Detail from Ridge's terror warning about an attack on US financial
institutions. This may be related to the computer seized during the
arrest of Ghailani in Pakistan (offensive seizures like this add credibility to the evidence).
He said it was the first time the government has chosen to issue
a warning in “such a targeted way.” There is “a level of detail that is
very specific, . . . multiple reporting streams in multiple locations.
It is alarming in both the amount and specificity,” he said.Ridge said
intelligence, law enforcement and homeland security officials had
amassed “extraordinary detail” about the possible attacks in the last
24 to 36 hours.
Calling it the highest level detail he has seen concerning a
possible terrorist strike in the past quarter of a century, the
official described how attackers have identified the average daily flow
of pedestrians outside the targeted buildings and security procedures
inside. In the course of their communications, the officials said, the
terrorists note possible sewer system escape routes, the locations of
nearby fire departments and police precincts, and whether individual
security guards carry guns. “Getting up to the higher floors is not
very difficult if you go there midweek, as I did,” one suspected
terrorist was quoted as saying. In a separate communication, a
potential attacker warned, “You must provide an adequate cover story.”
Ridge credited, among other sources, U.S. “offensive” military
operations for obtaining the information. “The sources come to us as
benefit of the work [of] a lot of folks — including our military, CIA
and our global allies.”
There are a couple of warning signs on this data. First, the data is
in the government's own words: the most specific they have ever seen.
Second, the types of targets and the potential modes of attacks implied
do not seem strategic enough. This indicates that this may be either a
throw away attack or a feint.
The current level of focus by global intelligence agencies demands a
feint for any major operation. Given the unique window of vulnerability
in the oil market, and many other geostrategic factors unique to global
guerrillas, a strike on Saudi Arabia has the highest probability. Europe would be #2 (Rome and London). We'll see soon if they have evolved to this level yet. [John Robb's Weblog]