Al Qaeda plot to attack New York subway with cyanide gas devices thwarted within 45 days of planned execution in 2003
June 18, 2006
Terrorist plot to gas subway
June 19, 2006
NEW YORK: Al-Qaeda planned to release poisonous gas in New York's subways just before the US-led invasion of Iraq, according to Time magazine's synopsis of a new book.Time says Ron Suskind's The One Percent Doctrine reveals that the US Government was tipped off to the plot by a CIA mole inside an al-Qaeda cell.
Al-Qaeda terrorists came within 45 days of attacking the subway system with a lethal gas similar to that used in Nazi death camps, Suskind claims.
US intelligence learned of the plot from data on a laptop computer belonging to a Bahraini jihadist captured in Saudi Arabia.
It contained plans for a gas-dispersal system dubbed "the mubtakkar", Time says.
The CIA, fearing al-Qaeda had designed a device that would effectively distribute hydrogen cyanide gas -- which is deadly when inhaled -- built a prototype.
The device comprised separate chambers for sodium cyanide and a stable source of hydrogen such as hydrochloric acid. A seal between the two chambers could be broken by a remote trigger, producing the toxic gas.
"In the world of terrorist weaponry," writes Suskind, "this was the equivalent of splitting the atom.
"Obtain a few widely available chemicals, and you could construct it with a trip to Home Depot (hardware chain) -- then kill everyone in the store."
The CIA's prototype was shown to President George W. Bush the morning after it was built, prompting a national alert.
The device could have inflicted mass casualties in an enclosed public space, Suskind says.
The Daily Telegraph
This report was published at dailytelegraph.news.com.au
Shumer -Subway Plot Shows Threat is Real
BY BRYAN VIRASAMI
June 19, 2006
June 19, 2006
The aborted al-Qaida plot to attack subway trains in the city is a glaring example of why Homeland Security should increase terrorism aid to New York and highlights the need for new safety measures underground, elected officials said yesterday.
The 2003 plan aimed to strike subway cars with hydrogen cyanide hidden in a device, journalist Ron Suskind said in a book excerpted in Time magazine today. Intelligence officials in the United States learned of the plot after Osama bin Laden's deputy had already called it off.
The plot, confirmed by a police department spokesman during the weekend, was to use a highly advanced device that could have been placed in many subway cars and killed as many people as the Sept. 11 attacks.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D- N.Y.) said that while he learned of the plan in 2003 and took it seriously, he was told intelligence officials were unable to verify the plot revealed to U.S. officials by an informant close to the terrorist network.
"It was a threat that was taken seriously but never corroborated," Schumer said yesterday.
Without elaborating, police spokesman Paul Browne said officials were aware of the intended attack and took the necessary precautions.
A spokesman for the MTA declined to comment.
Officials were able to build a model of the device based on a model obtained from a seized computer owned by a Bahraini jihadist taken into custody in February 2003, the article said.
Schumer said the plot should open the eyes of Homeland Security officials about the real threat against New York. He took a new stab at Homeland Security Department Secretary Michael Chertoff for cutting anti-terrorism aid to New York City by 40 percent this year under a funding formula that declared the city had no landmarks or icons.
"The asinine distinction between funding mechanical defense and funding personnel makes no sense, because when it comes to cyanide, we don't have much that can detect it; the best way is putting extra train personnel on the subway," Schumer said.
Local lawmakers, while expressing confidence in the police to protect subway riders, directed their concerns to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority about slowly implemented plans to install cameras and other security measures.
Copyright 2006 New