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FBI Warns of Possible Attack on US

October 10, 2002

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ The FBI is warning state and local authorities that recent taped statements by al-Qaida leaders may signal that another attack on the United States has been approved.

The agency said Wednesday, however, that the nationwide alert level remains code yellow _ ``significant risk″ _ because officials do not have any specific information detailing where and when an attack may occur. Yellow is the third-highest of five threat levels.

In an audio taped message that aired Sunday on the Arab satellite TV station al-Jazeera, a voice believed to be that of Osama bin Laden refers to al-Qaida ``targeting key sectors of the U.S. economy,″ the FBI noted.

Bin Laden’s senior deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, repeated the threat in another audio taped interview obtained Tuesday.

``The group’s leaders have said that they aim to undermine what they see as the backbone of U.S. power, the economy,″ the FBI said in a statement.

The FBI said its concerns were heightened by comments from al-Qaida detainees who interpreted the taped remarks as a sign of an attack.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said earlier in the day information on the Al-Zawahir recording would be shared with law enforcement officers but would not prompt the government to raise the threat level.

The FBI urged law enforcement agencies to take extra precautions to ``detect, disrupt, deter, and defend against potential attacks″ against the nation, at home and abroad.

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