CIA Warns Of Possible Bin Ladin Terrorist Strike In US In
Coming Months
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The CIA is warning that a network led by the alleged mastermind of the U.S. embassy bombings in Africa could strike at U.S. targets in the coming months.
Air Force Gen. John Gordon, the CIA's deputy director, told a gathering of investment professionals this week that Osama bin Laden, the exiled Saudi millionaire suspected of planning the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, is likely to strike again.
``A clear danger in the months ahead is that bin Laden, his allies or his sympathizers will strike again,'' Gordon said.
Gordon's comments echoed warnings made by other U.S. officials after the U.S. cruise missile strikes on alleged terrorist targets linked by U.S. intelligence to bin Laden.
A special unit within the CIA's Counter-Terrorism Center has been tracking bin Laden for more than two years. Since the Aug. 7 bombings, Gordon said, the CIA has received 300 tips pointing to possible terrorist actions by the bin Laden organization. These included 215 aimed at ``official U.S. governmental facilities, as well as U.S. commercial, tourist, cultural and nongovernmental facilities.''
U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies, Gordon said, ``have pre-empted additional attacks'' planned by bin Laden, ``and we have disrupted more elements of his network.''
Gordon said the CIA's special unit ``pulled out every stop'' to track bin Laden but ``we could not predict the location and time of his attack.'' The effort, however, ``gave us the wherewithal to determine his central role within days of the African bombings'' and ``laid the groundwork for his eventual capture.''
Federal prosecutors said Thursday they believe bin Laden would go almost anywhere to expand his campaign of terror against the United States. The exiled Saudi millionaire centered his operation in Sudan but allegedly set up cells in Kenya, Tanzania, Britain and even the United States. Prosecutors say he made deals with like-minded groups in Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Somalia.
Prosecutors on Wednesday unsealed a 238-count indictment that charges bin Laden and Muhammad Atef, the alleged military commander of the terrorist organization, with murder and conspiracy in the bombings. They also offered a record $5 million reward for bin Laden's capture. If convicted, the two men could be sentenced to death.
The indictment outlines the wide and unnerving scope of bin Laden's alleged influence, extending even into an office in the New York City borough of Brooklyn that aided refugees from the war in Afghanistan in the 1980s, prosecutors said.
Gordon said he was confident that bin Laden would eventually be arrested and brought to justice. Gordon spoke Thursday in a speech sponsored by Charles Schwab's Washington Research Group.