- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 30, 2003

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 30 (UPI) — FBI agents in Los Angeles questioned for several hours an American woman deported by Russia after allegations she had contacted al Qaida, offering to help attack Hollywood targets, an agency spokeswoman said Thursday.

Megan McRee, 35, arrived amid a barrage of media attention from local television stations on Aeroflot Flight 321 from Moscow, landing at around 9:30 p.m. PST Wednesday at Los Angeles International Airport.

No charges have been filed against McRee.

"The investigation is continuing in an attempt to corroborate the assertions of the Russian authorities," Laura Bosley, a spokeswoman for the FBI office in Los Angeles, told United Press International. McRee's whereabouts Thursday were not known. The FBI declined to release further details about her.

Russia deported her after accusing her of establishing contact with al Qaida and other Islamic extremist groups and offering to prepare for and take part in terrorist attacks on the United States.

Russia's Federal Security Service said she had entered Russia two years ago and had lived in the Moscow area for an extended period of time on an expired visa and without proper registration.

The security service said McRee had used the Internet to contact a number of well-known Islamist organizations and proposed several "scenarios of terrorist acts, including such acts against the United States, and offered to take part in their implementation."

Russian television said McRee had contact with operatives of al Qaida and the Islamic Brotherhood using the Internet, which had been monitored by the security services.

In one message sent by McRee and intercepted by the security services, she suggested against placing attacks on heavily guarded administrative buildings and airports. She advised terrorists to attack easier targets such as "Hollywood studios and Hollywood actors."

The FSB decided to deport McRee based on the immigration violation.

The television network said McRee told the Russian authorities she had left the United States 10 years ago because of persecution by the CIA and had lived in Romania before moving to Moscow.

Before being deported, McRee told officials she had intended to seek political asylum in Russia.

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow did not comment on the expulsion.

Russia's Channel 1 network broadcast an interview with an unidentified security official, whose face was obscured, who said the expulsion took place "for the sake of the United States and the world."


(With reporting by Anthony Louis from Moscow.)

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