- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 10, 2002

The White House is concerned about a possible terrorist attack coinciding with the first anniversary of the September 11 attack but there are no specific threats, a spokesman said yesterday.
"There remains a concern. Anniversaries can be, not necessarily always, can be occasions for heightened terrorist activity," White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer told reporters on the way to Detroit.
The anniversary of the attack prompted the FBI to issue an alert to law enforcement agencies and utilities throughout the country, warning that it has received numerous unconfirmed reports of terrorist threats.
U.S. intelligence officials said that a Middle Eastern man was detected conducting surveillance of the Washington Monument, the Pentagon and other buildings, The Washington Times reported yesterday.
The activity carried out by the unidentified man Sept. 1 has raised concern that Islamic terrorists may be planning an attack.
One official disputed The Times account. Sgt. Scott Fear, spokesman for the U.S. Park Police, said the FBI and Park Police investigated the videotape and concluded that it did not involve terrorists.
"We have no credible evidence it was a terrorist threat the investigation revealed," Sgt. Fear said. "It is tourists' activity, not terrorists'."
Intelligence officials said the videotape highlighted possible terrorist targeting and included someone who appeared to be measuring distances near the Washington Monument.
A similar activity was detected by law enforcement officials in Los Angeles in June at the World Cruise Center at the Port of Los Angeles. Law enforcement officials said the FBI sought to play down that activity as non-threatening, angering some local law enforcement officials who were concerned that the activity was terrorist-related.
The Pentagon said U.S. military bases around the world are on high security alert coinciding with the one-year mark of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
The FBI alert was posted on an Internet site and sent over a private law enforcement bulletin system that calls for heightened security alert for tomorrow.
Security and intelligence agencies are also on heightened alert as a result of the United Nations General Assembly meeting set to begin in New York today, as well as the meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to be held here beginning Sept. 25.
"To date, there is no specific and credible information indicating that any of these events will be targeted for terrorist activity," the FBI advisory stated.
"A large volume of threats of undetermined reliability continues to be received and investigated by the FBI," the bulletin stated. "Several of these threats make reference to the events of September 11, 2001, and to New York City and Washington, D.C."
The notice said there is no specific intelligence indicating an attack is planned against the United Nations session, but it warned that "such an event in New York City within the general time frame of the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, represents a potentially attractive target for terrorists."
Regarding the World Bank demonstrations, the notice said protests are planned by an alliance of left-wing groups.
"A loose alliance of left-wing groups environmental, human rights and debt-relief, etc. are organizing the protest," the notice said.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide