- Jul 31, 2005
- Reaction score
- Political Leaning
President Bush said Thursday the United States and its allies had foiled at least 10 serious plots by the al-Qaida terror network in the last four years, including plans for Sept. 11-like attacks on both U.S. coasts.
The White House initially would not give details of the 10 plots that Bush mentioned in his morning speech before the National Endowment for Democracy, saying some information remained classified. But in the evening, the White House released a fact sheet with a brief, and vague, description of each.
Three targets cited were in the United States, including plans to use hijacked airplanes to attack the West Coast in mid-2002 and the East Coast in mid-2003. The White House said at least one planner of the West Coast attack was a key figure behind the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.
The third was the case of Jose Padilla, a former Chicago gang member who converted to Islam and allegedly plotted with top al-Qaida commanders to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb" in a U.S. city. Padilla, whose plot never materialized, was designated an enemy combatant by Bush and is being held without criminal charge at a Navy brig in South Carolina.
The White House said the other seven attacks included plans to:
• Bomb several sites in Britain in mid-2004.
• Attack Westerners at several places in Karachi, Pakistan, in spring 2003.
• Attack Heathrow Airport using hijacked commercial airliners in 2003.
• Carry out a large-scale bombing in Britain in spring 2004.
• Attack ships in the Arabian Gulf in late 2002/2003.
• Attack ships in the Straits of Hormuz, a narrow part of the Persian Gulf where it opens into the Arabian Sea, in 2002.
• Attack a tourist site outside the United States in 2003.
Democrats challenged Bush's arguments on the Iraq mission. "The president went into Iraq under a false premise, without a plan, and has totally mismanaged our involvement," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. "Now he is trying to justify his actions with a series of excuses."
John Kerry, D-Mass., said Bush "continues to invent a false link between the war in Iraq and the tragedy of Sept. 11." Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Bush "has offered America a false choice, between resolve and retreat."