They expected it to become between the election and the inauguration. And now it has. “Intelligence chiefs were expecting Al-Qaeda spectacular,” by Michael Evans in the Times, November 27 (thanks to W):
Western intelligence services have been expecting an al-Qaeda spectacular terrorist attack in this crucial period between the end of President George Bush’s administration and the succession of Barack Obama.
Signals intelligence “chatter” in recent weeks indicated that Osama bin Laden’s terrorist organisation might be plotting an attack “to grab the headlines” before Mr Obama takes over in the White House on January 20.
British security and intelligence sources said there had been increasing concern, particularly in the United States, that a “terrorist spectacular” was on the cards.
The multiple attacks on Westerners in Bombay last night showed all the signs of an al-Qaeda strategy “” picking on vulnerable Western “soft targets” but not in a country where there would be maximum security. The attacks on Western targets in Bali in 2002 when al-Qaeda-linked terrorists planted bombs in tourist-favoured restaurants and clubs was another example where the group switched its resources to achieve maximum impact.
Counter-terrorist experts last night said that India would have been selected for the latest spectacular “probably because that’s where al-Qaeda has sufficient resources to carry out an attack on this scale. They don’t choose for the sake of it, they look to see where they have the greatest capability and then order an attack,” a counter-terror expert told The Times.
The key to this latest attack was the search by the armed terrorists for American and British passport holders. With a reported 40 Britons held hostage, the terrorists have the upper hand. The counter-terrorist sources said targeting Bombay”s most luxurious hotels and a crowded railway station had all the hallmarks of an al-Qaeda operation….