-mail, in May 2003, warning that people had been conducting "very disturbing surveillance" of the company's facilities in the Seattle area and elsewhere. The e-mail offered no details beyond that "apparent Middle Easterners" were seen conducting the surveillance. The e-mail was sent May 14, two days after three Boeing workers were slightly injured by a series of terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia. Since the attacks of Sept. 11, the FBI has put out several security alerts to U.S. businesses operating both domestically and abroad, warning them to be on the lookout for surveillance of their facilities. Almost all of the attacks, including the 9-11 hijackings, were preceded by some sort of pre-event activity, either surveillance or dry-runs.

Japan will "meet a fatal fiasco" if it continues to blindly follow US policy, Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said. Pyongyang on May 26 threatened South Korea with "disaster" for the second time in a week in anger at Seoul's tougher line on the nuclear crisis.

The United States will spend more than $11 billion over three years to enhance military capability in South Korea, the U.S. military said on May 31, 2003.

The Pentagon is accused of dramatizing the operation of Private Lynch's rescue during the Iraq war.

Eric Robert Rudolph, the Olympic Park bombing suspect was arrested on May 31, 2003. Rudolph is accused in the July 27, 1996, bombing at Atlanta's downtown Olympic Park that killed a woman and wounded 111 others during the 25th Summer Olympics. Rudolph is also a suspect in a bombing at an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Ala., that killed a police officer, and bombings outside a gay nightclub and an office building in Atlanta that contained an abortion clinic. In all, about 150 people were wounded. He was a former soldier and survivalist. Rudolph was thought to be a follower of a white supremacist Christian religion "Church of Israel". Federal investigators said Rudolph maintained contact with other Christian Identity groups in recent years and also appears to have been in contact with the Aryan Nations.

Group of Eight leaders warned Iran and North Korea to comply with international nuclear safeguards as they unveiled a wide-ranging plan to combat weapons proliferation and terrorism. In a strongly-worded statement on June 2, 2003, the leaders of the world's most powerful nations called the uncurbed spread of armaments and international terrorism "the pre-eminent threat to international security". To this end a G8-wide Counter-Terrorism Action Group would be formed to share information and coordinate responses, they said.

A new virus continues to show up wherever investigators look for it -- and it isn't SARS. It's the human metapneumovirus (hMPV), which has now been discovered in American children. Researchers at the Yale University School of Medicine found that 19 out of 296 New Haven, Connecticut, children who had respiratory infections of unknown cause were infected with hMPV. Symptoms included wheezing, cough and fever. The existence of hMPV may answer some nagging questions for pediatricians. "We see otherwise healthy kids getting very bad lung infections," Kahn said. It's possible that hMPV interacts with other viruses to cause more serious infections.

The Pentagon has handed out 25,000 emergency gas masks to prepare defense employees for possible chemical or biological terror attacks. The masks are designed to give wearers up to about an hour of protection to flee chemical or biological contamination, officials said. Some 80,000 masks are to be made available for department employees and other workers as well as visitors at the Pentagon and its annexes in other office buildings throughout the Washington area.

The Bush administration may make more than 450 plutonium warhead triggers a year under a plan to resume production of the devices, according to an Energy Department draft environmental review. National Nuclear Security Administration

The Constitution should be amended to ensure the quick selection of replacements should many lawmakers be killed or incapacitated by a terrorist attack on Congress, a commission formed after the Sept. 11 attacks recommended. The Continuity of Government Commission is a project of two Washington think tanks, the conservative American Enterprise Institute and the more liberal Brookings Institution. The panel of scholars and one-time government officials includes former House speakers Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., and Tom Foley, D-Wash.

A network of wind speed and direction sensors is helping better predict how radiation or biochemical agents might spread through the U.S. capital in a terrorist attack, federal researchers said. A demonstration project called DCNet comprising 13 sensors, some near the White House and others in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., is being expanded to New York City and could eventually be set up in other cities, scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. The director of NOAA's Air Resources Laboratory, said both DCNet, now in its second year, and New York's UrbaNet would address an urgent need to improve mathematical models of how toxic agents spread in cities. "The data already show the dangers inherent in assuming the relevance of nearby airport data. ... If airport data were used to address the case of a dispersion situation on the Mall (in Washington), then the answers would be wrong." Wind sensors used in weather reports are often located outside a city, whereas buildings and "street canyons" in downtown areas create almost random wind patterns, he said. Wind is just one of many variables, including time of day, weather, toxins used and location of attack, that models must take into account to be helpful during an emergency. Work has already begun in New York City, with a sensor installed on the roof of a Department of Energy building and another to go up soon above Times Square. restricted from public access after 9/11

Investigators looking into the recent terrorist bombing in Saudi Arabia found cell phones rigged to detonate explosives by remote control, the FBI said, urging U.S. law enforcement officials to be on the lookout for similar devices. The modified cell phones turned up during searches following the May 12 bombing in Riyadh that killed 35 people, including nine Americans, according to a weekly FBI bulletin to 18,000 state and local law enforcement agencies. The bulletin urged local officials to take precautions if a suspectedevice is found. For instance, officers should "immediately evacuate the area to a minimum distance of 300 yards. Radios, cellular telephones and pagers should not be used within 50 feet of the suspected device," the bulletin said. Terrorists also have used pagers and radio systems to detonate bombs by remote control, the FBI said. A cell phone was used in the July 2002 bombing at a cafeteria at Hebrew University in Jerusalem that killed seven people, including five Americans. The bomb, filled with nails and metal, was hidden in a bag left on a table in the crowded room and was detonated by a call from a cell phone. Late last year French police found explosives systems meant to be detonated with cell phones during a series of raids around Paris that dismantled a terror group with ties to al-Qaida and rebels in Chechnya. Experts say the cell phone provides the advantage of allowing the bomber to be far away from the explosion. Timing devices such as windup alarm clocks or radio transmitters more frequently used in improvised pipe bombs usually require the perpetrator to be closer. The FBI bulletin included details of how a cell phone can become part of a deadly bomb. It requires use of a battery, a switch, an initiation device such as an electric match or a light bulb, conducting wires and explosives. When the phone receives an incoming call, "the electrical power from the telephone's ringer or vibrator activates the bomb's circuitry" causing an explosion. "Law enforcement officers without specialized explosives training should never attempt to remove or disable a suspected device," the bulletin warned.

Senior senators are raising questions about the FBI decision to conduct a fourth internal investigation of an agent who aired concerns about the bureau's counterterrorism investigations. The FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility has already conducted three investigations of FBI Agent Robert Wright, who has claimed during news conferences and television appearances that he was ordered to drop terrorism investigations in the Chicago area by FBI intelligence officials. Wright contends that he was prevented from pursuing counterterrorism leads, particularly in the area of terrorism financing, that might have prevented the Sept. 11 attacks. Other FBI agents have disputed that assertion. The senators said in their letter that all three previous investigations found no wrongdoing by Wright. "This sort of knee-jerk reaction manifests an insecurity and weakness that is dangerous for such an important agency in the war on terrorism, and is certain to have a chilling effect on other FBI employees who want to fix problems, or even make their supervisors aware of problems. With the FBI it has been, hear no evil, speak no evil but, above all, tell no evil," the letter said. An FBI spokesman declined comment on the letter or the earlier probes, saying they involve internal personnel issues. The letter asks Mueller to provide Senate staffers with a briefing about the Wright case and ensure that the FBI "proceeds with caution and forethought" in dealing with the matter.

Al Qaeda in America: The Enemy Within By Daniel Klaidman, Mark Hosenball, Michael Isikoff and Evan Thomas

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM) was captured in a raid in Pakistan on March 1. As Al Qaeda’s director of global operations, he was by far the most valuable prize yet captured by American intelligence and its various allies in the post-9-11 manhunt. He revealed an overhaul of Al Qaeda’s approach to penetrating America. The 9-11 hijackers were all foreign nationals—mostly Saudis, led by an Egyptian—who infiltrated the United States by obtaining student or tourist visas. To foil the heightened security after 9-11, Al Qaeda began to rely on operatives who would be harder to detect. They recruited U.S. citizens or people with legitimate Western passports who could move freely in the United States. They used women and family members as “support personnel.” And they made an effort to find African-American Muslims who would be sympathetic to Islamic extremism. Using “mosques, prisons and universities throughout the United States,” according to the documents. The terror network’s more recent plans were to take down bridges, destroy airliners, derail trains and blow up a whole series of gas stations. According to Justice Department documents describing KSM’s interrogation, he “tasked” a former resident of Baltimore named Majid Khan to “move forward” on Khan’s plan to destroy several U.S. gas stations by “simultaneously detonating explosives in the stations’ underground storage tanks.” KSM was intimately involved in the details. When Khan reported that the storage tanks were unprotected and easy to attack, KSM wanted to be sure that explosive charges would cause a massive eruption of flame and destruction. Khan—a “confessed al Qaeda member” who was apparently captured in Pakistan, according to intelligence sources—traveled at least briefly to the United States, where he tried unsuccessfully to seek asylum. His family members, intelligence documents say, are longtime Baltimore residents and own gas stations in that city. KSM told interrogators that he and Khan discussed a plan to use a Karachi-based import-export business to smuggle explosives into the United States. Khan looked for more help from people who might escape the notice of investigators. KSM told interrogators that a woman named Aafia Siddiqui, a U.S. visa holder who has lived in the United States for a decade, rented a post-office box to help Khan establish his U.S. identity. Siddiqui was supposed to support “other al Qaeda operatives as they entered the United States,” according to the Feds’ description of the plot. Siddiqui’s estranged husband, identified by informed sources as Mohammad Amjan Khan, had purchased body armor, night-vision goggles and a variety of military manuals to send to Pakistan. He apparently returned these items after being interviewed by the FBI. Both Siddiqui and Khan were described as “medical professionals.” Siddiqui fled to Pakistan, where she was reportedly arrested. KSM told his interrogators that he wanted “two or three African-American Muslim converts” to carry out his operation to blow up the gas stations. Majid Khan told the FBI that he had seen “two African Americans (identified as such by their American accents) during a 2000 meeting in Pakistan with KSM and other al Qaeda operatives.” KSM had more diabolical plans for another of Khan’s American relatives, a commercial truckdriver named Iyman Faris (a.k.a. Mohammad Rauf). The truckdriver is a naturalized U.S. citizen, a longtime resident of Columbus, Ohio. His ex-wife told friends that in hindsight she finds it disturbing that her husband, a devout Muslim, had long expressed an interest in learning how to fly. He spent hours, she said, reading magazines about ultralight aircraft, gliders with small engines that can be piloted almost anywhere. The order to study ultralight aircraft came directly from KSM, according to intelligence documents. The Qaeda operations chief told interrogators that he had a specific assignment for the truckdriver. He wanted Faris to case the Brooklyn Bridge. KSM also instructed Faris to obtain “gas cutters” (presumably, metal-cutting torches) that could be used to cut the Brooklyn Bridge’s suspension wires. The truckdriver was also assigned to obtain “torque tools” to bend railroad tracks, the better to send a passenger train hurtling off the rails. Faris recommended driving a small truck with explosives beneath a commercial airliner as it sat on the tarmac. A licensed truckdriver, he said, could easily penetrate airport security. During his interrogation, KSM identified a man named Ali S. Al-Marri as “the point of contact for al Qaeda operatives arriving in the US for September 11 follow-on operations.” KSM described Al-Marri as “the perfect sleeper agent because he has studied in the United States, had no criminal record, and had a family with whom he could travel.” The Qatari national had returned to the United States on Sept. 10, 2001, to pick up a graduate degree in computer information systems from Peoria’s Bradley University. He was accused by the FBI of phoning an alleged Qaeda operative in the United Arab Emirates, Qaeda paymaster Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, and lying about it that same December. Al-Marri’s apartment was filled with Islamic jihadist materials. His computer included bookmarked Web sites for hazardous chemicals, computer hacking and fake IDs, according to court documents. Bookmarks in an almanac marked entries for dams, reservoirs and railroads. U.S. officials were outraged when the Saudi Embassy helped Al-Marri’s wife obtain a passport to leave the United States in November. Intelligence records obtained list other Qaeda operatives who may be hiding out somewhere in America. “KSM has identified Adnan el Shukri Jumah, a Saudi born permanent US resident alien as an operative with standing permission to attack targets in the United States that had been previously approved by Usama bin Laden,” reads one entry in a Homeland Security document. “El Shukri Jumah lived in the US for six years and received an associate’s degree from a Florida college. He reportedly surveilled targets in New York, as well as the Panama Canal.” Intelligence officials say, however, that they are in some ways more worried about lone wolves who have only distant ties to Al Qaeda. They may pose a more imminent threat than the kind of top-of-the-line, well-trained operatives.

An Ohio truck driver who met Osama bin Laden and admitted plots against trains and the Brooklyn Bridge has pleaded guilty to felony charges and is cooperating in the investigation of al-Qaida, federal authorities said on June 19, 2003. Iyman Faris, of Columbus acknowledged in court documents that he met bin Laden in 2000 at an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan and provided operatives there with sleeping bags, cell phones and other assistance. Later, Faris received attack instructions from top terror leader Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, authorities said, for what they suggested might have been a second wave planned for New York and Washington to follow the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. He is a native of Kashmir who originally came to the United States in May 1994. He become a naturalized U.S. citizen in December 1999. Also known as Mohammed Rauf, he has been working as an independent trucker based in Columbus for several years. A government statement, signed by Faris, says that he was instructed by a senior al-Qaida operative to obtain "gas cutters," probably acetylene torches, that would enable him to sever the cables on "a bridge in New York City" that officials said was the Brooklyn Bridge. Although the senior operative is referred to only as "C-2" in the documents, a U.S. law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity identified him as Mohammed. Faris was told to refer to the cutters as "gas stations" so eavesdroppers would not get wind of the plot. In addition, Mohammed told Faris that he should obtain heavy torque tools — code-named "mechanics shops" — that could be used to derail trains in the United States, the affidavit says. No details about location or time of an attack is mentioned in the court papers, and they name only New York and Washington. The meetings took place in 2000, 2001 and early 2002 in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the government statement says. Faris' original contact with al-Qaida came through a second senior operative, named only as "C-1" or "bin Laden's right foot," whom the government says Faris had known since the Soviet-Afghanistan war in the 1980s. The statement says that Faris researched the Brooklyn Bridge and traveled to New York in late 2002 to examine it, finally concluding that "the plot to destroy the bridge by severing the cables was very unlikely to succeed." He sent a coded message via the Internet in early 2003 to al-Qaida leaders: "The weather is too hot." Earlier, Faris was asked by bin Laden associates in late 2000 to look into ultralight aircraft that could be used as escape planes by al-Qaida operatives, prosecutors say. Faris had mentioned his access to airports as a trucker, sparking interest in cargo planes because of their weight and high fuel capacity. In addition, Faris helped al-Qaida obtain 2,000 lightweight sleeping bags that were shipped to Afghanistan for use by bin Laden and other al-Qaida members. Using a disguise, he helped up to six al-Qaida members with travel arrangements so they could go to Yemen and also delivered cell phones and cash to Mohammed, court documents say. Two alleged members of a radical Islamic movement allied with al-Qaida were convicted earlier this month in Detroit of providing material support and resources to the terrorist group by running an illegal document ring. One other man was acquitted in that case.

The American al-Qa'eda operative Iyman Faris has been used by the FBI for months as a double agent. FBI agents persuaded Faris to cooperate sometime in March, according to Justice Department officials. They dangled an offer to move his extended family from Pakistan to reduce the risk of al-Qaeda retaliation—and a threat to declare him an enemy combatant, which might mean years of pretrial detention. Soon afterward Faris was brought to a safe house in Virginia. With agents directing and monitoring his every communication, Faris sent messages to his bosses via cell phone and e-mail. "He was sitting in the safe house making calls for us," says a senior Administration official.

The United States and Britain have failed so far to block a key route for financing terror -- so-called "underground banks" operated in Internet cafes, travel agents and restaurants, German officials said on June 17, 2003. Underground banking is based on trust. Few, if any, records are kept. Outlets taking part, which often see a large number of oversees visitors or migrants passing through, form a network that moves cash without a trace. The customer pays money to one underground banker and trusts him to arrange with another that the intended recipient will receive the agreed sum. "The United States has understood that merely freezing bank accounts has only limited effect. No terrorist will open an account legally under his own name," one official said. The meeting in Berlin of the Financial Action Task Force, the world's main body for setting standards in the fight against money laundering, is expected to agree revised recommendations for regulators to reflect new dangers from criminal and terror groups. World Money Laundering Report Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering

The Proliferation Security Initiative endorsed a crackdown, under which ships would be stopped and aircraft forced down if they were suspected of trafficking weapons of mass destruction. The PSI involves the US, Australia, Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, The Netherlands, Poland, Germany, Canada and Japan.

Afghanistan is at risk of reverting to control by warlords and the United States of suffering a defeat in the "war on terrorism" unless Washington strengthens the Kabul government, a nongovernmental report said. "Unless the situation improves, Afghanistan risks sliding back into the anarchy and warlordism that prevailed in the 1990s and helped give rise to the Taliban," it said, referring to the puritanical Islamist group that governed the country of 28 million from 1996 until the 2001 U.S.-led war. "Such a reversion would have disastrous consequences for Afghanistan and would be a profound setback for the U.S. war on terrorism," said the report.
Afghanistan: Are We Losing the Peace?
US Shooting In The Dark In Afghanistan

A Boeing 727 passenger jet, grounded at Luanda airport where it had been parked for 14 months, has disappeared after a mysterious unauthorized take-off, Angola state radio reported. The plane, chartered by the Angolan airline Airangol, was grounded after being banned from overflying Angolan territory on account of a series of irregularities, the Angola civil aviation director said. A witness to the plane's departure on May 25, 2003, airport employee Luis Lopes, said he saw a white man start the empty plane and then take off after a few dangerous land maneuvers. The airport chief said there was some evidence to believe the Boeing had been fuelled up at Luanda airport. The privately owned Boeing 727 did not have a flight plan or tell the control tower its final destination, a State Department official said. The State Department has asked U.S. embassies and missions in Africa to contact local civil aviation authorities and interior ministries with requests for information about the plane, mainly for fear it might be used for an attack. U.S. officials noted that many planes with murky backgrounds come and go across Africa because of the poor transport systems on the ground. Governments impose very high landing fees, encouraging evasion. The plane was chartered from an Angolan company with a history of having planes vanish for insurance money or to be used for drug smuggling, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department have joined in the continent-wide search for the aircraft US authorities said was likely stolen from the airport in the capital Luanda as part of a business dispute or financial scam. The United States has been trying to track down the plane mainly due to fears the plane might be used to launch attacks against U.S. interests. US spy satellites have taken pictures of remote airstrips throughout Africa and US diplomats have traveled across Africa seeking the aircraft. The jetliner was owned by the Miami-based Aerospace Sales and Leasing Co. ABC News said the plane could have flown to either Burkina Faso, South Africa, Libya or Nigeria. The Florida family of a U.S. pilot suspected of flying a Boeing 727 that went missing in Angola last month, said on they did not believe he was involved in planning terror attacks with the plane. ABC News said the pilot was believed to be Benjamin Padilla, whose family described him as a U.S. patriot who they did not believe was involved in any criminal activities. The pilot's brother, Joseph Padilla, said he understood the plane had been parked at Luanda's Airport for 14 months and he feared the hydraulics of the aircraft had been damaged. "My fear of the plane is that he took off and the plane lost hydraulics. Any of this stuff with terrorists, I don't really believe. I believe he was hired to check the plane," Padilla told ABC's "Good Morning America" show. Padilla said the FBI contacted him in Pensacola, Florida, and told him they believed his brother, a licensed mechanic and pilot, had been hired to check out the plane in Angola. Speaking on the same program, the pilot's sister said she last heard from him via e-mail on May 14 and that he told them he was on his way to Africa. "I personally do not believe he has done anything criminal or terrorist-related. I think if he has gotten into some situation, that is perhaps less than legal, he did it unwillingly or unknowingly," said Benita Padilla-Kirkland. ABC News reported the plane had been refitted to haul diesel fuel tanks, making it a potential flying bomb and that Padilla, a licensed mechanic and pilot, had flown to Angola on behalf of a Florida-based company that bought the 727 from a major U.S. airline two years ago. The plane's USA registration number is #N844AA. Its transponder code is 52707266.

New information from the plane's owner, the president of an aircraft-leasing firm in Miami, points to a hijacking and murder. Ben Padilla, a 51-year-old freelance pilot who has flown cargo planes around the world for more than 20 years, was hired to organise the repossession of the plane from a company that failed to maintain lease payments. American authorities believe the aircraft was more likely to have been taken for criminal purposes such as smuggling drugs or weapons rather than any terrorist activity, although the FBI will not reveal any details of their investigation.

The mystery of a missing Boeing 727 cargo plane that caused panic in United States intelligence circles appears to have been solved. The aircraft, which vanished without trace from Angola's main airport, turned up in Guinea. It had been re-sprayed and given the Guinean registration, 3XGOM. But, at least the last two letters of its former tail-number, N844AA, were still visible. The plane was being used to shuttle goods between Beirut and Conakry. A Western diplomat in Freetown, Sierra Leone's capital, said it was more likely the plane had simply been snatched from Luanda because its owner was reluctant to pay year-long airport taxes, totalling $50,000. "There,s always a shady side to business around here," he said. "But as for the terrorism stuff, that sounds like a complete load of rubbish."

The 727 plane that everyone keeps stating that has been found in the West African country of Guinea is not the same plane that disappeared from Angola. This has been confirmed by the US State Department in Washington, D.C.

US authorities have unofficially told their Japanese counterparts that North Korea already possesses several small nuclear warheads for ballistic missiles, a news report said. It is the first confirmation that Pyongyang has nuclear missiles that can immediately strike Japan. Washington has told Tokyo that the number of nuclear warheads that North Korea has is "not just one or two." It was not clear how the United States obtained the information, nor whether those weapons were developed or purchased by North Korea. Washington disclosed the information to Tokyo around March.

The integration of fingerprint systems operated by the FBI and U.S. immigration officials is two years behind schedule, and the delay could allow criminals and terrorists to enter the country, according to a Justice Department report. The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service was transferred in March 2003 from the Justice Department to the Department of Homeland Security and its responsibilities were divided into three bureaus.

The United States closed its embassy in Kenya on June 20, 2003, after the Pentagon issued a terrorism alert to all U.S. interests there and raised the threat level to "high," officials said. The warning, issued June 19 by the Defense Intelligence Agency, is based on specific information about a threat against a specific target, a defense official said, speaking only on condition of anonymity. Details of the warning, including the target and the nature of the threat, are classified secret, the official said. The alert came after U.S. intelligence received some fresh reports suggesting al-Qaida operatives in Kenya were going ahead with plans to conduct an attack, said a U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity. U.S. officials and Western diplomats have said that intercepted communications among al-Qaida operatives in eastern Africa and other unspecified intelligence indicate terrorists may be plotting an attack on embassies or the residences of foreign officials in Nairobi.

U.S. efforts to restore order in Iraq received another blow when an oil export pipeline exploded near the Syrian border on June 23, 2003. It was unclear what caused the latest of three Iraqi pipeline blasts this month.

An advisory was sent to local law enforcement officials and refineries after intelligence sources warned of a possible attack on oil and gas production facilities, according to federal officials. The advisory said that sources indicate that there may be an "increased risk of a terrorist attack to oil/gas production facilities between July 1 and July 4." It also stated that al-Qaida considers them a vulnerable and symbolic economic target. The advisory reported intelligence chatter points to Texas as a target.

The United Nations will issue a report showing Osama bin Laden al Qaeda militant network has some 800 members ready to strike economic or tourist targets. The report would show that United Nations travel and arms sanctions on members of the al Qaeda network had not succeeded in capturing a single suspect person or weapon crossing international borders. The report of the U.N. Security Council will show that a third generation of al Qaeda is forming. It would show "that before September 11, Osama bin Laden anticipated the American attack and sent out about 800 fighters from Afghanistan, all top officers of al Qaeda. They are people with solid intellectual and paramilitary training and they have spread out to several countries where they can act on their own orders. They had apparently picked economic and tourist sites as their next targets. Thailand had recently arrested suspected militants in possession of the radioactive material cesium.

President Bush was slow to OK drones in the hunt for Bin Laden. When President Bush took office in January 2001, the White House was told that Predator drones had recently spotted Osama bin Laden as many as three times and officials were urged to arm the unmanned planes with missiles to kill the al-Qaida leader. But the administration failed to get drones back into the Afghan skies until after the Sept. 11 attacks later that year, current and former U.S. officials say. After the Sept. 11 attacks, the CIA put the armed drones into the sky within days. Nearly a dozen current and former senior U.S. officials described extensive discussions in 2000 and 2001 inside the Clinton and Bush administrations about using an armed Predator to kill bin Laden. The officials said that within days of President Bush taking office in January 2001, his top terrorism expert on the National Security Council, Richard Clarke, urged National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice to resume the drone flights to track down bin Laden, citing the successes of late 2000. Clinton officials decided just before Christmas 2000 to forward the plan to the incoming Bush administration rather than implement it during Clinton's final days, the officials said. Propeller-driven Predators first flew for the military in July 1995 over Bosnia, but early versions couldn't transmit high-quality live video. The Air Force gradually improved camera resolution and first successfully fired a Hellfire missile from a Predator on Feb. 16, 2001. By summer 2001, the Predator was armed for another test in the Nevada desert that destroyed a mock-up of a home bin Laden was suspected of using in Afghanistan. Intelligence analysts believed bin Laden was spotted as many as three times in September and October 2000 but the United States was unable to launch a strike with submarine-based cruise missiles in time. With powerful winter winds over the mountains affecting the drones' flights, the Predators were taken out of action in Afghanistan after October 2000 and retrofitted with weapons. Officials said they planned to put the drones back into the air as early as March 2001 after the winds subsided. The Predators, however, were not put back in the air before Sept. 11. At a White House meeting of Bush's national security advisors on Sept. 4, 2001, they decided not to use the armed drone as a solution. Instead, they finalized a series of other measures to rout al-Qaida from its base in Afghanistan, including re-arming the rebel Northern Alliance.

The Matricula Consular card, issued by the Mexican government to Mexicans living in the United States, "is not a reliable form of identification" and poses a criminal and terrorist threat, the FBI has concluded. The assistant director of the FBI's Office of Intelligence said the identification cards are easy to obtain through fraud, and lack adequate security measures to prevent easy forgery. He cited examples of alien smugglers being arrested with up to seven different cards and an Iranian national who was arrested with a Matricula Consular card in his name. Some 1.2 million cards have been issued by Mexican consulates here in the United States, and are accepted by hundreds of localities and local agencies across the nation. Guatemala is planning to issue cards to its nationals in the United States, while Brazil, Poland, Nicaragua and Haiti have all showed an interest in issuing cards.

The U.N. nuclear watchdog agency said (June 27, 2003) it suspected that criminal groups were trafficking in radioactive material that could be used to make a "dirty bomb." "I have no proof but suspicions of organized movements to take radioactive material for terrorist actions," Abel Gonzalez, director of radioactive waste safety at the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said. Gonzalez highlighted the example of the recent disappearance of a container of highly radioactive material from a truck in Nigeria. The container appeared to have been singled out from others containing less radioactive material, he added. The IAEA has repeatedly warned it saw a real risk of a group exploding a dirty bomb to provoke panic in a crowded place such as a city center or sports stadium, and has urged tighter controls of nuclear fuel and other radioactive materials. "We believe the risk is high that something will happen but also believe the detriment (the number of people killed) is low," he said.

The Pentagon has awarded a 48-million-dollar contract to train the nucleus of a new Iraqi army to Vinnell Corporation, a US firm which also trains members of the Saudi National Guard. Work on the contract was to begin July 1. The Fairfax, Virginia-based company, a subsidiary of the US aerospace firm Northrup Grumman, said it was hiring former US army and marine officers to train light infantry battalions and combat service support units for the new Iraqi army. Vinnell has for the past 20 years trained members of Saudi Arabia's National Guard and those of other Middle Eastern military forces.

Ayman al-Zawahiri, right-hand man of al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, and Suleiman Abu Ghaith, spokesman of the terror group, are among al-Qaeda members detained in Iran, Al-Arabiya news channel revealed. Zawahiri, Abu Ghaith and one of bin Laden's sons are among a group of aides of the al-Qaeda chief held in Iran, the Dubai-based satellite television said, quoting "Western diplomatic sources." Al-Arabiya, which did not name bin Laden's son, said the detainees included Saudis, Kuwaitis, Jordanians and Iraqi Kurds.

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Two women strapped with explosives blew themselves up at a crowded outdoor rock festival on July 5, 2003, killing at least 14 people. The attack revived fears that rebels are intent on bringing the Chechen war to the Russian capital. The first blast went off at one of the entrances to the festival at the Tushino airfield in suburban Moscow as the Russian band Crematorium played for an estimated 40,000 people. Another went off about 10 minutes later as spectators exited through another gate. Guards at the festival entrances were suspicious of the women bombers and prevented them from entering the grounds. "When they approached the entrance, their agitation was visible. They tried to get in too fast and were turned away". The first bomber then triggered an explosives-packed belt, although it did not completely detonate. Police then directed people trying to go through the nearby exit to leave through another gate — and there the second bomb was detonated. The victims had been queuing to enter the festival when the bombers detonated explosive waistbands packed with shrapnel.

Pakistani authorities raised the possibility that Taliban fugitives and their al-Qaida allies carried out a massacre of 44 Shiite Muslims at a mosque in this southwest Pakistani town across the border from Afghanistan. The attack on Ju;y 4, 2003, was the first use of a suicide bomber in Pakistan's bitter sectarian conflict between extremist Shiite and Sunni Muslims. It came a few weeks after a former Taliban military commander said the ousted Sunni Muslim movement would begin using suicide squads against its foes. Officials said three attackers were killed, one when he blew himself up in the mosque and two others from shots exchanged with security guards. Hours after the blast, police found two bombs in tin canisters near the main wall of the mosque. Both bombs were defused by bomb disposal experts. Some of the Shiite Muslims in Quetta, in Baluchistan province, are ethnic Hazaras, the same ethnic group that dominates Afghanistan's Shiite Muslim population. The Taliban and the Hazaras have long been enemies, and each side accuses the others of massacres during the 1990s. Shiite Muslims account for about a third of Quetta's of 1.2 million people. The rest are mostly Sunni Muslims, like the overwhelming majority of Pakistanis. The suspects included Maulvi Allah Wasaya, a leader of outlawed Lashkar-e-Jhangvi group, which authorities have blamed for the murder of hundreds of minority Shiite Muslims in Pakistan. Last month, pamphlets threatening Taliban suicide squads surfaced in Spinboldak, an Afghan town across the border from Quetta. They were signed by Mullah Akhtar Usmani, formerly the Taliban military commander. "We will very soon start suicide attacks as the Arab mujahedeen are doing. The Taliban mujahedeen are being ordered to carry out suicide attacks," the pamphlet said. Taliban sympathizers in Pakistan were outraged by Musharraf's support for the U.S.-led coalition's war in neighboring Afghanistan. In last October's general elections in Pakistan, pro-Taliban religious parties won big in Baluchistan province and in neighboring North West Frontier Province, which were two key provinces in the war on terror. Both Baluchistan and North West Frontier Province are inhabited by ethnic Pashtuns, the same ethnic group that dominated Afghanistan's Taliban movement.

Chechen rebels have shown an increased penchant for targeting civilians over the past year with suicide-bomb attacks. Fears of terrorism have been high in the Russian capital since the October seizure of a Moscow theater by scores of Chechen militants, including women strapped with explosives and detonators. In June, a female bomber blew up a bus carrying workers from a Russian air base near Chechnya, killing herself and at least 14 other people. In May, an explosives-laden woman blew herself up in the middle of a crowd of Muslim pilgrims, killing at least 15, in an apparent attempt to kill the Kremlin-backed acting president of Chechnya, Akhmad Kadyrov. Two days earlier, three suicide attackers detonated a truck loaded with explosives outside a government compound, killing at least 59 people. During the Moscow theater standoff in October, Chechen militants threatened to blow themselves up and held 800 people hostage for days. Russian special forces ended the standoff by pumping narcotic gas into the theater and then storming in. At least 129 hostages died, almost all from the effects of the gas.

The FBI believes that al-Qaeda recruiters are aggressively enrolling youths with U.S., Canadian or Western European passports and good command of the English language. While the network had always tried to recruit people with U.S. and other Western passports, FBI counter-terrorism chief Larry Mefford recently revealed that al-Qaeda was "refocusing its efforts" to sign on disaffected Americans, green-card holders and Muslims who had spent time in the U.S. as students or visitors who had a good command of English and a working knowledge of American society and culture. This effort comes in response to the Bush administration's tightening up the supply of visas available to would-be visitors from nations such as Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, Pakistan, Egypt and Southeast Asian countries where al-Qaeda has a strong presence. Recruits with greater access to and knowledge of the U.S. have a better chance of navigating some of the traps set by U.S. and Canadian authorities to catch terrorists coming from abroad.

National forests in the West were considered targets for al-Qaida attacks, according to an FBI memo to law enforcement agencies dated June 25. A senior al-Qaida detainee told federal investigators he had developed a plan to set midsummer forest fires in Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming. "The detainee believed that significant damage to the U.S. economy would result and once it was realized that the fires were terrorist acts, U.S. citizens would put pressure on the U.S. government to change its policies," the memo said. The unidentified detainee said he hoped to create several large, catastrophic wildfires at once, mimicking the destructive fires that swept across Australia in 2002, according to the memo. Many forest law enforcement officers had no idea the warning had been issued at all. But neither the National Interagency Fire Center nor the Forest Service chose to report the warning to the public. The decision to release the information was up to the FBI. A spokeswoman for the bureau's Denver office, which drew up the memo, declined to comment. The al-Qaida detainee told investigators that his plan called for three or four operatives to travel to the United States and set timed explosive devices in forests and grasslands. The devices would be set to detonate after the operatives had left the country. But the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Attorney's Office in Wyoming could not evaluate the source or the accuracy of the information. The detainee's admission may have been given as a smokescreen. "The information provided may have been intended to influence as well as inform," the memo said. In the days since Sept. 11, 2001, the idea of intentionally setting fires as a terrorist act has been thought about in the fire community. "I thought about it a lot after 9/11," said a law enforcement officer for the Manti-LaSal National Forest in Utah. "How hard would it be for someone to get in a small plane and fly over a forest dropping fusees (flares) or firing off a flare gun as they flew over?" With fires in the right place, they could be devastating, destroying homes and commercial timber areas. They would also tie up significant amount of national resources. "When fire season really gets rolling, they call out the National Guard." And when things really get bad - as they did in 2000, 2001 and last year - Army and Marine units get called out as emergency firefighters. America's national forests have been targeted before. On Sept. 9, 1942, a plane launched from a Japanese submarine flew over Oregon's forests dropping incendiary bombs. The plan was to cause massive conflagrations in the forests that would be hard to fight because of their size and the lack of manpower. But the weather didn't cooperate, and the fires the Japanese set didn't spread very far. "This is not considered an immediate threat," said the National Interagency Fire Center's Davis. "But we do consider it another potential ignition source at a dangerous time."

U.S. officials said the intelligence community has determined that China and North Korea have cooperated in the production and delivery of components for missile and WMD programs to a range of Middle East clients. They said in many cases China has produced the components and exported them through North Korea to avoid U.S. sanctions. In other cases, the officials said, North Korea markets missile and WMD systems and components to Middle East clients. The systems are then directed through China and Pakistan where they avoid U.S. monitoring of North Korean ports. The intelligence finding led to the U.S. decision to impose sanctions on Chinese companies cooperating with North Korea in the fields of missile and WMD. The five Chinese companies sanctioned by the US were identified as Taian Foreign Trade General Corporation of China, the Zibo Chemical Equipment Plant of China, the Liyang Yunlong Chemical Equipment Group Company of China, China North Industries Corporation, known as Norinco, and the China Precision Machinery Import/Export Corporation. The North Korean firm was identified as the Changgwang Sinyong Corporation. Changgwang, sanctioned in 2001, is said to have a significant presence in such Middle East states as Egypt, Libya, Iran and Syria.

Iran has conducted a "final test" of its ballistic missile Shahab-3, which is capable of reaching Israel and U.S. forces stationed in Saudi Arabia and Turkey, the Foreign Ministry said on July 7, 2003. The test took place "several weeks ago," contrary to an Israeli report that it happened last week, ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters. "It was a final test before delivering the missile to the armed forces. The range of the missile was the same as in Iran's previous tests," Asefi said. Shahab-3 has a range of about 810 miles, meaning it could reach Israel and U.S. troops stationed in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported the test was the most successful of seven or eight launches over the past five years. The last time Iran declared a test of the missile was in May 2002 when Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani said the country conducted a test to "enhance the power and accuracy of Shahab-3 missile." The Shahab-3 is allegedly based on North Korea's No Dong surface-to-surface missile but Iran says it is entirely locally made. "Shahab" means shooting star in Farsi. Previously, U.S. intelligence officials have said Iran can probably fire several Shahab-3s in an emergency, but that it has not yet developed a completely reliable missile. Iran launched an arms development program during its 1980-88 war with Iraq to compensate for a U.S. weapons embargo. Since 1992, Iran has produced its own tanks, armored personnel carriers, missiles and a fighter plane.

U.S. government officials as well as Iranian Americans and communications satellite operators confirm that all U.S.-based satellite broadcasts to Iran are being jammed by an unknown group or individual, possibly Iranian agents operating out of Latin America. Over the past several months, private Iranian-American groups have begun increasing their broadcasts into Iran using Telstar-12, a communications satellite over the eastern Atlantic. All are trying to encourage protests against the regime in Tehran. Iranians, using small satellite dishes, have been able to receive the broadcast, whose mix of news, entertainment and exhortations to protest have gained a large audience, particularly in Tehran. The Voice of America began its Farsi-language broadcasts. Then not long afterward, the jamming intensified. The Farsi language broadcasts, by the Los Angeles-based ParsTV and Appadana TV, are uplinked in the US via Telstar-5 which is over the United States. They are then turned around at the Washington International Teleport in Alexandria, VA where they are joined by the VOA broadcast and uplinked again to Telstar-12 over the eastern Atlantic Ocean. It is Telstar-12 that is being jammed, say investigators for companies working with the broadcasters, cutting off broadcasts not only in Iran but in Europe and the rest of the Middle East as well. In the past, the Iranian government, using high-power transmitters on towers in cities such as Tehran have been able to jam it locally. The fact that TV viewers elsewhere can’t see it was the first hint that the jamming was happening on this side of the Atlantic. Not only are the Iranian signals jammed, but those of other nearby broadcasters are as well. Loral, which operates the satellite, declined comment on what it is doing in response. Loral has yet to find the source. They say it is probably in the Caribbean or South America. The jamming can be done simply by aiming a strong signal at the uplink transponder on the satellite and overwhelming the Farsi language broadcasters’ signals. You need a dish with some power and to find the transponder on the satellite you want to jam. It could even be smaller than the standard 6-meter dish with a lot of power. An investigator said Intelsat, a big satellite consortium that has a nearby “bird,” is telling people the jamming is coming from South America. There is a large Iranian community in the so-called “triborder” region around the Igazu Falls area where Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay meet. A representative of one of the Iranian-American broadcasters said he suspected the jamming came from Cuba, which has excellent relations with Iran, but offered no proof. The best information of the service provider for transmission of televised news programming is that the source of jamming is located near Havana, Cuba. Iran’s Minister of Post, Telegraph and Telephone Ahmad Mo’tamedi denies government approval for the jamming and President Mohamed Khatami has called for action to be taken against those responsible, according to the BBC Media monitors.

An exiled Iranian opposition group said that the Tehran government has two secret nuclear sites on top of two others revealed last year. The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the political wing of the People's Mujahedeen, said the sites were new evidence of the Islamic republic's race to develop nuclear weapon. At a Washington press conference, the NCRI said the new sites were at Kolahduz, about 15 kilometers (10 miles) west of the Iranian capital, and at Ardekan, about 30km (20 miles) north of the central city of Yazd. Last the year the group said that Iran has nuclear facilities at Arak, southwest of Tehran, and Natanz, in the centre of the country.

North Korea has conducted 70 high-explosive tests linked to nuclear weapons development, South Korea's spy chief was quoted as saying on July 9, 2003. A senior source in Seoul said "We have also noticed high-explosive tests being conducted in Yongdok district in Gusong City in [the north-western province of] North Pyongyang and we have been keeping track of the movement." He also said that North Korea had apparently begun reprocessing spent nuclear fuel rods, a program that could yield enough plutonium for half-a-dozen atomic bombs within months. Conventional high explosives are used to trigger atomic blasts. When detonated, they can compress a plutonium core and set off a nuclear explosion.

A North Korean defector now living in Japan came to Washington with an urgent message. In a meeting with White House officials, he called for a pre-emptive strike on "selected targets" in North Korea before the Kim Jong-il regime succeeds in arming its missiles with miniaturized nuclear warheads. "As we have witnessed in recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the only effective measure against terrorists is a pre-emptive strike," said Park Gap Dong. Park met with officials of the President's National Security Council and spoke at a luncheon meeting of the American Foreign Policy Council on July 9. In 1998, North Korea fired the Taepo Dong-1 missile over Japan. The missile was later marketed to such Middle East clients as Iran and Libya. Park warned that North Korea would use its nuclear weapons against Japan, South Korea and even the United States if given the time to develop them. A senior defense researcher with Japanese Defense Agency's National Institute for Defense Studies said North Korea has likely developed small nuclear warheads for its missile forces. North Korea will continue to develop and export nuclear weapons technology no matter what the U.S. does and despite whatever schedules of inspections are established, Park said. "Kim Jong-il made the decision that the development of nuclear weapons would be the only guarantee of the safety and security for the North Korean regime. They will not give up these weapons but will instead hide them from inspectors," said Park.

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Short on time and patience, leaders of the independent commission studying the Sept. 11 attacks released a status report on July 8, 2003, that singled out government departments, including Defense and Justice, that they said were not cooperating fully.

A group claiming to be linked to the al Qaeda network said on July 13, 2003, they were behind attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq and warned of more anti-U.S. attacks in coming days. "I swear by God no one from his (Saddam Hussein) followers carried out any jihad operations like he claims... they (attacks) are a result of our brothers in jihad," said an unidentified voice on an audio tape broadcast by Dubai-based Al Arabiya television. The voice on the tape warned of a new anti-U.S. attack in the days to come which would "break the back of America completely." Arabiya aired the tape along with a photograph of an unidentified white-bearded man wearing a turban. It gave no details of the origin of the tape and there was no independent evidence of how credible its contents might be. The voice said the "Armed Islamic Movement for al Qaeda, the Falluja Branch," a previously unheard-of name, was behind the attacks and that its members were dispersed all over Iraq. Calling on U.S. forces to leave Iraq, the voice on the tape warned that "the end of America will be at the hands of Islam." The voice prayed to God "to grant success to our brothers who are dispersed in Iraq's governorates and in the countries of the world, (particularly) Sheikh Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar." He ended the recording by stating the date as July 10, 2003.

The Philippine president said July 17, 2003, that police corruption likely led to the escape from prison of three terror suspects, including a top bomb expert. The escape of Indonesian Fathur Roman al-Ghozi, an alleged bomb expert of the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah group, along with two other suspects has been an embarrassing blow to the Philippine government. Manila alerted neighboring countries, particularly Indonesia and Malaysia, to be on the lookout for Al-Ghozi, who is accused of involvement in deadly bombings in Manila.

Federal agents said on July 18, 2003, they are investigating the theft of 1,100 pounds of an explosive chemical from construction companies in Colorado and California in the past week. Both thefts involve ammonium nitrate, a key ingredient in the bomb that destroyed the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995. In the first heist, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives issued a nationwide alert Monday after eight 50-pound bags of an ammonium nitrate-based explosive vanished from the Pike View Quarry near Colorado Springs. Then 700 pounds of an ammonium nitrate product were stolen this week from a similar business in San Diego County, Calif., ATF agent Rich Marianos said . "We're trying to check to see if it's similar or if we can rule out if it's involved in our theft," Marianos said. The California theft from Tom C. Dyke Drilling and Blasting in Alpine, about 30 miles east of San Diego, happened Sunday or Monday, San Diego County sheriff's officials said. Thieves forced their way into a locked trailer and took 14 50-pound bags. Authorities have not named any suspects in the thefts. A half-dozen homes and businesses in the Colorado Springs area have been searched. "There really hasn't been much concrete information to go on in this case," Colorado Springs police Lt. Skip Arms said. "There's equally the possibility it was somebody who had a legitimate blasting job and didn't want to pay for the chemicals to someone with bad intentions." Ammonium nitrate is used as fertilizer, but can become a powerful explosive when mixed with fuel oil. The government estimated about 4,800 pounds of ammonium nitrate fertilizer was used to make the bomb that killed 168 people in Oklahoma City. Authorities had said the material stolen in Colorado was already mixed with fuel oil and had a strong diesel fuel odor. They were not immediately able to say whether the ammonium nitrate that vanished in California was also part of a mixture.

American and Asian officials with access to the latest intelligence on North Korea say strong evidence has emerged in recent weeks that the country has built a second, secret plant for producing weapons-grade plutonium, complicating both the diplomatic strategy for ending the program and the military options if that diplomacy fails. The discovery of the new evidence, which one senior administration official cautioned was "very worrisome, but still not conclusive," came just as North Korea declared to the United States 11 days ago that it had completed reprocessing 8,000 spent nuclear fuel rods, enough to make a half dozen or so nuclear weapons. American officials have said they cannot verify that claim, though they confirm that sensors set up on North Korea's borders have begun to detect elevated levels of krypton 85, a gas emitted as spent fuel is converted into plutonium. What concerns American, South Korean and Japanese analysts, however, is not simply the presence of the hard-to-detect gas but its source. While American satellites have been focused for years on North Korea's main nuclear plant, at Yongbyon, the computer analyses that track the gases as they are blown across the Korean Peninsula appeared to rule out the Yongbyon reprocessing plant as their origin. Instead, the analysis strongly suggests that the gas originated from a second, secret plant, perhaps buried in the mountains. American officials have long suspected that North Korea would try to build a second plant to protect itself against a pre-emptive strike by the United States. The United States even demanded an inspection of one underground site five years ago, only to find it empty, but this is the first time evidence has emerged that a second plant may be in operation. "This takes a very hard problem and makes it infinitely more complicated," said one Asian official who has been briefed on the American intelligence. "How can you verify that they have stopped a program like this if you don't know where everything is?" Indeed, there may now be at least two hidden facilities with the capacity to produce material for nuclear weapons.

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Sen. Bob Graham defended his assertion that President Bush's actions in making the case for the war in Iraq reach the standard of an impeachable offense set by Republicans against former President Clinton. "Clearly, if the standard is now what the House of Representatives did in the impeachment of Bill Clinton, the actions of this president [are] much more serious in terms of dereliction of duty," he said on "Fox News Sunday."

On July 18, 2003, a grenade attack has killed a U.S. soldier in Iraq, bringing the total combat deaths to 148, past the total in the 1991 Gulf War AP wire enter search box: Iraq Radio Free Europe,3367,7489,00.html,6150,2-10-1460,00.html,1872,1021402,00.html - Arabic Sahafa Online - and [ not related to aljazeerah TV ]

Arab sites may not work due to network traffic overload or illegal denial-of-service attacks by anti-Arab hackers and illegal DNS cache poisoning that redirects you to a different Web site. Al-Jazeera's IT manager has stated publicly that he believes the attack is being carried out by an organisation with "know-how and money."
In a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney's office for the Central District of California, John William Racine II, a 24-year-old Web designer, admitted to tricking VeriSign subsidiary Network Solutions into giving him ownership of the domain. Racine said he then redirected visitors to that Internet address to another site, where they were greeted by an American flag and the phrase "Let freedom ring." The Norco, Calif., resident turned himself in to FBI agents on March 26, according to the plea agreement. "Racine gained control of the domain name by defrauding Network Solutions, where Al-Jazeera maintained an account for its domain name and e-mail services," the U.S. Attorney's office said in a statement. Racine, also known as "John Boffo," used a false photo identification card and forged signature to impersonate an Al-Jazeera systems administrator and get control of Al-Jazeera's account, according to the plea agreement. In doing so, he gained control of where any data sent to Web page requests and e-mail--ultimately ended up. The actual defacement appeared on a free Web site service provided by NetWorld Connections. Technically known as a "redirect," the hack caused Web browsers that attempted to go to well as the English-language site, be surreptitiously redirected to the content hosted on NetWorld's servers. Racine searched the Internet and found that Muhammed Jasim AlAli was listed as the administrative contact for the Arab news service's Internet domain, He then created an account on Microsoft's Hotmail and impersonated AlAli in telephone messages and e-mail to VeriSign, claiming that he needed to have the account password changed. Unable to answer a challenge question by a VeriSign employee, he said he would call back later. Racine then created a false photo identification card with the name "Mohammed Jasim AlAli" and forged an authorization form that requested VeriSign change the password. He sent the documents to VeriSign subsidiary Network Solutions and followed up with a telephone call. Based on that documentation and the phone call, VeriSign changed the password on March 25, the plea agreement stated. Racine "admitted that he knew his conduct was unlawful and voluntarily provided the documents and information to the FBI to assist in its criminal investigation," the agreement said.
or [ Arabic only ] Arab TV live news
mms:// - mms:// - mms:// - mms:// - ?mms:// - ?mms:// - ?mms:// Abu Dhabi TV clips Khaleej Times UAE ALALAM Iran TV political daily commentry from syria tv [ SAUDI ARABIA Arabic only newspaper ] [ SAUDI ARABIA Arabic only newspaper ] [ SAUDI ARABIA Arabic only newspaper ] The IRAQWAR.RU analytical center was created recently by a group of journalists and military experts from Russia to provide accurate and up-to-date news and analysis of the war against Iraq. news interviews analysis events images Download all reports War on Iraq VOICE OF RUSSIA
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These Iraq Web sites usually have not responded since the start of the Iraq war. Now are dead links after the war.
Iraq TV - mms:// or rtsp:// Iraq's official site Ministry of foreign affairs Iraq newspapers Radio Kuwait Islamic Republic News Agency of Iran Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting News Network -,,5944,00.html,8915,25777,00.html,6024,countdown^^TEXT,00.html
U.S. Government News - U.S. Military News - - - - Monitoring Iraq: War of the Airwaves working for democracy and human rights in Iraq International Committee of the Red Cross International Federation of Red Cross Iraq maps The Coalition Provisional Authority-Iraq U.S. Department of State's Office of International Information Programs Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs Foreign Press Centers Iraq UNMOVIC IAEA Press Statement on Iraq What's Next on IAEA Inspections in Iraq? Permanent Mission of Iraq to the United Nations, New York Iraq & Our Energy Future


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The deady SARS virus sweeping the Far East could tip the world economy into recession, Wall Street experts forecast. Morgan Stanley became the first leading bank to predict that severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) could trigger a global downturn, and lowered its world growth forecasts because of the rapid spread of the condition. Other investment banks also gave warning that, with the world economy already weak because of war with Iraq, SARS could have repercussions across the globe. An unexpectedly large fall in US employment underlined the fragility of the world economy, and analysts said that even a relatively minor global shock could be enough to trigger a “double dip” in growth.

President Bush issued an executive order on April 4, 2003, allowing the forced quarantine of patients with a mysterious new illness that has killed 80 people, as well as patients with other diseases such as Ebola. The order allows the Health and Human Services secretary to decide when such a quarantine is needed. It calls for the "apprehension, detention or conditional release of individuals to prevent the introduction, transmission or spread of suspected communicable diseases." It names Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which has affected a suspected 115 people in the United States and 2,400 worldwide, killing around 80. The order also names cholera, diphtheria, infectious tuberculosis, plague, smallpox, yellow fever and viral hemorrhagic fevers such as Ebola, Lassa and Marburg.

March 15, 2003 -- The World Health Organization warned of a worldwide health threat as a mystery killer pneumonia spread from east Asia to other parts of the globe. WHO experts believed it might rival the "Spanish flu" of 1918, which killed at least 20 million and possibly double that number. The World Health Organization doctor who first identified the deadly pneumonia virus which has killed at least 55 people worldwide has died, the latest victim of the disease, officials said on March 28, 2003. Scientists say the virus is a new strain from the family of coronaviruses, which is the second leading cause of the common cold. Use of a special toxic dust mask with a class P2 particulate filter might help in prevention, which sells for less than $10.

Researchers from the University of Hong Kong examined 25 animals representing eight species in a live animal market in southern China and found the virus in all six masked palm civets they sampled, as well as in a badger and a raccoon dog. Klaus Stohr, chief SARS virologist at the WHO, said it was impossible to tell from the study whether any of the animals spread the virus to humans or whether they caught the virus from people. "All these animals could have been infected by feed which was given to them at the market," Stohr said. "Very often these markets have one major supplier of feed."

SARS was supposed to be the worst disease outbreak since the Spanish Flu of 1918-19. It has killed fewer people in six months than died every 10 minutes during that great pandemic. The media obsessed over the allegedly high percentage of deaths among SARS victims, even though many far more common diseases have vastly higher death rates. Moreover, death rates mean nothing if you don't also look at incidence. Which infectious disease is more worrisome: One with a 100% death rate that afflicts one person per year or one with a one per cent mortality rate that afflicts half a million? - More news links of disease outbreaks

CDC Health Alert messages not available from CDC's site American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Health Canada China SARS search Hong Kong SARS search Taiwan SARS search Canada SARS search Registered Nurses Association of Ontario

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The Hawaii Department of Health issued an SARS update instructing emergency medical service personnel not to communicate possible SARS cases over medicom radios. The update instructs EMS personnel to use a cell phone or landline when discussing possible SARS cases. Ambulance drivers typically use radios, a line of open communication that anyone who owns a scanner can hear. "We know the public monitors our communications," said Donna Maiava, director of DOH's emergency branch. "For an ambulance driver to communicate over the radio that they have a possible SARS case, far from making the public feel safe, will raise the anxiety level of the public unnecessarily."

Health officials in the United States have reported what appears to be the first documented outbreak of monkeypox in the western hemisphere.

Vaccination with the smallpox vaccine immunizes against monkeypox. The degree of interaction required for person-to-person transmission is still being investigated. Monkeypox is considered much less contagious than smallpox. The incubation period for monkeypox is 10-14 days. The symptoms of monkeypox are very similar to those of smallpox. In addition, infected persons experience enlarged cervical and inguinal lymph nodes. The healing period for monkeypox is more rapid than for smallpox. The fatality rate for monkeypox is 3-10% which is lower than that of smallpox.


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Page revised November 25, 2003