The Los Angeles Times reports that Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was stunned that President George W. Bush revealed details of the reported 2002 terrorist plot to attack downtown L.A. without first relaying the information to city officials. Villaraigosa said local authorities had heard some of the new information Wednesday from California domestic security officials, but not the specifics mentioned by Bush in his address, which was carried nationally on cable television.
With pressure mounting on the White House to more fully explain its anti-terrorism strategy, Bush offered new details Thursday of the reported plot as evidence of success in foiling attacks. Federal officials had revealed two years ago that they believed Al Qaeda operatives, in a West Coast follow-up to the Sept. 11 attacks, had planned to hijack an airliner and crash it into what was then called the Library Tower, since renamed the U.S. Bank Tower. But Bush said Thursday that the terrorist operatives planned to use “shoe bombs to breach the cockpit door.” He said Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed had recruited and trained young Asian men to carry out the plot because suspicions of Arabs were running high, but that the plan was derailed when a Southeast Asian nation arrested a key Al Qaeda operative.