- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 7, 2001

The FBI yesterday said information concerning possible terrorist attacks against suspension bridges in California was not credible, but it would continue to notify state and local authorities of any new threats.
In an updated advisory to law enforcement agencies nationwide, the FBI said there was no evidence to corroborate raw intelligence information it had received concerning any pending terrorist strikes.
"Recipients should be advised that FBI investigation has determined that the threat to suspension bridges is not deemed credible," the advisory said.
Last week, the FBI warned authorities in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Montana and Utah of possible attacks by terrorists, particularly against suspension bridges in California.
An advisory said that the FBI was in "possession of uncorroborated information" of additional terrorist attacks, and that "unspecified groups" had targeted suspension bridges on the West Coast.
The confidential advisory said six incidents were to take place during rush hour beginning Nov. 2 and continuing through Nov. 7.
California Gov. Gray Davis made the information public during a press conference Thursday, saying he had "an obligation" to inform the public.
He said the FBI and other law enforcement officials had gathered "credible information from several different sources" that an effort could be made to "blow up" a major bridge during rush hour.
Four bridges were named as possible terrorist targets the Golden Gate Bridge, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, the Coronado Bridge in San Diego and the Vincent Thomas Bridge at the Port of Los Angeles. Security was increased at each of the bridges.
National Guard troops in full battle fatigues and carrying M-16 rifles patrolled both the Golden Gate and San Francisco-Oakland Bay bridges while Los Angeles police and California Highway Patrol officers increased security at the Coronado Bridge and the Vincent Thomas Bridge. U.S. Coast Guard boats also protected water access to the four bridges.
Law enforcement authorities said the initial lead that attacks might be imminent came from U.S. Customs Service sources.
Mr. Davis came under fire for making the information public, but President Bush said it was a governor's prerogative to pass along whatever information is deemed necessary.
"When I was a governor of Texas, I was elected by the people of Texas, and I handled my state's business the way I thought was necessary. And I think any governor should be able to conduct their business the way they see fit," he said.
Attorney General John Ashcroft warned the country Nov. 1 of possible new terrorist strikes, although he gave no information during a press conference on any intended targets or how the attacks would be carried out. In placing 18,000 police agencies nationwide on the "highest alert," Mr. Ashcroft said that federal authorities viewed the threat as "credible," and that it "should be taken seriously."
He later defended the decision to make information concerning possible attacks on California bridges public, saying the "credibility of the threat and the scope or nature of the threat require and provide a basis for our speaking to the public.
"When there are specific threats, we share those with local officials," he said. "I believe the action we took was appropriate."


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