Thursday, May 05, 2011

Al-Qaida aspired to attack US train on 11/9/2011

Al-Qaida considered attacking U.S. trains on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, according to an initial look at DVDs, computers and other documents seized at the raid on Osama bin Laden's home.

The information about a possible train plot is the first intelligence revealed from the trove of material found in the attack on bin Laden's compound. Officials said they found what they call "aspirational" items — things al-Qaida operatives were interested in trying to make happen. A government advisory obtained by NBC News and sent Tuesday to the rail industry said that as far back as February 2010, al-Qaida was contemplating "an operation against trains at an unspecified location in the United States on the 10th anniversary" of the 9/11 attacks.

One option, the advisory said, was trying to tip a train by tampering with the rails so that the train would fall off the track at either a valley or on a bridge. Such an attempt would probably only work once, the material in bin Laden's house said, because tilting or tampering with the rails would be spotted, the advisory said. Other material mentions a desire to target big mass-transit hubs, an interest long understood because of the history of al-Qaida attacks on rail targets in Spain, the United Kingdom and India.

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