Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton believes that Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden might try to influence next month’s U.S. presidential election through a terrorist attack or some less dramatic tactic, reports the Los Angeles Times. “With so much at stake in these elections, Bin Laden will probably attempt to make his opinion count,” wrote Bratton in the New York Daily News. Bratton co-wrote the piece with R.P. Eddy, ex-director of counter-terrorism at the National Security Council.
Deputy Chief Michael Downing, head of the Los Angeles police anti-terrorism bureau, said the department had been “gearing up for some time” for the November elections. Surveillance teams have been concentrated in the city’s financial district, he said. Communication with private security groups has also increased, and the department’s area commanders were briefed last week on the need to keep their officers vigilant, Downing said. Bratton and Eddy speculated that Bin Laden is looking to sway the election in favor of Republican candidate John McCain, since McCain “is more likely to engender Muslim anger and resentment” than would Barack Obama. “Put simply: Bin Laden probably realizes it could become markedly more difficult to paint the United States as the ‘Great Satan’ with a new president who is admired internationally,” they wrote.