Tags: Intel | Official: | al-Qaida's | Threat | Not | Candidate | Specific

Intel Official: al-Qaida's Threat Not Candidate Specific

Tuesday, 28 September 2004 12:00 AM

The official said that while intelligence repeatedly indicates that al-Qaida operatives oppose President Bush, no evidence has been found that they hope a successful attack might boost the candidacy of Democrat John Kerry.

The anti-Bush sentiments, the official said, are part of a broader hatred of the United States and Western democracies as a whole.

"It's really not for our consumption," the official said of the motive behind the attack. "It's for their supporters."

Vice President Cheney sparked intense Democratic outrage this month when he said while campaigning in Iowa that if voters make the "wrong choice" on Nov. 2 "the danger is that we'll get hit again." Cheney later said he did not mean that if Kerry were elected that al-Qaida would attack.

Terrorism analysts and government officials have said, however, that al-Qaida was emboldened by the March commuter train bombings in Madrid, which was a factor in the ouster of Spain's former ruling party.

The four senior officials said they have continued to receive intelligence confirming al-Qaida's intentions to attack prior to the election, which the U.S. government has been warning about since spring. With the election only weeks away, there is a renewed sense of urgency at the Justice and Homeland Security Departments and the FBI to prevent such an attack.

A senior Justice official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said the FBI has interviewed about 13,000 people considered possible sources of information about the al-Qaida plot.

FBI agents also have interviewed about 10,000 operators of self-storage facilities, which are considered likely places to hide bomb-making materials or other items that could be used in an attack.

A 100-member task force at FBI headquarters is overseeing the national effort to prevent the possible attack.

The officials also said the National Governors Association, chaired by Democratic Gov. Mark Warner of Virginia, is taking the lead nationally in developing ideas for state and local governments to use in providing election day security at polling places.

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The official said that while intelligence repeatedly indicates that al-Qaida operatives oppose President Bush, no evidence has been found that they hope a successful attack might boost the candidacy of Democrat John Kerry. The anti-Bush sentiments, the official said, are...
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2004-00-28
Tuesday, 28 September 2004 12:00 AM
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