Officials: Bin Laden eyed US rails from his secret compound

WASHINGTON - (AP) - Holed up in a compound in Pakistan, Osama bin Laden was scheming how to hit the United States hard again, according to newly uncovered documents that show al-Qaida plans for derailing an American train on the upcoming 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.Details of the plan emerged Thursday as some of the firstintelligence was gleaned from the trove of information found in binLaden's residence when Navy SEALs killed the al-Qaida leader andfour of his associates. They took his body and scooped upcomputers, DVDs and documents from the compound where U.S.officials think he had been living for as long as six years.The confiscated materials reveal the rail attack planning as ofFebruary 2010. One idea outlined in handwritten notes was to tamperwith an unspecified U.S. rail track so that a train would fall offthe track at a valley or a bridge. Counterterrorism officials saidthey believe the plot was only in the initial planning stages, andthere is no recent intelligence about any active plan for such anattack. The FBI and Homeland Security issued an intelligencebulletin with details of the plan to law enforcement around thecountry. The bulletin, marked "for official use only," wasobtained by The Associated Press.

Other intelligence pulled from the compound represented aterrorist wish list but has revealed no specific plan so far. Somedocuments indicated a desire to strike the U.S. with large-scaleattacks in major cities and on key dates such as anniversaries andholidays. But there never was any sign that those were anythingmore than ambitions, said a U.S. official who spoke on condition ofanonymity to discuss the intelligence.Even before the raid, intelligence officials for years hadwarned that al-Qaida was interested in attacking major U.S. citieson prominent dates on the American calendar.Monday's raid by helicopter-borne SEALs was fraught with risk,sensationally bold and a historic success, netting a man who hadbeen on the run for nearly a decade after his terroristorganization pulled off the devastating Sept. 11, 2001, attacksthat killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Washington andPennsylvania. During the raid, the SEALs met far less resistancethan the Obama administration initially described. The commandosencountered gunshots from only one man, whom they quickly killed,before sweeping the house and shooting others, who were unarmed, asenior defense official said in the latest account.The New York Times and Washington Post reported Thursday ontheir websites that a CIA surveillance team had been watching binLaden's residence from a rented house near the compound for months.The agency declined to comment on the reports.President Barack Obama visited New York's ground zero onThursday during a somber and understated event where he avoidedmentioning bin Laden by name.The U.S. account of what happened inside bin Laden's Abbottabadcompound is so far the only one most Americans have. Pakistan hascustody of the people rounded up afterward, including more than twodozen children and women. Differing accounts purporting to be fromwitnesses have appeared in Pakistani and Arab media, and on theInternet.Intelligence analysts have been reviewing and translating thematerial seized from the compound, looking for information aboutpending plots and other terror connections. In light of theintelligence indicating al-Qaida was considering an attack on aU.S. railway, the FBI and Homeland Security told local officials tobe on the lookout for clips or spikes missing from train tracks,packages left on or near the tracks and other indications that atrain could be vulnerable."While it is clear that there was some level of planning forthis type of operation in February 2010, we have no recentinformation to indicate an active ongoing plot to targettransportation and no information on possible locations or specifictargets," Thursday's warning to law enforcement said.Homeland Security spokesman Matt Chandler said, "This allegedal-Qaida plotting is based on initial reporting, which is oftenmisleading or inaccurate and subject to change." He said thegovernment has no plans to issue an official terror alert becauseof it.On Monday, the FBI and Homeland Security warned law enforcementofficials around the country that bin Laden's death could inspireretaliatory attacks in the U.S., and terrorists not yet known tothe intelligence community could be operating inside the country.The transportation sector - including U.S. railways - continueto be attractive targets for terrorists. In the past few years,U.S. officials have disrupted other terror plots that targetedrails, including a 2009 plan to bomb the New York City subwaysystem.Senator Susan Collins said she's urged the homeland securitysecretary to increase the country's threat level while the materialseized from bin Laden's compound is reviewed."I continue to question the secretary's decision not toincrease the threat level," said Collins, the top Republican onthe Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.Counterterrorism officials have been meeting regularly since binLaden was killed to evaluate the threat to the United States.

Officials: Al-Qaida eyed attacking trains for 9/11 anniversary

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