Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Mark Riebling writes in today's NROnline, that another terrorist attack on New York and Washington is very possible—especially during Ramadan, which ends on December 4th:

In New York City, especially, public-transit systems must be rated priority targets. The recent arrest in Britain of North African Islamists, who had apparently planned to disperse cyanide in the London subways, should be an indicator of neon significance. Given the subways' unique importance to those who live and work in New York City — and the impossibility of preventing armed terrorists from boarding them — the city's subways must be rated al Qaeda's most likely target there.

The assets used by the terrorists in this operation will not be their most competent, discreet, and valued. Those operatives will be saved for the future, more spectacular attack. Thus, some of the terrorists who will soon attempt attacks in New York and in Washington may be "dirty" assets — individuals that al Qaeda suspects may already have come under surveillance, e.g. at mosques.

There is, accordingly, some chance that aspects of these attack plans will be detected and disrupted. There is also a corresponding chance that the attacks, if mounted, will be less effective than intended. In either case, however, the strategic objective of "making good" on the threats in the six-page letter will have been achieved.

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