Terrorism: From Al Qaeda-Plots and Promos

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Hosenball

How real was the latest alleged New York terrorism threat? Several federal and local counterterrorism officials confirmed to NEWSWEEK that Lebanese authorities in April arrested a suspected Islamic militant for allegedly participating in a fairly elaborate plot to flood the PATH subway tunnels that carry New Jersey commuters to a station near Ground Zero in lower Manhattan. The officials, who asked for anonymity due to continuing investigations, said the plot involved blowing up a temporary barrier--called a slurry wall--that currently stops the Hudson River from flooding the site where the World Trade Center stood; according to the terrorists' plan, with the dike breached, water would pour into the cavity left by the 9/11 attacks and also undermine nearby skyscrapers and flood the trans-Hudson tunnels that carry PATH trains to New York from New Jersey. A federal counterterrorism official described the scheme as more "aspirational" than operational. Three of the officials said that while there was no evidence any of the latest New York plotters (two more plotters have been detained overseas and others are sought) had set foot on U.S. soil, the investigation was examining a possible Canadian connection.

News of the New York plot surfaced amid a flurry of new messages from Osama bin Laden, his chief deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, and one of the suicide bombers in last July's attack on London. …