View Full Version : FBI says possible al-Qaida threat against LA malls not credible

11-09-2007, 07:31 PM

FBI says possible al-Qaida threat against LA malls not credible

By THOMAS WATKINS, Associated Press Writer

Thursday, November 8, 2007

(11-08) 18:07 PST Los Angeles (AP) --

The FBI said Thursday it received a tip that al-Qaida was planning to attack shopping malls in Los Angeles and Chicago this holiday season, but downplayed the purported threat.

The warning, contained in an FBI memo to local law enforcement agencies that was declassified Thursday, said the terror network "hoped to disrupt the U.S. economy and had been planning the attack for the past two years."

Federal and local officials downplayed the significance of the warning. The memo, known as an intelligence information report, was given to authorities in Chicago and Los Angeles "out of an abundance of caution," FBI Special Agent Richard Kolko said.

"Al-Qaida messaging has clearly stated they intend to attack the U.S. or its interests," Kolko said. "However, there is no information to state this is a credible threat."

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa urged residents to go about their daily routines but remain vigilant and "mindful of anything out of the ordinary."

"I want people to know that they can shop in this city until they drop. From shopping," Villaraigosa said.

The FBI received the tip in late September. Intelligence and law enforcement officials regularly share raw intelligence, even when the value of the information is uncertain, Kolko said.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger also was briefed on the threat.

Intelligence information reports routinely contain raw, unvetted or uncorroborated chatter about possible threats.

The FBI has released an estimated 8,000 such reports over the last year. Comparatively, the FBI and Homeland Security Department have released about 200 threat bulletins to alert local law enforcement authorities of possible plot trends that are based on actual events worldwide.


Associated Press Writer Lara Jakes Jordan in Washington contributed to this report.