“A top Taiwanese intelligence official confirmed for the first time on Monday that the island had been targeted by Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network and had beefed up security.” So says Agence France Presse, with thanks to Nicolei.
“‘Through international information co-operative channels, the National Security Bureau has four times received warnings saying Taiwan’s airports could come under attack by the Al Qaeda network,’ the bureau’s deputy chief, Huang Lei, told the parliament.
“The cabinet’s ad hoc anti-terrorism group had heightened its state of alert, he said. The National Police Administration (NPA) recently increased surveillance of airports, seaports, foreign embassies and representative offices, an NPA official who declined to be identified told AFP last week. The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) also planned to deploy air marshals on passenger and cargo flights as part of its security plans, a CAA official said, declining to elaborate due to the sensitivity of the issue.
“The Taipei-based China Times daily, citing unidentified NPA officials, had said Al Qaeda operatives could hijack Taiwanese planes to attack the United States and its close allies.
“It added that the NPA had demanded heightened security around power plants, reservoirs, railways, bridges, tunnels and other major infrastructures to thwart any possible attacks. US officials last week heightened a nationwide terrorism alert level from ‘elevated’ to ‘high’, citing intelligence that Al Qaeda wanted to stage an even bigger strike than the September 11 attacks two years ago in the United States that killed almost 3,000 people.
“Britain, America’s chief ally, has already announced that it will deploy armed sky marshals on some British planes.”