Five thousand al-Qaeda terrorists are secretly living in theU.S., according to intelligence agencies. Small groups ofabout a half-dozen men in Seattle, Chicago, Detroit andAtlanta are under surveillance by the FBI.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld says some al-Qaedaterrorists have fled to the U.S. from Afghanistan. “Theyclearly have moved some to the United States, some to Yemen,some to Saudi Arabia, a variety of states,” Rumsfeld says.He believes most of the terrorists fled to Pakistan and Iranwhile others have moved to places “all over the world.”
It?s hard to know exactly how many al-Qaeda operatives arehere because of the secretive nature of the group. Also,they are scattered and not under a centralized leadership.”It depends on how you define an al-Qaeda member,” anofficial says. “There are hardened members and Muslims withsympathies to bin-Laden.” This makes them hard to identifyand still harder to arrest. Just 4 or 5 people were the keyorganizers of the September 11 attack, while the 14 or 15others who took part had little knowledge of the details.It?s thought that most of the terrorists did not evenrealize they were on suicide missions.
“The number of people that are really key to thisorganization is probably much smaller than the number in thehundreds of people who have some loose affiliation,” saysDeputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. He believes thetop leadership contains “dozens of key people, not in thehundreds.”
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham (D-Fla),believes there are at least 100 al-Qaeda operatives in theU.S., including “some who have been here for a considerableperiod of time.” He says there are also other terroristgroups here, in addition to al-Qaeda.
Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence officials have detectedpossible signs of an upcoming attack against a cruise shipin Los Angeles. Two suspicious men were seen measuring andvideotaping the pier at the Port of Los Angeles World CruiseCenter in San Pedro, California, which is about 25 milessouth of downtown Los Angeles. They were spotted by a dockworker, who notified authorities, but they had left the areaby the time police arrived.
Why didn?t the FBI know about these terrorist groups beforeSept. 11 ? or did they? Read ?The Bureau: The Secret Historyof the FBI? by Ronald Kessler,click here.
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