Thursday, February 09, 2006
Library Tower in Sep 11 like plan
Bush details a thwarted al-Qaeda plot to hijack an aircraft and fly it into the tallest tower on the US West Coast in 2002.
The President said that instead of using Arab hijackers, as in the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, the Los Angeles plot called for "young men from South-East Asia whom he believed would not arouse as much suspicion".
The operatives, Mr Bush said, trained in Afghanistan and met Osama bin Laden before beginning their preparations for the attack, which started to unravel in early 2002 when "a South-East Asian nation" captured a key al-Qaeda operative.
(Pointing out to Pakistan's capture of al-Libbi perhaps)
The Bush Administration has also been attempting to defend its controversial domestic monitoring programme. The White House would not say whether this plot thwarted was stopped as a result of the National Security Agency's eavesdropping on e-mails and phone calls of US citizens with suspected ties to terrorists.
"It took the combined efforts of several countries to break up this plot," he said.
"By working together, we took dangerous terrorists off the streets. By working together, we stopped a catastrophic attack on our homeland."