|White House Releases
FOX-News / AP Saturday, April 10, 2004
CRAWFORD, Texas — A document sent to President Bush before the Sept. 11 attacks cited recent intelligence of a possible Al Qaeda (^) plot to strike inside the United States.
The White House released the document Saturday.
"Clandestine, foreign government, and media reports indicate Bin Laden since 1997 has wanted to conduct terrorist attacks in the US," the memo to Bush stated. Bin Laden implied in U.S. television interviews in 1997 and 1998 that his followers would follow the example of World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef and "bring the fighting to America."
The document, declassified Saturday, said that after President Clinton (^) launched missile strikes on his base in Afghanistan in 1998, "bin Laden told followers he wanted to retaliate in Washington." The memo cited intelligence from another country, but the White House blacked out the name of the country.
Efforts to launch an attack from Canada around the time of "Y2K" "may have been part of bin Laden's frst serious attempt to implement a terrorist strike in the U.S." the document states.
Convicted plotter Ahmed Ressam (^) has told the FBI that he conceived an attack at about the same time on Los Angeles International Airport by himself, but that bin Laden lieutenant Abu Zubaydah "encouraged him and helped facilitate the operation," the document said.
Al Qaeda members, some of them American citizens, had lived in or traveled to the United States for years, the memo said.
"The group apparently maintains a support structure that could aid attacks," it warned.
The document said that "some of the more sensational threat reporting" — such as warnings that bin Laden wanted to hijack aircraft to win the release of fellow extremists — could not be corroborated.