Christian Action Network

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FBI confirms al-Qaeda terrorist threat to shopping malls Agents clarify to CAN News how informant warnings to FBI should be viewed

(Christian Action Network) FBI agents clarified to CAN News this week how a recent informant warning alleging an al-Qaeda terrorist plot targeting shopping malls in the U.S. should be interpreted.

Special Agent Tom Simon characterized the source of the threat information as a “third-hand” contact possibly linked to the terrorist plot, but not an inside source.

“A tip of this kind is inherently difficult to completely discount or verify,” Simon said. “We’re not in touch with anyone inside [the alleged plot]

“We received an uncorroborated threat…especially to Los Angeles and Chicago,” he added. “We issued a warning out of an abundance of caution.”

Having that understanding, officials in those cities stated to CAN News, there would not be an extraordinary response; general threat mobilizations have burdened scarce resources in the past.

Police and public safety offices are instead taking the information under advisement, and they are responding in undisclosed ways.

Simon noted the FBI is following a similar approach – falling short of recommending overt increases in patrols or additional personnel canvassing possible targets.

“No, we don’t state a recommendation about that,” he said. “I know we do not patrol shopping malls and would not be responding to a tip of this kind that way.

“What we are doing is disseminating the raw information to local law enforcement agencies so they can follow up on aspects of it as they see fit for their own communities,” Simon added.

Law enforcement agencies stated the FBI received the information in late September, but declassified the warning last week for general publication.

“The FBI has alerted fellow law enforcement agencies to be extra vigilant as we enter the crowded holiday shopping season,” Simon said.

“If information of greater specificity develops, we will be sure to notify both the public and America’s law enforcement community what exactly they should be looking for.”

Simon characterized the warning as “non-specific, it amounts to third-hand threat information,” he said.

Special Agent Richard Kolko said there are routines in place to keep other law enforcement agencies and the public informed about unverified information.

“Raw intelligence is regularly shared within the intelligence and law enforcement communities even when the value of the information is unknown,” he said.

“In the post-9/11 era, sharing information is our top priority,” he added. “Al-Qaeda messaging has clearly state they intend to attack the U.S. or its interests.”

FBI sources added they hope the general public would maintain a vigilant watchfulness, report suspicious activity to authorities, but other than that, go about seasonal plans without worry.

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November 15, 2007 - Posted by | Blogroll, Homeland security, news, personal, politics, random, religion, Terrorism, Terrorism In The U.S., Terrorism News, Uncategorized, War-On-Terror

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