Vegas Mayor Denies Ignoring Terror Warning

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Federal law enforcement authorities in Detroit say Las Vegas officials valued tourism revenue over public safety by ignoring or keeping silent about signs that terrorists wanted to strike casinos, says the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Local authorities deny the charge. A year after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the Justice Department obtained video surveillance tapes suggesting terrorists were targeting local casinos; authorities never alerted the public as they discussed whether a warning might hurt tourism or increase the casinos’ legal liability, said internal memos reported by the Associated Press. Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman said he was never told about tapes uncovered in Detroit and Madrid in 2002 and had been assured by the FBI that no credible threats existed against his city. “If I were told, I would certainly tell the public,” he said. “To suggest Las Vegas would withhold information about terror threats is ludicrous.”

Memos and e-mails between federal prosecutors obtained by The Associated Press said Las Vegas authorities were alerted to some of the footage by Aug. 30, 2002. Lcal law enforcement officials were invited by a senior FBI agent to view the footage, but most refused. One document quotes a federal prosecutor in Las Vegas as saying the mayor was concerned about the “deleterious effect on the Las Vegas tourism industry” if the evidence became public. Goodman said of the prosecutor: “I’d like to call him a liar. They’re making it up.”

Link: http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2004/Aug-10-Tue-2004/news/24502177.html

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