Federal officials attributed terrorism plans for attacks in the U.S. directly to Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants, operating from hideouts suspected to be along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, says the New York Times. “What we know about this most recent information is that it is being directed from the seniormost levels of the Al Qaeda organization,” said a senior official at a briefing for reporters. Counterterrorism officials have said for weeks that they are increasingly worried by intelligence suggesting that Al Qaeda wanted to carry out a significant terror attack on U.S. soil this year.
In discussing the latest threat information, one official said the intelligence was “cryptic” both about timing and location. There is a widespread assumption in the intelligence community that past targets – New York, Washington, the Los Angeles airport – have symbolic value to Al Qaeda. There is no specific reference to the coming political conventions, but that remains an immediate focus of concern.