Documents seized in the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound have yielded a bonanza of new intelligence, from names and locations of terrorist suspects to chilling details of al Qaeda plots to attack targets in the United States and beyond, US officials said on Thursday.
Among the files recovered from computers and flash drives were documents detailing a previously unknown plan to attack the US commuter rail network, intelligence officials confirmed. The plan, which described a sabotage attack to occur on this year’s 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks, was being actively considered as recently as February 2010, officials said.
There was no evidence that the plot ever advanced beyond the conceptual stage, the officials stressed.
The CIA and other intelligence agencies have been working intently since Sunday to download files and images from the computers, hard drives, flash drives and DVDs found in Bin Laden’s hideout.
Until this week it was not publicly known that al Qaeda had recently contemplated a railway attack on the 9/11 anniversary, though the intelligence community has long known of al Qaeda ambitions to launch terrorist attacks on US rail and subway stations.
As a precaution, the Department of Homeland Security sent out an alert advising federal, state and local agencies about the new evidence of a possible rail plot.
CIA maintained a safe house near Abbottabad town for a small team of spies who conducted extensive surveillance of Bin Laden’s compound for months before President Barack Obama signed an order to kill the most wanted terrorist, it has emerged.
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