Tags: White | House | Tones | Down | Terror | Warning

White House Tones Down Terror Warning

Friday, 15 November 2002 12:00 AM

National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said at a White House briefing that the FBI's warnings this week were "really are a summary of intelligence, not a new warning. This is a summary of intelligence as we know it."

Her statement came as the Bush administration rushed to offset the

Deputy Press Secretary Scott McClellan told reporters that although the terrorism risk level remained unchanged, the FBI report showed "we are taking additional precautions to meet the threat." He said the intelligence behind the reports was unspecific and did not lend itself to clear warnings.

He said that the bureau's warning, sent to local law enforcement agencies Thursday and then published Friday on the National Infrastructure Protection Center's Web site, had been reviewed by the White House and other agencies before it was issued.

But the bureau's warning came in a week in which world attention turned once again to al-Qaeda, the shadowy terror organization blamed for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

An

After the broadcast, United Press International reported unnamed senior government officials as saying that "chatter," intercepted communications between al-Qaeda operatives, was at its

Two other warnings preceded Thursday's alert.

By Friday, the FBI itself was throwing cold water on its own alert. A spokesman said that "nothing is corroborated. It's done out of an abundance of caution."

Rice said that the Bush administration issued these warnings, which have often in the past been criticized as alarmist and unspecific, because "it is important that Americans know when this sort of thing comes to the attention of the administration."

Without mentioning Daschle's name, Rice refuted his charge about the progress of the war on terror. She said the United States had eliminated several key al-Qaeda leaders, eradicated training camps in Afghanistan, destroyed terror command and control and hardened many of its own defenses. Rice said the 60-nation anti-terror coalition shared intelligence and that movement for al-Qaeda was much more difficult.

Later Friday, U.S. officials reported the arrest of an unidentified "senior al-Qaeda member ... one of the "top handful of al-Qaeda leaders."

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said at a White House briefing that the FBI's warnings this week were "really are a summary of intelligence, not a new warning. This is a summary of intelligence as we know it." Her statement came as the Bush administration...
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Friday, 15 November 2002 12:00 AM
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