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Al Qaeda Planned To Gas NYC Subways

From terrorist enabling Reuters:

Book argues Al Qaeda planned NYC gas attack

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Al Qaeda planned to unleash a lethal gas in New York City’s subway system in 2003 and came within 45 days of carrying out the attack when the group’s No. 2 called off the operation, according to a new book excerpted in next week’s edition of Time magazine.

U.S. intelligence learned of the plot from a laptop computer belonging to a Bahraini jihadist captured in Saudi Arabia in early 2003, says author Ron Suskind in his book "The One Percent Doctrine."

The computer contained plans for an easily constructed and concealed device that releases deadly hydrogen-cyanide gas using a remote trigger, the book says.

"In the world of terrorist weaponry," writes Suskind, "this was the equivalent of splitting the atom. Obtain a few widely available chemicals, and you could construct it with a trip to Home Depot — and then kill everyone in the store."

The CIA built a prototype of the captured design and showed it to President George W. Bush, who ordered that alerts be sent through all levels of the U.S. government, the book says.

U.S. intelligence learned from an al Qaeda informant that the attack had been called off by Osama bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, just 45 days before it was set to occur.

Al-Qaeda had planned to place several of the poison-gas devices in subway cars and other strategic locations.

The informant, a management-level al-Qaeda operative who believed his leaders had erred in attacking the United States directly, told U.S. agents he did not know why Zawahri scrapped the plan.

There are fuller descriptions of this book and the Al Qaeda plot in Newsweek and of course Time.

Oddly, none of the accounts I have seen so far have mentioned that New York staged some very elaborate " emergency drills " aimed at poison gas attacks in subways in March 2003.

New York City agencies practice mobilizing for a subway terror attack, March 27, 2003.

It’s also of interest to note that Time and the (normally Bush-bashing) author, Ron Suskind, are probably revealing information which will hurt our intelligence gathering in the future.

And that they aren’t doing it because it is news, but to make a buck.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Sunday, June 18th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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