Captured terrorist planned attacks on U.S. bridges, gas stations, power plants

| 3/4/2003

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was plotting attacks against commercial sites in the United States and targets in the Arabian Peninsula, U.S. counterterrorism officials said March 3.

A U.S. intelligence memo dated Feb. 26 warned Mohammed was overseeing plans to have al-Qaida operatives in the United States attack suspension bridges, gas stations and power plants in New York and other major cities, Newsweek reported March 2.

Intelligence about Mohammed's activities led in part to the orange alert that lasted most of February, the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said.

“Some of the concerns we had that caused us to raise the threat level were attributable to the planning he was involved in,” Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge told reporters Feb. 3, as reported by The Associated Press. “There were multiple reasons that we raised the threat level, and his relation to one of the plot lines was one of the several.”

Authorities recovered a huge amount of information about al-Qaida at the Pakistan house where Mohammed and two others were arrested early March 1, a senior law-enforcement official said Monday.

This includes computers, disks, cell phones and documents authorities think will provide names, locations and potential terrorist plots of al-Qaida cells in the United States and around the world. Mohammed also was thought by U.S. officials to have details about the group's finances.

FBI and CIA officials were described as working around the clock to pore over the seized information to prevent any imminent attacks and to determine when and if more arrests could be made.